WASHINGTON, April 13 (Xinhua) -- As leaders and representatives from 47 countries gather in U.S. capital Washington to participate in a nuclear security summit, a senior official with the International Atomic Energy Agency said Tuesday the IAEA is ready to provide assistance to efforts in securing loose nuclear materials.
Anita Nilsson, Director of IAEA Office of Nuclear Security, told Xinhua in an interview at the fringes of the summit that the IAEA has programs to give assistance to countries interested in improving the security at facilities where nuclear material is stored, to "lock it up in a better way."
The Washington summit is aimed at preventing terrorist or criminal organizations from obtaining nuclear material or nuclear weapons.
"Any unsecured nuclear material around the world is a vulnerability, something that needs to be dealt with," Nilsson said.
Yukio Amano, the director general of the IAEA is participating in this summit. A working lunch of the leaders Tuesday is devoted to efforts to "strengthen the International Atomic Energy Agency.. with the resources and authorities it needs to meet its responsibilities," according to U.S. President Barack Obama.
Apart from securing nuclear facilities, Nilsson said the IAEA can also help nations, especially developing countries, to repatriate research reactor fuel to its origin countries.
"We also help with supporting organizations to educate people and to train people, and to provide technical assistance if it is necessary," she said, commending China for allowing many regional training courses to happen in the country.
As more and more countries are eyeing nuclear power as an alternative source of energy supply, Nilsson said that doesn't contradict with the notion of secure nuclear material.
"We believe a good security system as well as a good safety system is an enabling factor," as countries which have made security arrangements of its own material and put up good regulatory system in place, is "in much better position to take on challenges with a new or expanded program for power production and energy production."
She commended the summit for being a "great step forward," and the fact that so many world leaders participated is a sign that leaders are taking nuclear security seriously.
In opening remarks on Tuesday's session, Obama said the world has the opportunity "to deepen our cooperation and to strengthen the institutions and partnerships that help prevent nuclear materials from ever falling into the hands of terrorists."
The leaders "come together with the same intention of shaping a system which is both suitable for today in dealing with the legacy of the past, and is sustainable enough to carry its way into the future," said Nilsson.