Vietnam continues strides to strengthen its framework for nuclear safeguards. Next week it hosts a high-level national seminar on the "additional protocol", an agreement the government recently concluded with the IAEA.
The two-day seminar opens 22 August in Hanoi with the support of the IAEA, Japan, and Australia. Sessions aim to sensitize Vietnam´s responsible officials at agencies and ministries about the role of IAEA safeguards for Vietnam, a country that is considering adding nuclear power to its energy mix down the line.
Earlier this month, on 10 August 2007, Vietnam became the 114th country to sign an additional protocol, a legal instrument introduced 10 years ago in order to strengthen the effectiveness and improve the efficiency of the safeguards system as a contribution to global nuclear non-proliferation objectives.
Additional protocols, once in force, provide the IAEA with important supplementary verification tools, in particular to verify the absence of undeclared nuclear material or activitites in a State, which should be reported to the IAEA. Today, most States with safeguards agreements have additional protocols in force and more than 80% of all States with declared nuclear material under safeguards have signed additional protocols.
In addition to Vietnam, the IAEA has supported similar national seminars in Algeria, Colombia, Malaysia, Mexico, Philippines and Thailand, within the framework of an action plan to promote the conclusion of safeguards agreements and additional protocols. Last May, representatives of some 15 States attended a high-level interregional meeting on the IAEA safeguards system intended for States that do not yet have any safeguards agreements with the IAEA.
Next week´s seminar will be held at the Hilton Hanoi Opera Hotel. Members of the Press are invited to join a reception at 19.00 on Wednesday, 22 August at the Ly thai to club.
In late 2006, IAEA Director General ElBaradei visited Vietnam and met government officials responsible for nuclear development. The country´s nuclear regulatory authority is the Vietnam Agency for Radiation and Nuclear Safety and Control (VARANSAC), which is under the Ministry of Science and Technology.
In fields of nuclear science and technology, the IAEA supports Vietnam through its technical cooperation and research programmes. Support covers, for example, energy studies and planning, industrial nuclear applications, radioactive waste management, nuclear legislation and regulation, nuclear medicine and radiotherapy, and nuclear applications to improve food production. Regarding cancer care and treatment, Vietnam is targeted for support through the IAEA-backed global initiative called PACT.