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Morocco Ratifies Important Nuclear Security Amendment


Ali El Mhamdi, Resident Representative of Morocco depositing his country’s instrument of ratification of the Amendment to the CPPNM to IAEA Director General Yukiya Amano. (Photo: D. Calma/IAEA)

Morocco’s ratification today of the Amendment to the Convention on the Physical Protection of Nuclear Material (CPPNM) brings to just 12 the number of countries whose ratification is required for the Amendment to enter into force. The Amendment obliges countries to protect nuclear facilities, as well as nuclear material in domestic use, storage and transport. It also provides for increased international cooperation on locating and recovering stolen or smuggled nuclear material, to mitigate any radiological consequences of sabotage, and to prevent and combat related offences.

IAEA Director General Yukiya Amano welcomes Morocco’s ratification of the Amendment as an important step to bolster nuclear security worldwide. “Nuclear security is a longstanding and real issue that all countries need to take very seriously,” Mr Amano said earlier this week in the Philippines. “Terrorists always target the weakest link, so we need to work together to address that. Entry into force of this amendment is the most important step forward we can take in the field of nuclear security.”

The CPPNM, the only legally binding international undertaking in the area of physical protection of nuclear material, entered into force in 1987. It focuses on the physical protection of nuclear material used for peaceful purposes during international transport. In 2005, the Parties to the Convention adopted the Amendment to broaden the scope of the original Convention.

Two-thirds of the States Parties to the CPPNM must adhere to the Amendment for it to enter into force. The CPPNM now has 152 States Parties and the Amendment has 90 Contracting States. Adherence by 12 more States Parties is still needed for the Amendment to take effect.

Morocco’s ratification of the Amendment follows that of Iceland, on 27 October, and that of Botswana, which submitted its ratification during the IAEA’s 59th General Conference in September. During this event, IAEA Director General called upon all States Parties to the CPPNM to adhere to the Amendment as soon as possible. “I encourage all countries to help strengthen nuclear security by adhering to this important Amendment,” Mr Amano had said.

Promoting nuclear security regionally and globally

Party to the CPPNM since 2002, Morocco has been playing an important role in promoting nuclear security regionally and globally — hosting many events for the IAEA and the Global Initiative to Combat Nuclear Terrorism, establishing a Nuclear Security Training and Support Centre, effectively implementing an Integrated Nuclear Security Support Plan and creating a unified regulatory body regulating safety, security, safeguards and nuclear liability.

Last October, Morocco, along with Spain, organized a joint nuclear transport security exercise in cooperation with the IAEA. The aim of the exercise was to assist the two countries in strengthening transport security arrangements for nuclear and other radioactive materials.

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