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Convention on the Physical Protection of Nuclear Material (CPPNM) and its Amendment

The main international legal instruments in the area of nuclear security adopted under the IAEA’s auspices are the Convention on the Physical Protection of Nuclear Material (CPPNM) and its 2005 Amendment.

The CPPNM establishes legal obligations for Parties regarding the physical protection of nuclear material used for peaceful purposes during international transport; the criminalization of certain offences involving nuclear material; and international cooperation, for example, in the case of theft, robbery or any other unlawful taking of nuclear material or credible threat thereof.

Date of adoption:
26 October 1979
Place of adoption:
Vienna, Austria
Date of entry into force:
8 February 1987
Depositary:
International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)

The Amendment to the CPPNM significantly strengthens the original CPPNM in a number of important ways. It extends the scope of the original treaty to cover physical protection of nuclear facilities and nuclear material used for peaceful purposes in domestic use, storage and transport. It also further criminalizes offences related to illicit trafficking and sabotage of nuclear material or nuclear facilities, and it provides for strengthened international cooperation in light of the expanded scope, such as assistance and information sharing in the event of sabotage.

Date of adoption:
8 July 2005
Place of adoption:
Vienna, Austria
Date of entry into force:
8 May 2016
Depositary:
International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)

The entry into force of the CPPNM in 1987 and its Amendment in May 2016 were crucial milestones in the development of the international legal framework for nuclear security, as they remain the only internationally legally binding undertakings in the area of physical protection of nuclear material and of nuclear facilities used for peaceful purposes. The CPPNM as strengthened by its Amendment is relevant for all States, not just those with nuclear facilities or nuclear materials, as explained in the 5 Questions Brochure and the IAEA Brief on the International Legal Framework for Nuclear Security.

5 Questions Brochure: Arabic | Chinese | English | French | Russian | Spanish

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CPPNM and Amendment Scope

Assistance to States

The IAEA actively promotes and helps facilitate adherence to and effective implementation of the CPPNM and its Amendment. Upon a State’s request, the IAEA stands ready to provide legislative and technical assistance, including:

The IAEA also establishes and maintains the Nuclear Security Series, which provides international consensus guidance on all aspects of nuclear security and is consistent with and helps States implement obligations under relevant legally binding instruments, including the CPPNM and its Amendment. In addition, the IAEA publishes reference material, such as the Handbook on Nuclear Law, volumes I and II, providing detailed explanations and model provisions in this field. The IAEA further facilitates information exchange on incidents of illicit trafficking and other unauthorized activities and events involving nuclear and other radioactive material outside of regulatory control through the Incident and Trafficking Database (ITDB).

In the lead-up to the Conference of the Parties to the Amendment to the CPPNM, planned to take place in the week of 28 March 2022, the IAEA is conducting a wide range of activities to promote the universalization of the Amendment.

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