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IAEA Adds Four States for the New COMPASS Cycle


Visit to the Zwentendorf Nuclear Power Plant (NPP), organized as part of the first professional seminar for COMPASS States, November 2022. The Austrian NPP has never been in operation and is used for training and other purposes.

Bangladesh, Bolivia, Cameroon and Ghana will participate in the next cycle of the IAEA Comprehensive Capacity-Building Initiative for SSACs and SRAs. The initiative, commonly known as COMPASS, involves partnering with a State to help strengthen the effectiveness of their State system of accounting for and control of nuclear material (SSAC) and State or Regional Authority responsible for safeguards implementation (SRA).

“I am delighted to welcome the next group of States to receive safeguards support through COMPASS,” said Rafael Mariano Grossi, Director General of the IAEA. “Cooperation between the State and the IAEA is a crucial element in the implementation of safeguards. Based on the results and lessons learned from COMPASS’s pilot phase, we will work closely with this new group of States to provide the tools and knowledge they need to fulfil their safeguards obligations effectively and efficiently.”

Through safeguards, the IAEA verifies that States are honouring their international legal commitments to use nuclear material and technology only for peaceful purposes. Launched in September 2020 by the Director General, COMPASS provides comprehensive safeguards assistance tailored to a State’s needs. During its initial pilot phase, seven States received support from the IAEA and COMPASS’s implementing partners in the areas of outreach; legal and regulatory frameworks; training; information technology; procurement; and related expertise. The IAEA successfully concluded the pilot phase in March 2023.

The individual needs of new COMPASS States will be assessed through an IAEA Safeguards and SSAC advisory service (ISSAS) mission at the start of the new implementation phase, which will begin in January 2024. COMPASS activities will then be conducted collaboratively between the State and the IAEA, with the in-kind and/or financial support of individual IAEA Member States and Member State Support Programmes.  

“I am excited that Ghana has been chosen to take part in the next phase of COMPASS”, said Nii Kwashie Allotey, the Director General of the Nuclear Regulatory Authority for Ghana. “Ghana is committed to working with the IAEA to fulfil its international nuclear verification obligations. We believe that being part of COMPASS will provide Ghana the support it needs to facilitate the optimal implementation of Agency safeguards.”

As per their respective comprehensive safeguards agreements with the IAEA, 182 States are obliged to establish and maintain an SSAC. As the State’s mechanism through which it declares to the IAEA the location, uses and quantities of nuclear material in the country, SSACs are important components of IAEA-State cooperation. The need for a robust SSAC becomes particularly evident when a State is at a pivotal juncture in the development of its nuclear fuel cycle or associated legislation. This includes the planning and construction of a new nuclear facility, agreeing to the revised text of a small quantities protocol, or bringing into force an additional protocol — each of which entail new reporting obligations for the State.

“The COMPASS initiative has been a game changer for Malaysia”, said Nurul Hafiza binti Mohamed Aliasrudin, Assistant Director of the Nuclear Installation Division at the Malaysian Department of Atomic Energy. Malaysia was one of the seven States who participated in the pilot phase of COMPASS. “In two years, COMPASS helped us review safeguards regulations, develop technical guidelines and license conditions, and also enhance the training within the national safeguards authority,” said Nurul Hafiza binti Mohamed Aliasrudin.

The IAEA provides a suite of safeguards assistance to States. In addition to COMPASS, States can request and access support including ISSAS missions; national, regional, and inter-regional training offerings; e-learning modules; and the safeguards traineeship programme.

Find out more about IAEA safeguards assistance for States

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