Brazilian-Argentine Agency for Accounting and Control of Nuclear Materials (ABACC)
ABACC is a binational safeguards agency created by Argentina and Brazil in 1991 to ensure that the two countries are using nuclear materials strictly for peaceful purposes.
Established: 18 July 1991 (Guadalajara Agreement)
Membership: Argentina and Brazil
The Brazilian-Argentine Agency for Accounting and Control of Nuclear Materials (ABACC) was established under the agreement between Argentina and Brazil for the exclusively peaceful use of nuclear energy, and signed at Guadalajara, Mexico on 18 July 1991. ABACC is responsible for the administration and application of the Common System of Accounting and Control (SCCC), which is a full-scope safeguards system applied to all nuclear activities covering all nuclear materials in both countries.
Highlights of Brazilian-Argentine Cooperation:
- 1980: Agreement between Brazil and Argentina on the peaceful uses of nuclear energy.
- 1985: Declaration of Foz de Iguassu on peaceful purposes of Argentine and Brazilian nuclear programs.
- 1986: Declaration of Brasilia.
- 1987: Declaration of Viedma: Brazilian delegation visits Pilcaniyeu gas diffusion enrichment plant in Argentina.
- 1988: Declaration of Ipero: Argentine delegation visits Aramar ultra-centrifuge enrichment plant in Brazil.
- 1990: Declaration of Buenos Aires.
- 1990: Second Declaration of Foz de Iguassu: basis for bilateral control.
- 1991: Signature of Bilateral Agreement (July).
- 1991: Entry into effect of Bilateral Agreement and the signature of Quadripartite Agreement (December).
- 1994: Signature by Argentina (January) and Brazil (May) of the Treaty of Tlatelolco.
- 1994: Entry into effect of the Quadripartite Agreement (March).
Under the Guadalajara Agreement, Argentina and Brazil undertook to use nuclear material and facilities under their jurisdiction or control exclusively for peaceful purposes; to prohibit and prevent in their territories, and to abstain from carrying out, promoting or authorizing, directly or indirectly, or from participating in any way in the testing, manufacture, production, or acquisition by any means of any nuclear weapon; and to prohibit the receipt, storage, installation, deployment, or any other form of possession of any nuclear weapon.
ABACC has its headquarters in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
Verification and Compliance
Brazil and Argentina have established the Common System of Accounting and Control of Nuclear Materials (SCCC) in order to verify that nuclear materials used in all nuclear activities in both countries are not diverted to purposes prohibited by the agreement. The objective of ABACC is to administer and implement the SCCC: to carry out inspections, to designate inspectors, to evaluate inspections, to engage the necessary services to ensure fulfillment of the SCCC objectives, to represent the parties before third parties in connection with the implementation of the SCCC, and to take legal action. The Quadripartite Agreement between the two Governments, the ABACC, and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) gives the IAEA the responsibility of applying full safeguards in both countries.
If a country was found to be in non-compliance, the IAEA would refer the case to the United Nations Security Council.
The Quadripartite Agreement (INFCIRC/435)
The Quadripartite Agreement between Argentina, Brazil, ABACC, and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) is a full-scope agreement on the application of safeguards. It was signed on 13 December 1991 and entered into force on 4 March 1994.
The Quadripartite Agreement establishes the following basic undertakings:
- The States Parties undertake, pursuant to the terms of the agreement, to accept application of safeguards on all nuclear activities carried out within their territories or anywhere under their jurisdiction or control, for the sole purpose of verifying that such materials are not diverted to nuclear weapons or other nuclear explosive devices.
- The IAEA shall be entitled to ensure that safeguards are applied in accordance with the terms of the agreement, to all nuclear activities in any place under the States Parties’ jurisdiction or control, for the sole purpose of ensuring that these materials are not diverted into unauthorized purposes.
- ABACC undertakes to apply its safeguards to nuclear materials in all nuclear activities carried out in the territories of the States Parties and to cooperate with the IAEA, pursuant to the terms of the agreement.
- The IAEA applies safeguards in a manner to allow verification of the results of the SCCC and thus ensure that no diversion of nuclear materials has occurred.
- Verification by the IAEA includes independent measurements and observations in accordance with the procedures specified in the agreement. In its verification, the IAEA considers the technical effectiveness of the SCCC used by ABACC.
