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ASNO supports nuclear and radiological security in the Indo-Pacific

International relations

The equitable transfer of knowledge & skills is essential to responding to our shared nuclear security challenges & opportunities.

The Australian Government, via the Australian Safeguards and Non-Proliferation Office (ASNO) hosted an International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) workshop on nuclear security and how it contributes to peaceful uses of nuclear and radiological technology in Melbourne last week.

Together the 40 participants, from 20 countries worked on collectively understanding and improving nuclear security in the Indo-Pacific. The workshop was guided by the nuclear security needs of Indo-Pacific Island countries and to raise awareness of the Integrated Nuclear Security Sustainability Plan (INSSP) mechanism that the IAEA offers.

After a week of case studies, scenario-based exercises, a site visit to Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Agency (ARPANSA)'s facilities and specialised laboratories and sharing of experiences in developing nuclear security capabilities, participants emerged with greater clarity on what may work for them, and a collective understanding on the challenges in nuclear security.

ASNO Director General Dr Geoffrey Shaw said, strengthening nuclear security within Australia and the region is a core pillar of ASNO's work.

'As the government agency responsible for implementing Australia's nuclear security treaty obligations, we work with multiple international partners to strengthen nuclear and radiological security culture in Australia, the Indo-Pacific region, and the globe. And this has never been more important.' Dr Shaw said.

'This week, alongside the IAEA, we were able to bring together people from 20 countries who graciously shared their diverse experiences and perspectives, current approaches, and strong commitment to nuclear security. This means we are all in a better place to navigate the challenges and uncertainties that could impact nuclear security.

It means we are all better prepared for today and the future.'

ARPANSA's Chief Executive Officer, Dr Gillian Hirth, said the workshop identified actions required to ensure a nation's nuclear and radiological security regime is effective and sustainable.

'As the Australian Government's primary authority on radiation protection and nuclear safety, we support international efforts to coordinate nuclear safety and security,' Dr Hirth said.

'It was a pleasure to welcome participants to tour our laboratories and learn more about ARPANSA's role in protecting people and the environment from the harmful effects of radiation.

'ARPANSA works closely with ASNO and the IAEA to promote national and international policies and practices that support nuclear and radiological security in our region and more broadly.'

The workshop is a key component of the IAEA nuclear security program, which promotes a strong and sustainable global nuclear safety and security framework, working to protect people, society and the environment from the harmful effects of ionizing radiation. Australia will continue to work with the IAEA and its other member states and align our activities and regulations with international best practice.

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