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NNSA Administrator Delivers Opening Remarks at Third International Meeting on Next Generation Nuclear Safeguards

WASHINGTON, D.C. – National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) Administrator Thomas D’Agostino today delivered opening remarks at the third annual meeting of NNSA’s Next Generation Safeguards Initiative (NGSI). 

The meeting – attended by safeguards and nonproliferation experts from 13 countries, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), the European Atomic Energy Agency (Euratom), and Brazil-Argentine Agency for Accounting and Control of Nuclear Materials (ABACC) – is part of NNSA’s effort to work with our international partners to strengthen nuclear safeguards intended to ensure the safe, secure and peaceful implementation of civil nuclear energy programs.

This year’s conference will focuses on the “Safeguards by Design” concept. By incorporating safeguard requirements into the design of nuclear facilities, phase alongside safety and security considerations, the “Safeguards by Design” concept enables the most effective and efficient use of limited safeguards resources.

The following are excerpts from Administrator D’Agostino’s speech:

•    ON INTERNATIONAL COOPERATION TO STRENGHTEN SAFEGUARDS: “In his landmark nuclear security speech in Prague last year, President Obama made clear that we must work together to strengthen the international safeguards system. We must modernize the technology we use, improve the training and increase the resources we devote to ensuring that nations are not diverting nuclear materials, technology and know-how from peaceful programs to weapons programs.”

•    ON THE FUTURE OF CIVIL NUCLEAR ENERGY: “As Secretary Chu has made it clear, nuclear power is very likely to play a role in the clean energy revolution of tomorrow. Many of the countries represented here today have already taken steps down this path. As we work to see nuclear power develop as a source of clean, carbon free energy, we must also work together to ensure that greater reliance on nuclear energy does not worsen the threat posed by the proliferation of nuclear weapons and materials.”

•    ON RECRUITING THE NEXT GENERATION OF SAFEGUARDS EXPERTS: “In order to attract the best and brightest professionals to the nonproliferation and safeguards fields, NNSA is working with 9 universities to develop new coursework on international safeguards and nonproliferation. We are sponsoring internships at our national laboratories for 136 students from 64 universities, and are launching a new graduate fellowship program to strengthen national laboratory and university partnerships. We hope that these and other efforts to attract the next generation of safeguards professionals will encourage other countries and organizations to promote the kind of international cooperation we will need to keep pace with emerging safeguards challenges.”

•    ON SAFEGUARDS BY DESIGN: “NNSA is working with the IAEA to advance and institutionalize Safeguards by Design so that international safeguards measures are more fully integrated into new nuclear facilities, along with safety and security measures from the outset of the design process. This will help operators avoid costly and time-consuming redesign efforts, save the IAEA time, money and effort, and ultimately enhance the effectiveness and efficiency of safeguards implementation.”

The full text, as prepared for delivery, is posted here.

For a fact sheet on NNSA’s Next Generation Safeguards Initiative, click here.

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Established by Congress in 2000, NNSA is a semi-autonomous agency within the U.S. Department of Energy responsible for enhancing national security through the military application of nuclear science in the nation’s national security enterprise. NNSA maintains and enhances the safety, security, reliability, and performance of the U.S. nuclear weapons stockpile without nuclear testing; reduces the global danger from weapons of mass destruction; provides the U.S. Navy with safe and effective nuclear propulsion; and responds to nuclear and radiological emergencies in the U.S. and abroad.