- The States Parties, the IAEA, and ABACC cooperate to facilitate application of the safeguards provided for under the agreement. The IAEA and ABACC work to avoid unnecessary duplication of safeguards activities.
The principles regulating the implementation of the Quadripartite Agreement are:
- ABACC and IAEA should draw independent conclusions.
- ABACC and IAEA should coordinate their activities in order to avoid unnecessary duplication of safeguards efforts.
- ABACC and IAEA should, as much as possible, work together, according to compatible safeguards criteria issued by both agencies, bearing in mind the requirement of preserving technological secrecy.
Procedures for the implementation of safeguards include:
- Nuclear material accounting, vitally important measures, which are based on the principle of data conservation; applied in Materials Balance Areas; and include measurements made in key points.
- Containment and Surveillance supplementary measures which provide information on the movements of nuclear material, integrity of items verified, equipment, etc.
The verification process has three distinct stages:
- Examination of material supplied by the country, including:
- Information on the design of facilities under safeguards;
- Accounting reports detailing movements and inventories of nuclear material;
- Documents covering facility operations providing data for preparation of the reports; and advanced notifications of international transfers.
- Collection of information by the ABACC as to the outcome of:
- Inspections to verify design information;
- Inspections to verify records and reports, and to verify nuclear material; and
- Special inspections in case of any serious discrepancy.
- Assessment of information supplied by the country and collected by the inspectors, in order to determine if the information supplied by the country is complete, correct, and valid.
Brazil and Argentina forward the following reports to ABACC:
- Inventory Change Report (ICR), listing all inventory changes taking place over a specified period (for instance, monthly);
- Material Balance Report (MBR), consolidating the material balance over a period (for instance, one year) based on the physical inventory of nuclear material found in a material balance area; and
- Physical Inventory Listing (PIL), carried out regularly (for instance, annually), listing the physical inventory of nuclear material on a specific date.
The objective of ABACC inspections is to verify the validity of the information it receives. The safeguards system used by ABACC relies on the following types of inspections:
- Visits, which verify information on the facility design.
- Routine inspections, which verify conformity between reports and records; location, identification, quantity, and composition of nuclear materials; and information on possible causes of material un-accounted for (MUF), differences between shipper-receiver, and discrepancies against book inventory.
- Ad Hoc Inspections, which verify the information contained in the initial report; identify and verify variations in the situation between the date of the initial report and the date of entry into effect of the Application Manuals; and identify and, if possible, verify the quantity and composition of nuclear materials before transfer to, from, or between the Member States.
- Special Inspections, which verify the information contained in the special reports; or are used when ABACC feels that the information supplied by a Member State and the information obtained during the routine inspections are not adequate to fulfill its responsibilities. An inspection is considered as special when it is additional to routine inspection activities or implies access to additional information or places.
During the inspections, ABACC inspectors:
- audit documents;
- count and identify items;
- carry out non-destructive measurements of nuclear material;
- apply and verify surveillance equipment and seals; and
- obtain samples of nuclear materials for comprehensive analysis.
At the end of each inspection mission, the inspectors return to ABACC Headquarters to prepare the inspection report. On the basis of this report, ABACC prepares its inspection assessment, which is forwarded to the national authority of the country, corresponding to the notification of the results thereof.
Since its establishment, ABACC has performed more than 1,200 inspections in 75 nuclear facilities of Argentina and Brazil, representing a total inspection effort of over 4,400 inspectors’ days. Accounting and control activities have been performed by a group of 10 professional technicians, with the support of 100 inspectors made available by the two countries, and with around $20 million in financial resources.
ABACC maintains technical cooperation with several international entities such as the IAEA and EURATOM, and with several other countries, including the United States, France, the Republic of Korea, Japan, and the United Kingdom.
Point of Contact
From 9-12 March, the Secretary of ABACC, Ms. Elena Maceiras participated in the Meeting of the Board of Governors of the IAEA in Vienna.
From 4-8 March, ABACC participated as an observer in the IAEA Board of Governors Meeting in Vienna, Austria.
ABACC hosted twenty-five fellows of the UN Fellowship Program on Disarmament to attend lectures on the regional safeguards system, implementation of safeguards, and made technical visits to Brazil’s Nuclear Fuel Elements Factory in Resende.
On December 3-4, the ABACC participated in a workshop focused on discussing subjects that could contribute to the success of the NPT Review Conference.
