Australia’s National Statement to the
International Conference on Nuclear Security 2016
Ministerial Segment Plenary
Ambassador Dr Brendon Hammer
Governor and Permanent Representative to the International Atomic Energy Agency
6 December 2016
I wish to thank the Director General and the Agency for convening this important conference and for the IAEA’s continued contribution to strengthening nuclear security capacity among Member States.
Australia affirms the IAEA’s central and crucial role in coordinating and highlighting international efforts to enhance nuclear security. Australia has a strong and longstanding commitment to nuclear security, safeguards and non-proliferation. This includes support for the international institutions, agreements and initiatives that sustain nuclear security.
Robust nuclear security creates an environment conducive to the peaceful uses of nuclear energy upon which, as Member States of the IAEA, we all rightly place so much value.
It is the responsibility of all states to continue to build robust nuclear security architecture globally, and to fulfil their respective commitments and actions on nuclear security. Indeed, this is why we have joined this important Conference.
The Nuclear Security Summits have provided a focal point for our efforts on the deeply important issue of nuclear security, and the initiatives they promoted live on. Australia will faithfully fulfil its commitments made at the summits.
It is in our collective interest that the IAEA has reliable and sufficient resources to implement its nuclear security activities, including through the regular budget and through extra-budgetary resources. This will allow the IAEA to provide the guidance and services from which we all benefit. Australia has played its part by providing over $2.4 million dollars to the IAEA’s Nuclear Security Fund since its inception.
Australia welcomes the entry-into-force of the 2005 Amendment to the Convention on the Physical Protection of Nuclear Material. This must now be followed up by unwavering implementation of its provisions, including relating to international cooperation and a commitment to constructive dialogue at its review conference in 2021. We urge Member States that have not done so to adhere to the Amended CPPNM.
Australia supports global efforts to minimize holdings of highly enriched uranium, including by use of low-enriched uranium for the production of medical radioisotopes. Australia has contributed to this effort by significantly expanding its production of medical radioisotopes for the global market, using LEU for both fuel and targets. In doing so, we are demonstrating that this technology is a real, practical and currently available alternative to HEU based production in meeting global nuclear medicine demand. Indeed, our production using LEU will be extended further when the new Nuclear Medicine plant at the Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation (ANSTO) becomes operational next year.
Australia will continue to support initiatives such as the Global Initiative to Combat Nuclear Terrorism. For example, this year Australia conducted a GICNT workshop on information-sharing – preparing for and responding to a potential terrorist act using nuclear or radiological material. Australia will continue its leading role in nuclear forensics, including through the GICNT.
We encourage IAEA member states to take the opportunity of this Ministerial Conference to subscribe to a Joint Statement on Forensics in Nuclear Security originally made by 30 countries at the Washington Nuclear Security Summit.
We appreciate the valuable work of the IAEA’s Nuclear Security Guidance Committee, now in its second three-year term. This Committee has done well to publish key guidance documents in the nuclear security series. We strongly support the IAEA’s further work on producing nuclear security guidance, including on cyber security and the management of disused radioactive sources.
To be comprehensive, the nuclear security architecture requires more than ratification of treaties, repatriation of nuclear material and setting standards and guidelines. It also requires international cooperation and other voluntary measures where states can assure each other that their respective national nuclear security regimes are robust and implemented to a high standard. Accordingly, Australia also calls on states with nuclear materials in military use to assure the international community that such materials are protected at the highest levels.
Looking ahead, Australia stands ready to do its part to support robust nuclear security arrangements globally. We will remain actively involved in existing nuclear security treaties, organisations and initiatives. We will participate in dialogues and programs involving government, industry and non-government experts, and take part in regional initiatives for capacity building in nuclear security. And we will work with others to identify and tackle emerging threats.
Thank you Mr President.