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Director General's Closing Remarks at International Conference on Physical Protection of Nuclear Material and Nuclear Facilities

Vienna Austria

IAEA Director General Yukiya Amano delivers his remarks at the closing session of the International Conference on Physical Protection of Nuclear Material and Nuclear Facilities, Vienna, Austria, 17 November 2017. (Photo: D. Calma/IAEA)

(As prepared for delivery)

Good afternoon, Ladies and Gentlemen, Dear Colleagues,

I am pleased to speak to you at the conclusion of this IAEA International Conference on Physical Protection of Nuclear Material and Nuclear Facilities. I understand that it has been a productive meeting and that good progress has been made.

Thank you for taking part and contributing to this success.

Nuclear security is the responsibility of individual countries. The IAEA is the global platform through which countries cooperate to minimize the risk of nuclear and other radioactive material being used in a malicious way. We offer practical assistance, expert advice, equipment and training.

Physical protection of nuclear material and nuclear facilities is a key element of national nuclear security regimes.

The entry into force last year of the Amendment to the Convention on the Physical Protection of Nuclear Material was a major milestone. The Amendment now has 115 Parties. I encourage all countries that have not yet done so to adhere to it.

The IAEA Nuclear Security Plan 2018-2021, adopted by our Board of Governors in September, outlines the training and other support we will offer to States in the coming years to ensure that their nuclear material and associated facilities remain secure.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Expert peer review and advisory missions are among the most important services offered by the IAEA.

Last year, we marked the 20th anniversary of our International Physical Protection Advisory Service, or IPPAS, missions. The 80 missions conducted in 49 countries so far have contributed to nuclear security on both a national and global level.

The significant growth in the use of IPPAS reflects increased recognition of the value of this independent service, which we are constantly working with States to improve. We have built up a database of good practices identified during IPPAS missions. We will ensure that the service remains effective in helping States to enhance their nuclear security regimes.

We are also steadily increasing the assistance we offer to States, upon request, in education and training in nuclear security, as well as in the development and consolidation of a nuclear security culture.

In the last five years, the IAEA provided practical assistance to countries in improving physical protection at nuclear power plants, research reactors, radioactive waste storage facilities, and hospitals where high activity radioactive sources are used. In the same period, participation in IAEA training courses related to physical protection grew by nearly a third.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

As recognised by Ministers at the IAEA International Conference on Nuclear Securitylast December, it is crucial that we keep pace with evolving challenges to nuclear security.

The Ministerial Declaration at that Conference noted that physical protection is key to nuclear security. All countries, and organizations such as the IAEA, must work together to ensure that physical protection is sufficient to meet evolving threats.

I welcome the sharing of ideas and best practices on improved protection technologies that has taken place here in the past few days. The IAEA will reflect this in our future guidance on physical protection.  

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Participants at the December Conference expressed renewed support for the IAEA’s central role in facilitating and coordinating international cooperation on nuclear security.

This Conference is an excellent example of such cooperation. I am grateful to all of you for being part of this effort to strengthen nuclear security globally. I warmly thank Conference President Kathleen Heppell-Masys for assuming the presidency at short notice and guiding this important event to a successful conclusion.

I now declare this Conference closed. Thank you.

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