On December 10 to 12, ABACC, in cooperation with the IAEA, conducted a training course for its inspectors on Short Notice Random Inspection procedures at fuel fabrication plants.
From 13-15 February, ABACC participated in the Meeting of Member State Support Program to IAEA Safeguards as an observer. ABACC highlighted its method of UF6 sampling, called the “ABACC-Cristallini” method, and discussed research and development related to safeguards.
On 25 April, ABACC participated as an observer in the second session of the Preparatory Committee of the 2020 NPT Review Conference in Geneva, Switzerland. ABACC made a statement highlighting the successes of its partnership and expressed its wish to be a model for other regional cooperative agreements. ABACC noted that its inspectors had performed more than 3,000 inspections since its inception, and about 100 inspections in 2017 alone.
On 20 September, ABACC Secretary Dr. Marco Marzo delivered a statement at the 61st IAEA General Conference. Dr. Marzo reaffirmed the ABACC’s commitment to maintain the peaceful use of nuclear energy in Argentina and Brazil.
From 5-8 November, ABACC participated in the Symposium on International Safeguards of the IAEA. ABACC chaired a session on national and regional safeguards systems and presented three technical papers.
On 21 November, Ms. Elena Maceiras was appointed the new secretary of the ABACC.
On March 6-9, ABACC Secretary Dr. Marco Marzo participated as an observer in the IAEA Board of Governor’s Meeting. Since 2011, ABACC has attended these meetings as an observer.
On April 27, ABACC participated in the Organization of American States (OAS) Forum on Confidence and Security-Building Measures. Secretary Dr. Marco Marzo presented the context and mission of ABACC, in the first address from ABACC to the OAS.
On May 2-12, ABACC participated as an observer at the Preparatory Committee of the 2020 NPT Review Conference in Vienna, Austria.
On 21 September, Secretary Dr. Marco Marzo delivered a statement at the 61st IAEA General Conference. Dr. Marzo highlighted the extensive inspections undertaken by ABACC and called for continued strong relations between itself and the IAEA.
On 7 March, Minister Ricardo Ayrosa delivered a statement at the IAEA Board of Governors Meeting. Minister Ayrosa highlighted the role of ABACC and its partnership with the IAEA.
On 29 August, ABACC delivered a statement at the IAEA’s 60th General Conference, highlighting the importance of technical cooperation and training.
On 7-11 November, ABACC participated in the “Technical Training Meeting on Technologies for Safeguards Joint Use” at the IAEA.
On 25 November, IAEA Director General Yukyia Amano visited ABACC to discuss the current state of relations between the IAEA and ABACC.
On 28 January, ABACC announced the completion of 107 inspections of the nuclear facilities of Brazil and Argentina in coordination with the IAEA.
During the 2015 NPT Review Conference (27 April – 22 May), representatives of ABACC, Argentina, and Brazil mentioned the work of ABACC. Dr. Odilon Marcuzzo do Canto, Secretary of the ABACC delivered a statement to the Main Committee II, addressing ABACC’s recent developments. Ambassador María Cristina Perceval of Argentina addressed the work of ABACC. Ambassador Antonio de Aguiar Patriota of Brazil stated that ABACC could serve as a model for the establishment of NWFZs in the Middle East and elsewhere.
On 16 September, ABACC issued a statement at the plenary sixth meeting of the 59th IAEA General Conference. Dr. Odilon Marcuzzo do Canto summarized ABACC’s last 25 years and outlined what they hope to accomplish in the future. He highlighted technical cooperation and training as important ways to compete with the pace of technological innovations, that could also be used in the nuclear security field. One example of ABACC using new technology to develop safeguards emphasized was the “development of a new method of uranium hexafluoride sampling in enrichment plants.” This new method is less intrusive/time consuming.
ABACC released its annual report on the activities performed in accordance with the bilateral agreement between Brazil and Argentina. The report confirmed that no indication of any diversion of nuclear materials or noncompliance was detected.
On 14 January, inspectors of ABACC and IAEA announced that in the last year they performed 118 inspections of nuclear facilities in Brazil and Argentina.
On 30 July, the Brazilian Ministry of Foreign Affairs hosted an event in Rio de Janeiro discussing the contributions of OPANAL and ABACC toward establishing Nuclear-Weapon-Free Zones.
During the 58th General Conference of the IAEA (22-26 September), Mr. Antonio Abel Oliveira, Secretary of the ABACC delivered a statement, updated the conference on ABACC’s recent developments.
