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IAEA Outlines 2011 Atomic Protection Steps
The International Atomic Energy Agency last week released a report detailing its efforts in 2011 to advance the protection of nuclear substances.
The U.N. nuclear watchdog since 2010 had launched International Physical Protection Advisory Service operations in France, Sweden and the United Kingdom, bringing the total to 54, the organization said in its annual report for 2011. The initiatives have gained a growing role "to build confidence within the international community with regard to the effectiveness of national nuclear security programs," according to the assessment.
The document's authors said certain data from the efforts has helped to inform development of Integrated Nuclear Security Support Plans, which the agency creates in conjunction with governments to detail possible means of bolstering defensive measures for atomic activities. The U.N. organization said such blueprints last year won endorsement in five countries, boosting their quantity to 30, and five more of the proposals had yet to receive formal backing.
"The agency undertook other expert missions, at the request of states, to examine arrangements to detect illicit trafficking and respond to nuclear security incidents," the document adds. "It also conducted a number of technical visits, which addressed security needs at locations including border crossings, medical facilities, scientific institutes and industrial sites."
The Vienna, Austria-based organization said 109 nations had entered full-scope IAEA inspections arrangements as well as the Additional Protocol, which permits more intrusive measures aimed at ensuring no materials are diverted from peaceful atomic programs to support weapon-related efforts. The agency in 2011 confirmed that all atomic material in 58 of the nations was supporting solely nonmilitary goals, but limited its confirmation to substances directly reported by 51 additional countries, stating that "evaluations regarding the absence of undeclared nuclear material and activities for each of these states remained ongoing."
An additional 61 countries had joined a safeguards agreement with the agency but not the Additional Protocol, the agency said. "For these states, the secretariat found no indication of the diversion of declared nuclear material from peaceful nuclear activities," it said.
The organization said it could not conclude "that all nuclear material in Iran was in peaceful activities," though atomic substances reported by Tehran were supporting only nonmilitary efforts.
As of the end of last year, 14 Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty member nations "had yet to bring into force comprehensive safeguards agreements with the agency" as the pact demands. "For these states, the secretariat could not draw any safeguards conclusions."
March 20, 2013
This report is part of a collection examining implementation of United Nations Security Council Resolution 1540, which requires all states to implement measures aimed at preventing non-state actors from acquiring NBC weapons, related materials, and their means of delivery. It details implementation efforts in Central America, South America and the Caribbean to-date.
Next Steps in Reducing Nuclear Risks: The Pace of Nonproliferation Work Today Doesn't Match the Urgency of the Threat
March 5, 2013
The fifth in a series of Wall Street Journal op-eds calling for bold action to reduce nuclear dangers.