IAEA Board of Governors: 11 September 2017
Statement by Dr Kath Smith, Alternate Resident Representative to the IAEA
Agenda Item 4a: Nuclear Security Report 2017
Thank you, Chair.
Australia welcomes the Director General’s Nuclear Security Report 2017. We express our appreciation to the Secretariat for the briefing provided to Member States on 31 August, and thank Deputy Director General Lentijo for his helpful introductory remarks.
Australia supports the Agency’s coordination with other international groups such as the Global Initiative to Combat Nuclear Terrorism and the Global Partnership against the Spread of Weapons and Materials of Mass Destruction, as this allows synergies to be identified and prevents duplication.
We also strongly support the Agency’s efforts to assist Member States by:
- promoting international nuclear security instruments;
- developing nuclear security guidance documents;
- administering the Incident and Trafficking Database;
- developing resources and courses for education and training in nuclear security;
- assisting States by developing tools for and training in information and computer security;
- implementing coordinated research projects on nuclear security;
- conducting Peer Review missions and helping States undertake self-assessments; and
- encouraging information sharing with a view to improving nuclear security implementation
Australia warmly welcomed the entry into force of the Amendment to the Convention on the Physical Protection of Nuclear Material (the CPPNM) on 8 May 2016. We acknowledge gratefully the role that the Secretariat played in its adoption, and note that 8 additional States have committed to the Amendment since its entry into force.
We are also pleased to confirm that the Agency will conduct a follow-up International Physical Protection and Advisory Service (IPPAS) mission to Australia in the final quarter of this year. Australia has also contributed experts to IPPAS missions in other countries, including as team leader.
Australia sees nuclear security as a global issue and is actively engaged in a number of forums.
Australia continues to support the goals and activities of the Global Initiative to Combat Nuclear Terrorism (GICNT), including through participation at GICNT workshops. Australia also presented on GICNT activities in nuclear forensics at a side event in the margins of the 2017 Preparatory Committee for the 2020 Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty Review Conference.
In December last year, Australia hosted an IAEA Regional Training Course on Safeguards and Nuclear Security for States with Small Quantities Protocols safeguards agreements and in October this year, Australia will host an IAEA Regional Training Course on Practical Introduction to Nuclear Forensics.
Australia has been long-standing proponent of the minimisation of use of highly enriched uranium (HEU) in civilian applications. Since we first started making the widely-used medical radioisotope molybdenum-99 in the 1970s, we have, unlike all other significant producers, always produced it using Low Enriched Uranium (LEU) targets. Australia’s old research reactor, HIFAR, although designed back in the 1950s as an HEU reactor, was converted to LEU fuel prior to its shutdown in 2007. Australia’s current research reactor, OPAL, commissioned in 2006, was designed and built to run using LEU fuel. When Australia’s new molybdenum-99 facility comes on line towards the end of this year, Australia will be able to supply 25% of the world demand for molybdenum-99 from LEU targets irradiated in an LEU-fuelled reactor.
Australia congratulates the IAEA on the very successful International Conference on Nuclear Security, which was convened in December 2016. It was the largest the IAEA had held to that date, attracting over 2100 participants from 139 Member States. The associated Ministerial Declaration highlights the global importance of nuclear security and affirms the IAEA’s central role in it.
The structure of the conference promoted effective sharing of ideas, concerns and suggested solutions. Both the High Level and Technical sessions provided important input for the preparation of the IAEA’s Nuclear Security Plan 2018–2021 and were highly valued
With these comments, the Australian delegation takes note of the Nuclear Security Report 2017 and recommends its transmittal to the General Conference.
Thank you, Chair.