On 27 October, the president of the Korean Institute of Nuclear Nonproliferation and Control (KINAC) visited ABACC. The two organizations held their 11st annual coordination meeting, discussing the technical cooperation projects.
On 7 January, inspectors announced that in 2012, they performed a total of 123 inspections (up from 110 in 2011) of nuclear facilities in Brazil and Argentina.
On 6 February the ABACC announced that in 2011 the inspectors of the ABACC performed 110 inspections in the nuclear facilities of both countries, 65 of which were in Argentina and 45 of which were in Brazil. This is compared to 99 total inspections in 2010.
In June 2012 ABACC’s Planning and Evaluation Official published the paper “Twenty years of ABACC: Accomplishments, lessons learnt and future perspectives,” and presented it at the 33rd Annual Meeting of the European Safeguards Research and Development Organization (ESARDA). The paper provides a retrospective view of twenty years of safeguards performance in Argentina and Brazil, emphasizing the technical cooperation projects developed with ESARDA, the European Community and the IAEA.
On 6 June, the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) recognized the Quadripartite Agreement as an alternative to the Additional Protocol. The participants of the 21st Plenary Meeting Nuclear Suppliers Group adapted new guidelines in which states that have complied with the highest standard of nuclear safeguards and protection of their nuclear material have access to sensitive technology used for enrichment of uranium and reprocessing of nuclear fuel.
On 10-11 November, the ABACC commemorated its 20th anniversary in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. At the event, issues such as non-proliferation, the peaceful use of nuclear energy, and national, regional and international safeguards were all discussed.
During 2011, there were modifications in the composition of the ABACC governing body: the ABACC Commission. Also in 2011, ABACC participated in several international forums, presenting both technical and institutional lectures. Highlights were the participation in the 55th General Conference of the IAEA and, as a guest speaker, at the Forum on Experience and Possible Relevance to the Creation of a Nuclear Weapon Free Zone in the Middle East, in November 2011. 2011 also recorded the first participation of ABACC, as an observer, at the meeting of the Board of Governors of the IAEA.
The 2009 Annual Report noted “several” Coordination meetings between ABACC and the State Parties throughout the year, along with the Quadripartite Agreement, some key issues discussed included:
- Analysis and review of Short-Notice Random Inspections during transfers of spent fuel to silos and uranium to enrichment plants;
- Maintenance of safeguards equipment owned by the IAEA and ABACC;
- Accounting data and its dissemination to ABACC and IAEA.
On 19 October, Brazil gave technical details to ABACC and the IAEA plans to develop an 11 MW prototype nuclear reactor by 2014. It plans to have an operational nuclear submarine by 2021. In response, ABACC officials made note of Brazil’s obligations to Article 13 under the Quadripartite Agreement, which highlights any State Party who decides to use nuclear material “required to be safeguarded under this Agreement for nuclear propulsion or operation of any vehicle, including submarines and prototypes” must inform the ABACC and “make it clear” that its action does not conflict with other obligations nor grants the ability diverted materials can be used for nuclear weapons.
On 10 December, the 10th meeting of the Liaison Committee of the Quadripartite Agreement was held at CNEN headquarters. This meeting is the highest level designated in the Quadripartite Agreement and involved the full participation of both State parties, the IAEA and the ABACC. Some of the main topics discussed include: Design Information Verification procedures, acceptance of the States to accept the proposal of the IAEA to increase the number of inspectors, and transmission of the operational status of safeguards equipment. The general consensus was that significant progress had been made in implementing the Quadripartite Agreement.
On September 17, the 9th Meeting of the Quadripartite Agreement’s Technical Subcommittee took place in Vienna, Austria. The subcommittee is a forum of the Quadripartite Agreement to discuss technical issues related to the implementation of safeguards. The forum seeks to improve the effectiveness and efficiency in the application of international and regional safeguards.
The meeting identified potential fields for the application of remote monitoring and of the “unified uranium” category and established work teams for the discussion of the safeguards approach proposed for each one of the conversion plants submitted to the Quadripartite Agreement.
The 9th meeting of the Liaison Committee of the Quadripartite Agreement was held in June.
The commission consists of four members (two members from each country). Among the commission’s duties are monitoring the functioning of the SCCC, procuring necessary resources to establish the secretariat, supervising the functioning of the secretariat, preparing a list of qualified inspectors to carry out inspection tasks, and reporting to the parties every year on the implementation of the SCCC.
