Australia’s National Statement to the
International Conference on Nuclear Security 2020
Ministerial Segment Plenary
Director General Rob Floyd
Australian Safeguards and Non-proliferation Office (ASNO)
11 February 2020
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. As the title of this conference suggests, we seek not only the status quo and to sustain our efforts on nuclear security but, moreover, to strengthen our efforts to ensure we are always several steps ahead of any evolving or emerging threat. We agree with Director General Grossi’s sentiments of the vital need to “remain ahead of the curve in guarding against nuclear terrorism.”
We all here share in the benefits of nuclear energy and technology in a variety of ways, be it directly or indirectly. In recalling the benefits we also need to reflect on the safety, safeguards and security regimes that enables global confidence in the peaceful application of nuclear energy. Australia has a strong and longstanding commitment to high standards in all these regimes.
We strongly support the IAEA’s central role in strengthening nuclear security and coordinating international cooperation to this end. We appreciate the availability of IAEA nuclear security support services and encourage all to contribute to, and benefit from, these services. These services rely on regular and extra-budgetary resources and Australia continues to play its part. Last year we provided a further 250 thousand Australian dollars to the IAEA Nuclear Security Fund. We encourage all States to ensure there remains a sustainable source of funds for the IAEA to fulfil this important role.
We affirm our desire for, and commitment to, a productive review conference of the Amended CPPNM in 2021 where Parties actively share practices to improve their implementation and also support efforts to universalize the Convention. It is vital that implementation of the Convention is not only adequate for today’s threats but robust to manage future emerging threats. We urge Parties to engage constructively at this year’s Preparatory Committee to pave the way for a successful review conference in 2021 and subsequent review conferences in years to come.
The Amended CPPNM does not stand alone in the global nuclear security architecture but rather is supported by a range of intergovernmental and non-government organisations, industry bodies and centres of excellence, as well as international cooperation and other voluntary measures that, if well-coordinated, can be stronger than the sum of its parts.
Australia continues to place great importance on minimising the use of highly enriched uranium (HEU) in the production of nuclear medicines. While some States have made significant strides in moving away from HEU-based production, much work remains to be done. For the last 15 years, Australia has produced all our nuclear medicine, including molybdenum-99, exclusively from low enriched uranium (LEU) fuel and targets.
The technology to enable this has been around for some time and is both economically and technically feasible. This is particularly important to remember as the world moves towards the next generation of reactors for the production of nuclear medicine. Integration of this important policy commitment into new and existing production processes will directly improve global nuclear security.
We continue our work on nuclear forensics, providing regional training courses both in cooperation with the IAEA and bilaterally, and encourage States to take the opportunity of this Ministerial Conference to subscribe to the Joint Statement on Forensics in Nuclear Security, issued as Information Circular 917, and join the 31 countries that have already done so.
We continue to support work that facilitates effective management of radioactive sources, including assisting member states with disposal solutions and technologies for disused radioactive materials. We affirm our commitment to the Incident and Trafficking Database system as an effective tool for nuclear security.
We welcome the clear commitment in the Ministerial Statement to promote gender equity and we reaffirm Australia’s complete support of the Agency’s efforts to increase representation of women in the IAEA.
And on this very important point, I conclude my statement.
Thank you Mr President.