The IAEA will continue to play the leading role as the global platform for strengthening nuclear security, and Member States should make increased use of its services, Director General Yukiya Amano said at the Nuclear Security Summit in Washington today.
“With 168 Member States, the IAEA has the global reach and the technical expertise to serve as an effective global nuclear security platform,” Mr Amano said. “Working closely with national experts and key international partners, the IAEA will continue to deliver tangible improvements in nuclear security.”
Since 2010, the Agency has trained over 10,000 people in nuclear security, including police and border guards. It has given countries more than 3,000 instruments for detecting nuclear and other radioactive material and carried out around 60 advisory missions to help States improve their national nuclear security regimes.
Mr Amano highlighted the IAEA’s global Incident and Trafficking Database, through which 133 countries report incidents of illicit trafficking and other unauthorized activities involving nuclear and other radioactive material. Nearly 3,000 such incidents have been reported since the database was established in 1995. “States should make better use of this database and report all relevant incidents in order to improve everyone’s understanding of the scale of the problem,” he added.
Mr Amano highlighted the IAEA’s unique emergency response capabilities. Its Incident and Emergency Centre “would become operational within minutes after a State reported a nuclear security-related incident to us. We could send nuclear security experts and radiation measurement teams to the affected country, help organise medical assistance and organise nuclear forensics investigations.”
Coming close: Entry into force of key nuclear security Amendment
Mr Amano drew attention to the importance of the Amendment to the Convention on the Physical Protection of Nuclear Material (CPPNM), the only legally binding international undertaking in the area of physical protection of nuclear material. In 2005, the Parties to the CPPNM adopted the Amendment to broaden the scope of the original Convention to cover nuclear facilities and nuclear material in domestic use. Adherence by just two countries is now needed for the Amendment to finally enter into force.
Under the Amendment, countries take on new obligations to share information on sabotage and credible threats of sabotage.
“I will bring the Parties together to work out ways of improving the mechanisms for sharing such information, while protecting confidentiality,” Mr Amano said. “I plan to host annual meetings of national Points of Contact for the Convention, as well as periodic Review Conferences.”
He added that the next goal after the Amendment’s entry into force must be its universal application.
Mr Amano concluded by encouraging countries to be represented at ministerial level at the IAEA International Conference on Nuclear Security in December.
A world summit to prevent nuclear terrorism
The Nuclear Security Summit is a forum to discuss at the highest level the need to secure nuclear material and prevent nuclear terrorism. The first summit was held in Washington in 2010, followed by summits in Seoul, South Korea in 2012 and The Hague, the Netherlands in 2014.