The Commission held three ordinary meetings in April, August and December, and two extraordinary meetings in May and July. The topics of the extraordinary meetings were: progress of the activities in commemoration of the 20 years of ABACC.
In the December 2011 meeting, the proposal to update the team of Argentine inspectors submitted was approved and the Secretariat made a presentation on the topic “State Level Approach in the Application of Safeguards,” in response to the request made by Commission members. At the end of this meeting, Lic. Antonio Abel Oliveira became the secretary of ABACC and Dr. Odilon Marcuzzo do Canto became the deputy secretary.
The Commission held three meetings throughout the year. It passed procedural measures, and more importantly discussed new safeguards measures proposed for uranium conversion plants.
Three meetings of the ABACC Commission were held throughout the year: the first in April in Buenos Aires and the other two in Rio de Janeiro in August and December. The first two meetings of the ABACC were largely procedural, relating to budgetary issues and the work plan. During the third meeting, the Commission appointed 16 new inspectors, increasing the total number of Argentine and Brazilian inspectors to 98.
During its first meeting on 30 March, the Commission approved the 2007 Economic and Financial Balance Sheet and the audit report. During the second meeting held in August, the Commission confirmed Dr. Odilon Antonio Marcuzzo do Canto as ABACC’s Secretary.
In its December meeting, the Commission approved contributions of $1,681,250 from both governments for 2008. On 7 December, IAEA Director-General Mohamed ElBaradei made an official visit to ABACC, meeting with the Secretary as well as Brazilian and Argentine officials.
The Commission met three times in 2006. During the first meeting, the Commission discussed its annual report, audit, and balance sheet. In addition, the Secretariat provided an explanation concerning the safeguards approach for Indústrias Nucleares do Brasil (INB)’s commercial uranium enrichment plant and the procedures related to inspections during the initial production stage of the plant.
In the second meeting, the work plan and budget for 2007 were introduced. During the third meeting, the Commission approved the 2007 Work Plan and Budget at a sum of up to $3,313,000.
The first two meetings of the year by the commission took place on March 7 and July 4. The meetings considered activity reports, economic and financial balance sheets, the external audit report and the 2006 work plan, and the budget of ABACC. A report was presented on the status of the negotiations related to the safeguards approach at the uranium enrichment plant of Indústrias Nucleares do Brasil (INB), as well as on the tasks carried out after the negotiation. The commission approved the text of the 2004 Annual Report. During the second meeting, the new website of the ABACC was launched at www.abacc.org.
At its meeting on July 4, the commission decided to summon an ad-hoc advisory group to analyze the safeguards approach for the commercial uranium enrichment plant of INB under negotiations between IAEA and Brazil.
The meeting of the ad-hoc group, consisting of Argentine and Brazilian experts, was held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil on August 1 and 2. The ad-hoc group considered that the general guidelines, the criteria and the set of actions of the safeguards approach were appropriate and recommended analyzing the possibility of transmitting the “normal operation” signal of the surveillance systems in order to speed up the response in case of a failure. Additionally, the group advised performing periodical reviews of the proposed actions.
The secretariat consists of a Secretary and a Deputy Secretary, whose nationalities are alternated each year; a staff of 10 technical officers (including the Secretary and Deputy Secretary), two administrative officers, eight support staff, and 98 inspectors.
Among the duties of the secretariat are implementing directives and instructions issued by the Commission, performing necessary activities for the implementation and administration of the SCCC, and informing the commission immediately of any discrepancy in the records of either of the parties that emerges from the evaluation of the inspection results.
On 31 January, Dilma Rousseff, the new president of Brazil, and Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner, president of Argentina, signed a nuclear agreement. The joint statement signed by the two parties highlights the following:
- Recognition of the high degree of integration achieved by both countries in regard to bilateral nuclear cooperation
- Welcoming the possibility of the two countries cooperating together on the development of their nuclear sectors, which will be facilitated by signing the Cooperation Agreement between CNEA and the CNEN on the New Multipurpose Research Reactor Project
- Successful ratification of the Joint Presidential Deceleration on Nuclear Policy and push for further dialogue between two countries as well as continuing exchange of information about their nuclear programs
- Continuing political assessment of bilateral nuclear cooperation and performance of the ABACC, necessary to insure the enhancement of the ABACC.
