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Conference on the Protection of Nuclear Material and Facilities Commences in Vienna

Participants at the CPPNM international conference hosted at the IAEA. (Photo: D. Calma/IAEA)

The International Conference on the Physical Protection of Nuclear Material and Nuclear Facilities commenced at the IAEA headquarters in Vienna today, bringing together around 700 participants representing governments, regulatory bodies, nuclear facilities, academia, industry and civil society.

Over the next four days, they will be sharing experiences, challenges and lessons learned in order to strengthen protection of nuclear material and facilities against theft or sabotage.  

In his opening statement, Deputy Director General and Head of the Department of Nuclear Safety and Security, Juan Carlos Lentijo, said that physical protection of nuclear material and nuclear facilities is an integral part of a nuclear security regime. “Countries should ensure the security of all nuclear and other radioactive material under their control in accordance with national and international obligations,” he said. “The Agency’s role is to support States in fulfilling this responsibility.”

Participants will discuss legislative and regulatory frameworks and share experiences in developing and sustaining physical protection regimes against the unauthorized removal of nuclear material during use, storage and transport. 

The Conference also provides a forum for the IAEA to encourage the universalisation of the Convention on the Physical Protection of Nuclear Material (CPPNM) and its Amendment, which requires State Parties to protect nuclear facilities and nuclear material in domestic use, storage and transport. Conference participants will share experiences on the implementation of the Nuclear Security Recommendations on Physical Protection of Nuclear Material and Nuclear Facilities (NSS 13), which provide guidance on how to implement the technical part of the CPPNM amendment that entered into force in May 2016.

Conference President and Director General of Security and Safeguards for the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission, Kathleen Heppell-Masys, said in her opening statement that the Amendment’s entry into force was an important step in further strengthening nuclear security around the world and encouraged more States to become parties.

"The pursuit of enhancing our collective resilience against threats and challenges to nuclear security helps us in effectively detecting, preventing, and responding to malevolent acts," she said.

The Conference runs from 13-17 November 2017 and is held in cooperation with the International Criminal Police Organization (INTERPOL), the World Nuclear Transport Institute (WNTI) and the World Institute for Nuclear Security (WINS).

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