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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 1999-2000

Output C International Safeguards

Contribution to the development and effective implementation of international safeguards and Non-proliferation regimes, including participation in international expert groups and conferences, and provision to the IAEA of consultancies, assessments, support in R&D and training; and evaluation of the effectiveness of IAEA safeguards and related regimes.

Milestone C1

C1.1 A pro-active and useful contribution made to the development and effective implementation of IAEA safeguards, with national and international safeguards methods evaluated in an expert and thorough manner.

Activities

Australia takes an active part in the development of safeguards, through activities such as:

  • participation in SAGSI (the Standing Advisory Group on Safeguards Implementation) and other international expert bodies (see below);
  • the Australian Safeguards Assistance Program (ASAP), comprising R&D and consultancy work in support of IAEA safeguards (see Milestone C3 on page 35);
  • field testing of new safeguards techniques and approaches in Australia on behalf of the IAEA;
  • participation in relevant DFAT policy development activities, and support for Australias Mission to the IAEA in Vienna and to Australian Missions in other capitals; and
  • promotion of safeguards and non-proliferation concepts through experts' meetings, publications and conferences.
SAGSI

The Standing Advisory Group on Safeguards Implementation is a group appointed on the basis of their personal expertise by the Director General of the IAEA, in consultation with Governments, to advise him on effectiveness and cost-efficiency in the implementation of IAEA safeguards. SAGSI has provided much of the inspiration for the current program to strengthen IAEA safeguards and continues to review developments. Currently SAGSI has 19 members, including ASNOs Director General, John Carlson, and participation in SAGSI is an important aspect of ASNO's work. Some of SAGSIs work during 1999-2000 is outlined below.

A key topic for SAGSI is the development of integrated safeguards, that is, the optimal combination of classical safeguards and strengthened safeguards measures (integrated safeguards are discussed further on page 51). This is a matter of the highest priority. SAGSI has reviewed the IAEA Secretariats Work Plan for integrated safeguards and advised the Secretariat on various aspects of it. SAGSI is also examining specific subjects related to integrated safeguards, including development of safeguards concepts and approaches, safeguards parameters, evaluation methodologies, and quality systems. During the year one major subject, in which Australia took the lead, was a thorough review of the role of timeliness (e.g. frequency of inspections) in integrated safeguards. Other subjects include the role of containment and surveillance measures, and the categorisation of nuclear material for safeguards purposes.

Additional topics examined by SAGSI during the year included:

  • safeguards implementation and performance issues, including reporting aspects, and information review and evaluation;
  • further developments in safeguards, including wide area environmental sampling, safeguards approaches for spent fuel repositories, and the application of satellite imagery; and
  • possible new verification roles for the IAEA, including nuclear materials released from weapons programs and the proposed FMCT (further details on FMCT are at page 73).
Evaluation of safeguards

In evaluating IAEA's safeguards performance, ASNO drew on a wide range of activities and sources, including:

  • the IAEAs Safeguards Implementation Report (SIR) and other detailed information made available to Australia as a member of the IAEA Board of Governors;
  • appreciation of practical issues derived from the operation of Australias Safeguards Assistance Program in support of IAEA safeguards; and
  • exchanges of views and information with IAEA staff, counterpart organisations, and relevant Australian agencies.

ASNOs assessment of IAEA data for 1999 and related information is that the safeguards system has fulfilled its task of verifying the non-diversion of significant quantities of nuclear material subject to IAEA safeguards (see IAEA Safeguards Statement for 1999, on page 84). As in previous years, the IAEA experienced a number of problems with equipment and procedures, but none was sufficiently serious to prevent the Agency from reaching satisfactory conclusions from its safeguards activities.

Other work

At several international conferences (Such as annual meetings of the Institute of Nuclear Materials Management (INMM), the European Safeguards Research and Development Association (ESARDA), and the Japan Atomic Industrial Forum) ASNO has taken the opportunity, to present and promote Australian ideas on safeguards and non-proliferation development (see Milestone C2 on page 34). ASNO has established a reputation for presenting innovative, constructive and thought provoking papers.

Performance Assessment

Australias participation in international work is making a significant, effective and highly regarded contribution to strengthening the IAEA safeguards system.

