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Australian Government - Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade

Advancing the interests of Australia and Australians internationally

Australian Government - Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade

Advancing the interests of Australia and Australians internationally

Australian Safeguards and Non-Proliferation Office

Annual Report 2000-2001

Annex H Australian Safeguards Support Program

Current Projects

Analytical Services for Environmental Sampling Environmental sampling is an important safeguards strengthening measure that will enhance the IAEAs capability to detect undeclared nuclear activities. ANSTOhas demonstrated that mass spectrometry using a tandem accelerator can be used to analyse environmental samples with very high sensitivity. In November 2000, ANSTO applied to join the IAEA Safeguards Network of Analytical Labs (NWAL)ASSP is supporting ANSTO in obtaining IAEA certification.

ANSTO has demonstrated unequivocally that AMS (Accelerator Mass Spectroscopy) is the only technique capable of measuring U-236 at the low levels expected in environmental materials. Consequently, the IAEA asked ANSTO to measure U-236 in soil samples from Kosovo, as part of the UN Environment Programs study of the environmental and health consequences of the use of depleted uranium (DU) in ammunition.

Application of the State-level Integration Concept on Fuel Cycles Under Safeguards Eleven Member States (Argentina, Australia, Belgium, Canada, Finland, France, Germany, Japan, Sweden, United Kingdom and United States) contribute to this joint task by developing integrated safeguardsapproaches for their nuclear fuel cycles and/or by helping the IAEA to derive generic guidance for the design of integrated safeguards approaches on the level of the state-as-a-whole.

ASNO is an active participant in this joint task. In early 2001, ASNO finalised its proposal for an integrated safeguards approach for Australia, thus contributing to Australia becoming the first state for the introduction of integrated safeguards. The IAEA commended ASNOs contribution to the joint task by the following conclusion: Under this task the Australian Support Program demonstrated a strong sense of leadership in the implementation of strengthened safeguardsby providing a state-level safeguards approach for the Australian fuel cycle. This approach was part of the background information for the Agency during the development of the in-house state-level safeguards approach for Australia. The task also contained some elements that were used by other support programs; specifically the Integrated Safeguards Evaluation Methodology developed by the U.S. Support Programme.

This task is expected to be completed by the end of 2001.

Re-Examination of Basic Safeguards Implementation Parameters During the 1990s the IAEA acknowledged the need, in parallel with the development of strengthened and integrated safeguards concepts, to re-examine basic safeguards implementation parameters, such as timeliness goals, significant quantities, and the categorisation of nuclear material for safeguards purposes.

Under this task ASNO has prepared papers for the IAEA on timeliness verification goals and the categorisation of nuclear material, which have been extensively used by the IAEA for the conceptual development of integrated safeguards. ASNO has also prepared several papers related to the development of integrated safeguards approaches to specific facilitytypes (research reactors and light water reactorswith and without MOX fuel) for SAGSIduring the reporting period.

Expansion of the Physical Model The Physical Model was developed for the IAEA by a panel of international experts (including ASNO staff) in support of the enhanced information analysis in the context of strengthened and integrated safeguards. The Model identifies, describes and characterises all known fuel cycle technologies and processes, especially those required for the acquisition of weapons-useable fissile material, as a guide for IAEA analysts and inspectors.

As developed, the Physical Model is a living document subject to periodic review and update. During the reporting period ASNO, with support from ANSTO, contributed to the revision of the Physical Model to encompass hot cell operations.

The expansion of the Physical Model is still under way with the last part Intermediate and High Active Waste Management now being under review at ASNO. In addition, a general revision process has been set in train, initially looking particularly at the volumes on reprocessing and enrichment, and consideration is being given to the further development of an electronic version of the Model.

Support for Information Review and Evaluation Since 1997, ASNO has undertaken for the IAEA a number of consultancy subtasks in this area which support the implementation of strengthened safeguards. Activities during the reporting period were as follows.

To evaluate information on miningand milling of uranium for safeguards purposes This task seeks to: determine the circumstances under which the IAEA might undertake complementary accessto a uranium mining/milling site; what verification activities might be undertaken; and how declared information about mining/milling activities would be taken into account in an assessment on possible undeclared activities.

An interim report was submitted by ASNO in June 1998. The IAEA found the report very useful in helping it to develop new verification procedures under the Additional Protocol. Using an approach proposed by ASNO, the IAEA achieved highly conclusive results on the dating of uranium samples taken during the Agencys (first ever) complementary access to a uranium mine, the Ranger mine, in June 1999.

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