On 6 June, Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) recognized the Quadripartite Agreement as an alternative to the Additional Protocol. The participants of the 21st Plenary Meeting Nuclear Suppliers Group adapted new guideline in which states that have complied with the highest standard of nuclear safeguards and protection of their nuclear material have access to sensitive technology used for enrichment of uranium and reprocessing of nuclear fuel.
On 18 July, the Brazilian—Argentine Agency for Accounting and Control of Nuclear Materials celebrated 20 years of its establishment; contributing to nuclear disarmament and nonproliferation. UN Secretary-General, Ban Ki-moon, congratulated the two governments for reaching a “significant milestone.”
On 29 July President of Brazil Dilma Rousseff and President of Argentina Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner met in Brasilia to address the status of the projects within the framework of the Brazil-Argentina Bilateral Integration and Coordination Mechanism, as well as items of bilateral, regional and multilateral interests. The two Presidents also reaffirmed their commitment to the Joint Presidential Declaration signed in January of this year.
On 3 May, Deputy Secretary Odilon Marcuzzo do Canto issued a statement highlighting the progress of the ABACC. He noted in 2009 there were “58 inspections in Argentine facilities and 60 in Brazilian facilities”, involving “854 inspectors-day.”
On 3 August, Argentine President Cristina Fernández de Kirschner met with Brazilian President Luis Inacio Lula de Silva to discuss the future role and importance of the ABACC and peaceful nuclear energy.
During the 54th IAEA General Conference from 20-24 September, Secretary Antonio Abel Oliveira issued a statement emphasizing the importance of ABACC efforts in bilateral safeguards between Argentina and Brazil. He also stated several projects and developments:
- ABACC and EURATOM are “currently developing cooperation projects” for the use of 3-dimensional lasers and ultrasonic seals;
- A project with the IAEA on the “Common Use of Equipment” for regional inspections is being developed;
- ABACC is working with the Republic of Korea as part of a “technical cooperation” on topics such as short-notice random inspections and CANDU-type reactor equipment.
The 2009 Annual Report was distributed to institutions in Brazil, Argentina, and abroad.
Diplomatic sources have reported initial negotiations regarding a verification regime for the production and utilization of low-enriched uranium for Brazil’s Navy in February. A “preliminary concept” for the safeguards of this fuel were said to establish a baseline for negotiations. Trilateral talks are expected to begin by the end of 2009.
In September, the IAEA and ABACC held the 24th Coordination Meeting during the IAEA General Conference in Vienna. The main issues discussed were an IAEA proposal regarding safeguards procedures dealing with the Quadripartite Agreement, activities during Design Information Verification inspections, and new procedures regarding the transport of samples and equipment among facilities. The 2008 Annual Report was distributed to institutions in Brazil, Argentina, and abroad.
The ABACC carried out both routine and ad hoc inspections in coordination with the IAEA. Throughout the year 57 inspections were made in Argentina and 46 in Brazil.
On 28 and 29 January, the 11th Meeting of the Liaison Committee between CNEN, ARN, ABACC and IAEA was held. The main purpose of these meetings was to prepare for the 10th Meeting of the Liaison Committee of the Quadripartite Agreement.
From 27-30 May, two officials from ABACC took part as observers in the annual meeting of the European Safeguards Research and Development Association (ESARDA) in Luxemburg. During the meeting, around 40 participants discussed the current situation of the implementation of the Additional Protocol and the application of integrated safeguards.
On 31 July 2008, the new inspection regime for the nuclear fuel fabrication plants located in Argentina and Brazil entered into force. The Short-Notice Random Inspections regime was implemented in the Fábrica de Elementos Combustibles of Combustibles Nucleares Argentinos S.A. and in the Fábrica de Combustível Nuclear—Reconversão e Pastilhas/Componentes e Montagem of the Indústrias Nucleares do Brasil (INB).
In September, the 23rd Coordination Meeting between the IAEA and ABACC was held. The main issues discussed were the joint use procedures for common use of equipment, an analysis of the new EOSS seal which will replace the VACOSS seals, and the provision of new systems and equipment for nuclear facilities.
Also in September, the Secretary of ABACC attended the 52nd General Conference of the IAEA, where he affirmed the commitment of the governments of Argentina and Brazil and the importance of the cooperation between ABACC and the IAEA.