ASNO was closely involved with the IAEA through high level participation in SAGSI and other expert meetings (For example, working groups on integrated safeguards.). Through the Safeguards Support Program ASNO provided cost free consultancy services to the IAEA for the further development of international safeguards (see Milestone C3 on page 35). The IAEA has expressed appreciation for and satisfaction with these services. This work has contributed to more effective international safeguards with improved use of new technologies and methods.

ASNO has been an influential advocate for strengthened safeguards through high level participation in international fora such as Institute of Nuclear Materials Management and European Safeguards Research and Development Association.

C1.2 Assessment of developments in nuclear technology

Nuclear fuel cycle developments could have significant implications for the implementation of safeguards measures and the ways in which non-proliferation objectives are pursued. ASNO has followed very closely developments in critical areas including plutonium recycling, new reactor designs, and proliferation resistant fuel cycle concepts. These issues have been explored in detail with the IAEA and at other expert meetings and in bilateral consultations. ASNOs participation and good standing in these expert groups has enabled it to stay abreast of advancements and contribute to a more thorough understanding among experts, policy makers and the public alike. Some of these matters are discussed on pages 62 and 67.

Performance Assessment

Although Australia does not have a nuclear industry and hence is not directly involved in substantial nuclear technology developments, ASNO has maintained a sound understanding of important developments or issues and made a constructive contribution in international fora.

C1.3 Contribution to IAEA technical training courses concerning nuclear material accountancy and control and other safeguardrelated topics.

Activities

An important activity for ASNO has been the provision of training in national safeguards for personnel of regional countries. In our region, Australia and Japan have provided such training since 1985 on behalf of and in conjunction with the IAEA. Together they have conducted eight courses (four each in Japan and Australia). The last regional course was held in Australia in April 2000.

This most recent three week course was funded by AusAID and provided training in safeguards and nuclear materials accounting. The IAEA was extremely pleased with the conduct and content of the course. Feedback from students was very positive. Many regional states participated, including Cambodia, China, DPRK, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, Philippines, ROK, Thailand and Vietnam. While Australia is expected to conduct a further course in about four years, in view of the evolving nature and importance of integrated safeguards, and increasing regional attention being given to safeguards matters, ASNO is considering the possibility of a follow-up course in about two years. Further details of this years course are on page 58.

During the year, Mr John Hill was a guest lecturer at a safeguards training course in Japan, (arranged primarily for participants from Eastern Europe and the Newly Independent States), and with ABACC (the Brazilian-Argentine Safeguards Agency) in Brazil.

In October 1999 the Director General, John Carlson, was invited to present a paper to an IAEA seminar for Asia Pacific countries on IAEA Safeguards for the 21st Century, at Taejon, ROK, and to participate in a discussion by a panel of international experts.

Performance Assessment

Through its regional training course on nuclear safeguards ASNO has contributed strongly to the IAEA's training programs aimed at a significant contribution to improving the technical performance of safeguards authorities in the region.

An important by-product of this work is strengthened relationships with counterparts in the region.

Milestone C2

Highly effective liaison maintained with the IAEA and other safeguards organisations.

Activities

During the reporting period ASNO was active in maintaining and developing its contacts with the IAEA, other safeguards agencies and international safeguards practitioners in several fora, including:

