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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

Annex G ASAP

Australian Safeguards Assistance Program

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. It has participated in an international exercise for the measurement of I-129 (a long-lived fission product) in test samples prepared in the US, with good results. ASNO has supplemented the funding of this work to allow ANSTO to construct a new beam-line facility for uranium and plutonium and complete the R&D needed to perfect its analytical techniques.

Application of the State-level Integration Concept on Fuel Cycles Under Safeguards This program of work has assisted the IAEA to determine exactlyhow the current safeguards system can be strengthened and made more cost-effective by integrating safeguards measures (INFCIRC/153) with those implemented under the Additional Protocol (INFCIRC/540). Under this task, six IAEA non-nuclear-weapon States, including Australia, each developed integrated safeguards approaches for their own particular fuel cycles. The intention is to derive generic guidance on how integrated safeguards schemes should be designed from a study of specific real cases.

Re-Examination of Basic Safeguards Implementation Parameters The IAEA has acknowledged the need, in parallel with the development of strengthened and integrated safeguards concepts, to re-examine certain basic parameters used in safeguards, such as timeliness goals, significant quantities, and the classification of nuclear material for safeguards purposes. ASNO has prepared papers on timeliness goals and the categorisation of nuclear material, which have been used by the IAEA and formed an important input to SAGSI's deliberations on these subjects. Additional papers relating to other verification parameters have been drafted and will be submitted to the IAEA in the next reporting period. The results of these studies are used by the IAEA to directly support efforts to develop and implement integrated safeguards.

Expansion of the Physical Model The document known as the Physical Model was developed for the IAEA by a panel of international experts (including ASNO staff) in support of the Agency's improved analysis of information in the context of strengthened safeguards. It was an attempt to identify, describe and characterise every known technology and process for carrying out each step necessary for the acquisition of weapons-useable fissile material. As developed, the Physical Model is a living document subject to periodic review and update. ASNO has agreed to contribute to the project by providing support in the area of hot cells and R&D activities. The task results will be incorporated into the Physical Model as integral parts of the document and be used by safeguards analysts and inspectors as technical tools in the enhanced information analysis in the context of strengthened and integrated safeguards.

Support for Information Review and Evaluation Since 1997, ASNO has undertaken for the IAEA a number of consultancy subtasks in support of the implementation of strengthened safeguards. Activity for the reporting period is set out below.

  • To evaluate information on mining and milling of uranium for safeguards purposes. This task seeks to: determine the circumstances under which the IAEA might undertake complementary access to a uranium mining/milling site; what verification activities would be applicable; and how declared information about mining/milling activities would contribute to an assessment on undeclared activities.
  • To develop logic trees designed to evaluate proliferation pathways.   This task requires the application of techniques used in safety and reliability analysis to the acquisition of nuclear material for weapons purposes. The technique generates a complete set of proliferation strategies, including those that require diversion of safeguarded nuclear material and those that make use only of activities outside safeguards. It allows the analyst to see easily where classical safeguards measures and safeguards-strengthening measures are complementary and where they are redundant. This task is a completed sub-task of a larger task.
  • To evaluate the ways in which technology transfers (both within and outside the internationally established export control regimes) contribute to clandestine weapon programs.   Under this subtask, the routes for transfer of technology needed to establish an undeclared capability for nuclear weapon production are being studied.
  • Provide assistance in the use of the scientific literature. The IAEA has established a small international group of experts (including an ASNO officer) to provide assistance and guidance in the effective use of scientific literature for safeguards purposes.
  • Provide assistance in the collection and handling of open source information. Under this subtask, ASNO assisted the IAEA in the establishment of logical mechanisms (search trees) for searching the Agencys databases of open-source literature for potentially proliferation-relevant items. This task is complete. IAEA analysts are using the search trees routinely.

Installation and Demonstration of Reactor Power Monitors at the HIFAR Reactor This task requires the installation and demonstration of two categories of power monitor at ANSTOs HIFAR research reactor, the purpose of which is to detect operation of the reactor at a power higher than declared and to detect undeclared shutdowns. Both these activities could be linked to the production of plutonium for potential use in a nuclear weapons program or associated R&D. This work has been progressed in collaboration with the IAEA, but will not be completed until 2001.

Criteria for Evaluating Information Technology Security for Safeguards Equipment Systems Unattended safeguards equipment in the field requires data authentication to provide a high level of assurance that the generated safeguards data are secure from unauthorised access and tampering. Under various support programs, the IAEA has organised assessments of the vulnerability of new authentication systems, normally in countries other than those where the authentication system was developed or is intended to be used. The Defence Signals Directorate (DSD), as Australia's expert in this area, is contributing to the development of the new standardised criteria for the IAEA.

Tasks Completed During 1999-2000

Consultantto coordinate the implementation of digital image surveillance The IAEA is deploying about 400 digital surveillance camera systems to replace the relatively unreliable analog systems currently in use. The consultant coordinated activities such as acceptance testing, site surveys, commissioning systems in the field, and maintenance. An Australian expert in digital surveillance systems was seconded to the Agency in Vienna for this purpose.

Collaboration with other countries

ASNO has an active and growing safeguards R&D collaboration program with US research laboratories, under an ASNO/DOE agreement first concluded in 1992 and renewed in September 1998. Several projects have been proposed during the year and work on formalising these projects is continuing.

In collaboration with the DOE, SNL and the IAEA, ASNO is designing a remote monitoring system for the materials balance area of the HIFAR research reactor. The purpose of this is to save IAEA inspection resources by reducing the number of routine inspections at HIFAR each year from four to one, with an additional unannounced inspection once per year. The equipment will be provided by SNL and it is planned that the system will go into routine safeguards use in 2001/2002. This remote monitoring system will also be an important feature of the new integrated safeguards approach proposed for Australia.

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