Ministers at IAEA Conference Call for Stronger Nuclear Security

2013/09
Vienna

Despite substantial progress in strengthening nuclear security in recent years, more needs to be done worldwide to defend against the threat of nuclear terrorism and other malicious acts involving nuclear or radiological material, a Ministerial Declaration at the IAEA's International Conference on Nuclear Security: Enhancing Global Efforts stated today.

More than 1 300 participants at the Conference, which is open to all 159 IAEA Member States, will analyse past and current efforts and consider how future challenges can best be met to ensure effective and sustainable nuclear security worldwide. The Conference, which started in Vienna today and ends on Friday, includes representatives from 123 countries and 21 governmental and non-governmental organizations.

The Ministerial Declaration, adopted at a plenary session attended by 34 government ministers and other Heads of Delegation including the Conference President, Hungarian Foreign Affairs Minister János Martonyi, says they "remain concerned about the threat of nuclear and radiological terrorism and of other malicious acts or sabotage related to facilities and activities involving nuclear and other radioactive material."

The Declaration - the first of its kind for nuclear security - notes that all States are responsible for their own nuclear security, but that international cooperation is important in supporting States' efforts to fulfil their responsibilities. It affirms the central role of the IAEA in strengthening nuclear security globally, and leading coordination of international activities in this field.

"We encourage all States to maintain highly effective nuclear security, including physical protection, for all nuclear and other radioactive material, their transport, use and storage and their associated facilities, as well as protecting sensitive information and maintaining the necessary nuclear security systems and measures to assess and manage their nuclear security effectively," the Declaration says.

The Declaration recognizes the threat to international security posed by theft and smuggling of nuclear material and affirms the responsibility of States to keep all nuclear material secure. It also encourages all States to join and participate in the IAEA Incident and Trafficking Database, the international repository of information about nuclear and other radioactive material that has fallen out of regulatory control.

It invites States that have not yet done so to become party to, and fully implement, the Convention on the Physical Protection of Nuclear Material (CPPNM) and its 2005 Amendment, which broadens the scope of that Convention. Many ministers at the Conference stated that entry into force of the Amendment would make a big difference.

Among a number of other issues that are addressed, the Declaration also encourages States to use, on a voluntary basis, the IAEA's nuclear security advisory services and peer reviews such as International Physical Protection Advisory Service (IPPAS) missions, which are based on internationally accepted guidance and tailored to national needs.

The Ministers welcomed the IAEA's work in nuclear forensics, and recognized its efforts to raise awareness of the growing threat of cyber-attacks and their potential impact on nuclear security.

The work of the Conference will contribute to the IAEA's Nuclear Security Plan for 2014 to 2017.

Consultations on the Declaration among IAEA Member States were coordinated by Ambassador Balazs Csuday, Resident Representative of Hungary, and Ambassador Laercio Antonio Vinhas, Resident Representative of Brazil.

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Last update: 18 November 2014