Thailand among awardees at Nuclear Security Summit

Thailand was one of 17 countries that received an award for ensuring it has no highly enriched uranium, at the Nuclear Security Summit hosted by United States President Barack Obama in Washington last week, as Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha urged government agencies to stay alert to prevent any theft of other nuclear material.

Prime Minister Prayut accepted the award on behalf of the Kingdom, saying it demonstrates that Thailand honors its international agreements and accords. The Prime Minister said he chose to attend the summit personally to underscore how seriously Thailand takes the issue of non-proliferation and keeping weapons materials out of the hands of terrorists.

Moe than 400 people attended the Fourth Nuclear Security Summit, including 52 national leaders, nuclear industry leaders and international agencies such as the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). Begun at the urging of President Obama in 2009, the organizers said the latest summit was a transition summit, in which a more sustainable model is being developed in order to support the work of the IAEA and other related organizations.

Prime Minister Prayut said that countries could not work alone to achieve nuclear security and that they needed to work together as a group and with relevant international organizations. Although Thailand does not possess, and is not developing nuclear weapons, the country uses nuclear energy in other fields. Relevant government agencies have to stay alert for theft and accidental radiation leaks, the prime minister said, noting the concerns exist in many quarters about terrorists obtaining material for a ‘dirty bomb.’

Some Thai energy officials have advocated building nuclear power plants to reduce the country’s heavy dependence on imported oil and gas. The idea, however, has not gained serious traction.

Thailand joined other nations at the summit in ratifying a joint communiqué and five Action Plans. The documents signal political will and lay out guidelines for future cooperation in promoting international nuclear security and reducing the threat of nuclear terrorism.  They also contain proposals on cooperation among member countries and the relevant international agencies and frameworks.

Prayut called on all countries to work together against the threat of nuclear proliferation and terrorism, and thanked the United States and President Obama for hosting the summit, saying the U.S. has been essential to strengthening nuclear security at the global level.

While in Washington, the prime minister also met on the sidelines with representatives of the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank. He discussed the government’s stimulus measures, including its plans for a massive investment in upgrading the country’s infrastructure to make it more competitive.