The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Symposium on International Safeguards, which takes place every four years in Vienna, Austria, began Monday October 20 with a plenary session featuring remarks from IAEA Director General Yukiya Amano and a keynote address by Department of Energy / National Nuclear Security Administration (DOE/NNSA) Assistant Deputy Administrator for Nonproliferation and International Security Kasia Mendelsohn.
In her remarks to some 700 symposium participants, Ms. Mendelsohn complimented the IAEA for its efforts to implement strengthened safeguards to address ever-increasing challenges to the nonproliferation regime. “More than ever,” she stressed, “IAEA safeguards are an essential element of the nuclear nonproliferation regime and of international efforts to verify the peaceful uses of atomic energy.” Mendelsohn thanked the Secretariat for going to “extraordinary lengths over the last year to explain how safeguards implementation has evolved, particularly at the level of the state as a whole.”
While discussing the challenges posed by the greater availability of proliferation-sensitive information and the growing number of countries with nuclear activities, she encouraged symposium participants to consider and identify options to help the IAEA, as appropriate, find the best possible technologies, procedures, and practices for safeguards implementation. She emphasized that “nuclear nonproliferation is a global challenge and the entire global community has a major stake in maintaining the effectiveness and credibility of the international safeguards system.”
Noting that “the United States has long considered the international safeguards system to be a central pillar of the nuclear nonproliferation regime’s strategy for preventing the spread of nuclear weapons,” Mendelsohn talked in detail about U.S. contributions to the IAEA safeguards system, including the U.S. Support Program (USSP) for IAEA Safeguards and DOE/NNSA’s Next Generation Safeguards Initiative (NGSI).
In this context, she summed up her remarks by urging the assembled experts at the symposium to work together “to make real progress on promoting peaceful uses of nuclear energy, strengthening safeguards, and preventing proliferation.”
The Symposium featured more than 300 presentations, including 43 from DOE/NNSA headquarters and the National Laboratories. DOE/NNSA representatives also chaired or co-chaired seven technical sessions featuring topics such as nondestructive assay (NDA) measurements, training and education in nuclear nonproliferation and safeguards, new trends in the application of statistical methods for safeguards, challenges in spent fuel verification, and safeguards by design.
Click here to visit the 2014 IAEA Safeguards Symposium website, which includes a 6-minute video of conference highlights.