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Securing Nuclear Materials - The Way Forward

IAEA Director General Encourages States to Improve Nuclear Security

CPPNM

IAEA Director General Yukiya Amano addresses delegates attending the Seminar on the Promotion of the Entry into Force of the 2005 Amendment to the CPPNM, hosted at the IAEA headquarters on 12 and 13 June 2014. (Photo: D. Calma/IAEA)

The entry into force of the Amendment to the Convention on the Physical Protection of Nuclear Material (CPPNM) is the single most important step which the international community can take in strengthening nuclear security globally. This was the key message highlighted by the IAEA Director General Yukiya Amano in his statement to delegates attending the Seminar on the Promotion of the Entry into Force of the 2005 Amendment to the CPPNM, hosted at the IAEA headquarters on 12 and 13 June 2014.

"Since 1999, the year when States began to identify the need to amend the Convention, the amount of nuclear material under IAEA safeguards around the world has risen by 70 percent. I repeat - 70 percent," Director General Amano said. "That figure will continue to grow. Responsibility for the security of this material rests with each State."

The objective of this Seminar was to encourage States to contribute to the reinforcement of the global nuclear security regime by adhering to the 2005 Amendment to the CPPNM and, demonstrating a global commitment to punish those who would engage in nuclear theft, sabotage or even terrorism.

The two-day event focused on a range of topics that are central and related to assisting States to take the steps necessary to adhere to the Amendment. The agenda of the Seminar had four sessions that concentrated on: Nuclear Security and the International Legal Framework for Nuclear Security; Overview of the CPPNM and its Amendment; National Adherence to and Implementation of the Amendment; and, IAEA assistance: in adhering to and implementing the amendment.

During the opening session, the representatives of altogether five countries stated that they were in the final stage of adhering to the Amendment and they would accordingly deposit the necessary instruments with the Depositary, shortly.

"This Seminar is another important milestone in our continuous efforts to support States' efforts, upon request, to establish and strengthen their national nuclear security regimes, and enable them to promptly meet their international obligations in general and the provision of the Amendment to the CPPNM in particular," explained Khammar Mrabit, Director of the IAEA Division of Nuclear Security.

Encouraged by the development, Peri L. Johnson, IAEA Legal Adviser and Director of the IAEA Office of Legal Affairs, said "This is very positive. It shows that what was considered to be an insurmountable number of States Parties needed to bring the Amendment into force is in fact achievable. We are now very close. With these additional countries, we only need 18 more States Parties. It is within our grasp."

The Amendment will enter into force only after it has been ratified by a two-thirds majority of the States Parties to the CPPNM.

At the conclusion of his opening remarks, the Director General Amano made clear the significance of the Amendment: "Entry into force of the Amendment helps to set global minimum standards for the security of nuclear material and facilities. It provides for the sharing of information on potential attacks on nuclear facilities. It provides for States to cooperate on improving national systems of physical protection. I encourage all countries not just to ratify the Amendment, but to make full use of the nuclear security services offered by the IAEA."

Background

The Convention on the Physical Protection of Nuclear Material (CPPNM) was signed at Vienna and at New York on 3 March 1980 and entered into force on 8 February 1987. The CPPNM is the only international legally binding undertaking in the area of physical protection of nuclear material used for peaceful purposes. It establishes measures related to the prevention, detection and punishment of offences relating to nuclear material.

A Diplomatic Conference in July 2005 was convened to amend the CPPNM and strengthen its provisions. The amended Convention makes it legally binding for States Parties to protect nuclear facilities and nuclear material in peaceful domestic use and storage, as well as transport. It also provides for expanded cooperation between and among States regarding rapid measures to locate and recover stolen or smuggled nuclear material, mitigate any radiological consequences of sabotage, and prevent and combat related offences.

Currently there are 149 Parties to CPPNM and 76 Contracting States to the Amendment to the CPPNM.


- By Aabha Dixit, IAEA Office of Public Information and Communication

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