In October, negotiations on creating a company to link Argentina and Brazil’s national uranium enrichment programs took place. Diplomatic sources believe that if negotiations are successful, a plant at Pilcaniyeu, which would enrich fuel to 1% U-235, could be constructed by 2010. The safeguard system for this plant is being developed by ABACC. On 8 December, a tripartite meeting was held between ABACC, IAEA and CNEN. This meeting focused on the implementation of the safeguards approach at the INB enrichment plant in Rio de Janeiro.
During 2008, there were two transfers of spent fuel from storage pools to silos. This represented an increase in the effort required for inspection efforts in Argentina.
The 2007 Annual Report was distributed to institutions in Brazil, Argentina and abroad.
In coordination with the IAEA and with national authorities, 59 inspections were carried out in Argentine facilities and 53 were carried out in Brazilian facilities.
In Argentina, physical inventories were verified at Combustibles Nucleares Argentinos (CONUAR) and Complejo Fabril Córdoba. A number of transfers were verified, including the transfer of spent fuel elements for dry storage at the Embalse Nuclear Power Plant and the export of spent fuel elements to the United States. In December, the first field trial of a Short Notice Random Inspection (SNRI) took place at CONUAR.
In Brazil, inventories were verified at the Aramar Experimental Centre (CEA), the Angra I Nuclear Power Plant, and the enrichment plant of Indústrias Nucleares do Brasil (INB). Verification activities at enrichment facilities included unannounced inspections.
In cooperation with the IAEA, the ABACC tested the surveillance cameras for the Hawk Digital Imaging System (HDIS), part of a new line of safeguards equipment that will be used in the near future, especially in facilities where portable cameras are needed.
The 2006 Annual Report was distributed to institutions in Brazil, Argentina, and abroad.
The work being undertaken by the ABACC, the IAEA, and the Brazilian Nuclear Energy Commission (CNEN) to implement safeguards at the first Brazilian commercial uranium enrichment plant was approved on 23 March. This established the basis to begin an inspections regime. In November, the ABACC and the IAEA carried out the first unannounced inspection at the Indústrias Nucleares do Brasil (INB)’s enrichment facility.
Representatives of the ABACC Secretariat participated in the meeting of the European Safeguards Research and Development Association (ESARDA) from 29 May-2 June, the 47th annual meeting of the Institute of Nuclear Material Management (INMM) from 16-20 July, and the 50th General Conference of the IAEA from 18-22 September.
In 2006, 59 inspections were carried out in Argentine facilities and 58 in Brazilian facilities. Accounting records were authorized corresponding to 559 reports received from both countries.
The 2005 Annual Report was distributed to Brazil, Argentina and abroad.
On 29-30 March, a coordination meeting between ABACC and the IAEA was held in Vienna. Both agencies performed a review of the situation concerning the application of safeguards under the Quadripartite Agreement. Information was exchanged with regard to the inspection activities scheduled for the next six months.
The 2004 Annual Report was distributed to Brazil, Argentina and abroad.
In February, a coordination meeting between ABACC and the Brazilian National Authority (CNEN) was held to discuss the revision of the terms of the 1993 Agreement of Mutual Cooperation. The meeting considered the introduction of a mechanism to allow for the automatic renewal of the agreement. The meeting also discussed the current status of the Projects of Technical Cooperation and devised general guidelines for inspectors.
On 15 March, a coordination meeting between ABACC and the National Argentine Authority (ARN) was held. The meeting reviewed the current status of the Technical Cooperation between CNEN and the ARN. The meeting also discussed issues related to the application of safeguards in the nuclear power plants of Atucha I and Embalse.
On September 13-17, ABACC held negotiations on the facility attachments in Brazilian and Argentine facilities in Vienna, Austria. Regarding the Brazilian facilities, the update of the document corresponding to Indústrias Nucleares do Brasil’s fuel manufacturing plant was completed, including the stage for the conversion of UF6 into UO2 pellets. An agreement was reached regarding the Argentine Embalse station’s document and only a decision by the IAEA is pending for the distribution of the final texts. With regard to the Atucha I Nuclear Power Plant, the facility attachment is at an advanced negotiation stage and a decision from the IAEA is being awaited with regard to the ARN’s proposal to use the unified uranium category in order to simplify the registration of the nuclear loss. Currently, only a few facilities in operation are missing the approval of their documents.
The 1993 Agreement of Mutual Cooperation between ABACC and the Brazilian National Nuclear Energy Commission was renewed on November 5.
