Upgrading Nuclear Security Tops Board Agenda
The IAEA Board of Governors is considering a set of proposed actions to upgrade the Agency's programmes for nuclear security. The Board, which next meets 18 March in Vienna, is the Agency's 35-member policymaking body, this year under the Chairmanship of Ambassador Max Hughes of Australia. At its meetings in late November 2001, the Board received a report on protection against nuclear terrorism from IAEA Director General Mohamed ElBaradei. It outlined plans for strengthening the IAEA's work to upgrade nuclear security, and an updated report is being prepared for the March meetings
The November report addresses ways to strengthen protection against different types of risks related to the security of nuclear material, radioactive sources, and nuclear facilities."We need to ensure that all countries have a stringent nuclear security framework in place,"said IAEA Director General Mohamed ElBaradei in presenting the report."This means high standards to abide by, state-of-the-art equipment, and people trained in security."The November report estimated the cost of proposed programme improvements at $30-to-$50 million per year, which represents about a 10%-to-15% increase in the IAEA's overall resources."The most immediate task is to achieve a more complete picture of nuclear security worldwide, to enable a rapid response to the most urgent needs, and to develop a coherent plan for longer term action,"the Director General said.
The Agency's steps are in response to action by its Member States at their General Conference, which held its annual session in Vienna shortly after the terrorist attacks on the United States in September 2001. In collectively condemning the attacks, States resolved to work together on measures for strengthening nuclear security and safety.
Global experts in nuclear security, safeguards, and safety met at the IAEA in late October and early November 2001. The venue was the International Symposium on Safeguards, which included a Special Session on Combating Nuclear Terrorism. The latest edition of the IAEA Bulletin features articles by distinguished experts on the range of topics covered at these meetings.