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Administrator D'Agostino on NNSA Nuclear Safeguards and Security Cooperation with Kuwait

June 23, 2010

Thank you for joining us today. Let me begin by thanking Ambassador al- Salem, Secretary General Bishara and our other Kuwaiti colleagues for their cooperation and partnership on nuclear safeguards and security.

It is clear that both of our countries recognize the importance of preventing nuclear proliferation, and keeping dangerous nuclear materials out of the hands of terrorists and proliferators.

This agreement is an important milestone further underscoring the commitment of the United States and Kuwait to address the global challenges of nuclear nonproliferation, safeguards and security.

Understanding, developing and implementing proper nuclear safeguards is an important part of any successful nuclear energy program, and this agreement helps strengthen nonproliferation efforts around the world.

We thank Secretary General Bishara and his colleagues at the Kuwait National Nuclear Energy Committee for the hard work and productive dialogue that brought us to this point, and we look forward to collaborating with Kuwait on these topics soon.

As President Obama said last April in Prague, the danger of a terrorist acquiring nuclear weapons is "the most immediate and extreme threat to global security." The Memorandum of Cooperation we are signing here today is a demonstration of the commitment of our two nations to work together to prevent this nightmarish scenario from ever becoming reality.

Last week I had the opportunity to travel to Russia, Georgia and the Czech Republic to see some of our nuclear nonproliferation programs in action. Each of those countries is a strong partner with the United States. We cooperate with each of them on a full range of areas. That partnership has produced tremendous results that are helping keep each of our countries safe.

This is important because nuclear security is a truly global mission. It will require effort from all countries working together to prevent proliferation. I believe this memorandum of cooperation will be the basis of strong U.S. cooperation with Kuwait.

For NNSA, the work envisioned under this Memorandum of Cooperation will be implemented by our International Nuclear Safeguards and Engagement Program (INSEP). INSEP is a key component of NNSA’s Next Generation Safeguards Initiative (NGSI), a robust, multi-year program to develop the policies, concepts, technologies, expertise, and international infrastructure necessary to strengthen and sustain the international safeguards system.

Through INSEP, we cooperate with international partners to strengthen nuclear safeguards by improving nuclear material accountancy and control and promoting safe, secure and sustainable nuclear infrastructure necessary for peaceful nuclear power programs.

As more countries look to nuclear power to meet their energy demands, this mission will continue to grow more important.

Under this agreement, our INSEP program will work with KNNEC to help:

Establish the laws and regulations to govern a safe, secure, and peaceful nuclear energy program;

Maintain effective implementation of the IAEA Small Quantities Protocol and Additional Protocol;

Establish a State System for Accounting and Control of nuclear material; and

Develop the human capital and best practices necessary to operate and regulate nuclear power plants.

Now that we are signing the agreement, our technical subject-matter experts will develop a roadmap of cooperation jointly with KNNEC. The planned activities in the roadmap will be tailored to Kuwait’s unique needs.

Thank you again for helping us expand our partnership and we look forward to working with you and your colleagues to make each of our countries safer.