The 2003 Annual Report was distributed to Brazil, Argentina and abroad.
On August 15, Ambassador Celso Amorim of Brazil and Ambassador Rafael Bielsa of Argentina developed a Memorandum of Agreement which reaffirmed their countries’ “engagement with the disarmament and the non-proliferation of mass destruction weapons.”
On 16 September at the 46th General Conference of the IAEA, the Secretary of the ABACC, Elias Palacios, stated that the IAEA and ABACC are expected to reach an agreement soon on the first guidelines for joint inspection activities at specific facilities. He stated that the conclusion of these guidelines will allow the optimization of the inspection effort applied by the two organizations. The conclusion of these two documents is also a requirement to reach a proceeding known as the “New Partnership Approach” between the IAEA and ABACC in the near future.
On 14 August, at the occasion of the tenth anniversary of the ABACC, Brazil and Argentina signed a joint declaration creating the Brazil-Argentine Agency on Nuclear Energy Applications (ABAEN). Through ABAEN, the two countries pledged to cooperate in such areas as the nuclear fuel cycle, nuclear waste, and nuclear energy reactors. This cooperation aimed at promoting the right conditions for the design and execution of joint projects and supplements the Argentine-Brazilian Standing Committee on Nuclear Policy.
A technical cooperation agreement discussed between ABACC, the Technology Center for Nuclear Control (TCNC), and the Korea Atomic Energy Research Institute, came into effect on 31 January. The purpose of this arrangement is to foster cooperation between ABACC and the TCNC with regard to accounting and control of nuclear materials.
Extensive resources on nuclear policy, biological threats, radiological security, cyber threats and more.
- Safeguards: A system of accounting, containment, surveillance, and inspections aimed at verifying that states are in compliance with their treaty obligations concerning the supply, manufacture, and use of civil nuclear materials. The term frequently refers to the safeguards systems maintained by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) in all nuclear facilities in non-nuclear weapon state parties to the NPT. IAEA safeguards aim to detect the diversion of a significant quantity of nuclear material in a timely manner. However, the term can also refer to, for example, a bilateral agreement between a supplier state and an importer state on the use of a certain nuclear technology.
See entries for Full-scope safeguards, information-driven safeguards, Information Circular 66, and Information Circular 153.
- Enriched uranium
- Enriched uranium: Uranium with an increased concentration of the isotope U-235, relative to natural uranium. Natural uranium contains 0.7 percent U-235, whereas nuclear weapons typically require uranium enriched to very high levels (see the definitions for “highly enriched uranium” and “weapons-grade”). Nuclear power plant fuel typically uses uranium enriched to 3 to 5 percent U-235, material that is not sufficiently enriched to be used for nuclear weapons.
- Nuclear weapon
- Nuclear weapon: A device that releases nuclear energy in an explosive manner as the result of nuclear chain reactions involving fission, or fission and fusion, of atomic nuclei. Such weapons are also sometimes referred to as atomic bombs (a fission-based weapon); or boosted fission weapons (a fission-based weapon deriving a slightly higher yield from a small fusion reaction); or hydrogen bombs/thermonuclear weapons (a weapon deriving a significant portion of its energy from fusion reactions).
- European Atomic Energy Community (Euratom)
- Euratom: Launched in 1958 to facilitate the development of nuclear energy for peaceful purposes within the European Community. For additional information, see EURATOM.
- Additional Protocol
- The Additional Protocol is a legal document granting the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) complementary inspection authority to that provided in underlying safeguards agreements. The principal aim is to enable the IAEA inspectorate to provide assurance about both declared and possible undeclared activities. Under the Protocol, the IAEA is granted expanded rights of access to information and sites, as well as additional authority to use the most advanced technologies during the verification process. See entry for Information Circular 540.
- Low enriched uranium (LEU)
- Low enriched uranium (LEU): Refers to uranium with a concentration of the isotope U-235 that is higher than that found in natural uranium but lower than 20% LEU (usually 3 to 5%). LEU is used as fuel for many nuclear reactor designs.
- Spent nuclear fuel
- Spent nuclear fuel: Irradiated nuclear fuel. Once irradiated, nuclear fuel is highly radioactive and extremely physically hot, necessitating special remote handling. Fuel is considered “self protecting” if it is sufficiently radioactive that those who might seek to divert it would not be able to handle it directly without suffering acute radiation exposure.