  • the Director General, John Carlson, had extensive discussions with senior IAEA officials (including the Director General, Dr ElBaradei and the Deputy Director General for Safeguards, Dr Goldschmidt) and with counterparts in Euratom and ABACC, as well as with senior officials of several governments and industry representatives;
  • the second and third Technical Coordination Meeting on Integrated Safeguards Development and Implementation Support at the IAEA, Vienna. Here Dr Bragin presented ASNO's report on the application of the State-level safeguards integration concept to Australia's nuclear activities;
  • the International Conference Breaking Ground on a Fissile Material Cut-off Treaty, Munich, and at the Second Russian International Conference on Nuclear Material Protection, Control, and Accounting in Obninsk (Dr Bragin). This latter event was an important opportunity to canvas Australian views on current safeguards and non-proliferation issues directly to a wide audience of Russian and other experts, and it provided insight into current views on the future development of nuclear power in Russia;
  • ESARDA Seminar 'The Evolution of Safeguards: Integrating the New and the Old', Dresden, Germany, where Dr Bragin presented an ASNO paper Integrated Safeguards: Re-examination of Basic Safeguards Implementation Parameters;
  • the Institute of Nuclear Materials Management (INMM) 1999 Annual Meeting where two papers were presented by John Carlson;
  • an International Symposium on Peaceful Uses of Nuclear Energy and Non-Proliferation: A Challenge for the 21st Century, organised by JAIF (Japan Atomic Industrial Forum) where John Carlson presented a paper;
  • bilateral nuclear policy and safeguards meetings, including physical protection issues, with officials and industry in Canada, Euratom, Finland, France, Indonesia, Japan, ROK, Sweden, Switzerland, UK, and US.
Picture: Dr Zarkasi and Mr Carlson

Dr Zarkasi and Mr Carlson

In December 1999 Dr Amin Zarkasi, Director of the Safeguards Centre of Indonesias Nuclear Energy Control Board (BAPETEN), came to ASNO for a familiarisation visit and worked in Canberra for a week.  Subsequently, in February 2000, Mr Carlson visited Jakarta for discussions with the Chairman of BAPETEN, Dr Mohammad Ridwan, and the Chairman of the National Nuclear Energy Agency (BATAN), Mr M. Iyos Subki.  As an adjunct to the Safeguards Regional Training Course, in April 2000 Dr Ridwan, Mr B-K Kim, Director of TCNC (Technical Center for Nuclear Control), the ROK's safeguards authority, and Mr Hiroyoshi Kurihara, Senior Executive Director of NMCC (Nuclear Materials Control Centre), Japan's safeguards implementation agency, visited ASNO for consultations.

Performance Assessment

ASNO has achieved highly effective links with the IAEA and a wide range of safeguards organisations and regional counterparts. Because of these links ASNO is: abreast of developments and incipient problems in safeguards; effective in disseminating Australian thinking on a variety of safeguards and related issues; well able to contribute to resolving issues of safeguards concern; and has been able to ensure that its work program is relevant to the international non-proliferation agenda.

ASNO has been able to give the Government sound advice on safeguards, both internationally and in their domestic context.

Milestone C3

A technical R&D program, supporting development and enhancement of IAEA safeguards, managed efficiently.

Activities

The resources available to the IAEA have never been sufficient to allow all necessary safeguards R&D programs to be conducted in-house. Safeguards is an evolving discipline and ASAP is intended to assist the IAEA develop the equipment and procedures needed if new challenges are to be met in a cost-effective way.

ASAP, coordinated by Dr Bragin, incorporates consultancy work, analysis, and development of equipment and procedures. The program embraces safeguards projects formally agreed directly with the IAEA, and also participation in other efforts to improve safeguards implementation such as the International Remote Monitoring Project (IRMP), coordinated by the US Department of Energy (DOE).

There are important conceptual changes under way in safeguards, arising from the implementation of strengthened safeguards and the development of integrated safeguards concepts. Support Program tasks in support of those developments generally require considerable experience in safeguards. For that reason, consultancy work carried out directly by ASNO officers forms a significant part of ASAP.

This program is not only an important tangible expression of Australias support for IAEA safeguards, but plays a major role in maintaining ASNOs technical expertise and appreciation of the practical issues confronting the safeguards system. Fifteen formal Member State Support Programs are currently in operation, with an aggregate annual budget of over US$20 million. In dollar terms, ASAP is very modestthis year about $77,000 (not including time spent by ASNO staff and the staff of some other Commonwealth agencies on ASAP projects). Nevertheless, the IAEA and other safeguards agencies judge that work done under ASAP is effective.

Details of the various ASAP projects are summarised at Annex G.

Performance Assessment

The results of several projects progressed and completed under the Australian Safeguards Assistance Program have been incorporated in the practices of the IAEA in 1999-2000. The IAEA has expressed appreciation for the valuable and vital contribution provided by the Australian Safeguards Assistance Program to the Agencys safeguards efforts.

Collaborative projects have strengthened our relationship with counterparts, particularly in the United States.

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