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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 B Bilateral Safeguards

Development and implementation of bilateral safeguards measures that ensure nuclear material and items exported from Australia remain in exclusively peaceful use.

Milestone B1

Internationally agreed standards for physical protection of nuclear material are applied to all AONM.

Activities

ASNO continued its practice of requiring exporters to adopt specific procedures to ensure appropriate levels of physical protection for shipments of uranium ore concentrates (UOC) from Australia to the port of unloading overseas. These procedures included checking on the physical condition of the containers and verifying the container and seal numbers at each port of unloading or transhipment.

ASNO is involved in the development of international standards for physical protection of nuclear material, and uses suitable opportunities to promote their universal adoption. For example, from 15-19 November 1999, at the IAEA in Vienna, Mr John Bellinger, Head, Nuclear Materials Accountancy and Control (NMAC) Section, participated in an Informal Open-Ended Experts Meeting to discuss whether there is a need to revise the Convention on the Physical Protection of Nuclear Material (CPPNM). In order to reach a decision on this, the Experts Meeting established a Working Group which met from 19-26 February and 26-30 June 2000. Mr Bellinger participated in each of these Working Group meetings and Mr Andrew Leask also attended the June meeting. The Experts intend to finalise their deliberations by April 2001 and then reconvene in plenary in May 2001 to make a final decision on the original question of whether there is a need to revise the CPPNM. ASNO will participate in all stages of this important series of meetings.

Performance Assessment

Reporting by conversion facilities, safeguards authorities and shipping agencies confirms that all AONM shipments from Australia safely reached their destinations. The specified physical protection measures effectively contributed to this outcome.

Milestone B2

AONM in countries with which Australia has concluded nuclear safeguards agreements is accounted for in accordance with procedures and standards prescribed under relevant agreements.

Activities

Exports of Uranium Ore Concentrates (UOC)

Between 1 July 1999 and 30 June 2000 there were 46 shipments of UOC from Australia. These were made by Energy Resources of Australia Ltd (ERA), Ranger Mine, Northern Territory and WMC (Olympic Dam Corporation) Pty Ltd, South Australia. Exports totalled 8,023 tonnes of U3O8 as UOC; export earnings were over $367 million. Further information on Australia's uranium exports is at page 85.

The UOC were shipped to conversion facilities in the UK, the US, France and Canada. ASNO notified each export to the safeguards authorities in relevant countries. In each case, receipt was confirmed to ASNO by those safeguards authorities. ASNO also notified the IAEA of each export. In the case of exports to Canada, notifications were made pursuant to Article 35(a) of Australias NPT safeguards agreement with the IAEA. In the case of exports to nuclear-weapon States, notifications were made under the IAEAs Voluntary Reporting Scheme, and also under the Additional Protocol.

The shippers weight for each consignment was entered on ASNOs record of the relevant countrys inventory of AONM. These weights, subject to amendment by measured Shipper/Receiver Differences, are the basic source data for ASNOs system of accounting for AONM throughout the international nuclear fuel cycle.

Operation of bilateral agreements

Reports from ASNOs counterpart organisations were provided in a timely fashion and in the agreed format which enabled straightforward analysis and reconciliation with ASNOs records.

During May and June 2000, Mr John Bellinger and Nuclear Materials Accountant, Mr Nick Doulgeris, held discussions with ASNOs counterpart organisations in the US, Canada, Japan, the ROK, the UK and Euratom. Accounting figures were reconciled and a range of issues were discussed. Reconciliation of inventories presented few problems. Progress was made in improving the bilateral safeguards system, and there were useful exchanges of experience. As an outcome of bilateral consultations with Euratom in Brussels in November 1999, ASNO and its counterpart the Euratom Safeguards Office (ESO) have established a series of regular meetings which have proved invaluable in understanding ESOs accounting for AONM in the European Community.

Laser enrichment technology

The laser enrichment R&D being undertaken by Silex Systems Limited has produced technology which it is expected will be classified as associated technology under the Safeguards Act in the near future. To enable the technology to be transferred to the US for further development, as envisaged in Silexs agreement with USEC, Australia has concluded a new treaty-level agreement with the US, to ensure the technology is used for exclusively peaceful purposes. This agreement was signed in Washington on 28 October 1999 and entered into force on 24 May 2000.

Performance Assessment

Based on reporting and analysis, ASNO concludes that all AONM is satisfactorily accounted for.

ASNOs counterparts have confirmed receipt of all relevant exports in accordance with the requirements of the bilateral safeguards agreements. In addition, the IAEA provides ASNO with regular acknowledgments of ASNOs notifications of international transfers of nuclear material to and from Australia. The IAEA has confirmed that, as at 14 June 2000 there were no outstanding unconfirmed shipments to Australia (i.e. imports). Similarly, receipt of all of Australias exports up to 13 January 2000 has been confirmed by the IAEAs transit matching system.

As at 30 June 2000 ASNO had satisfactorily accounted for AONM located overseas through, inter alia, the annual reports (made pursuant to bilateral agreements) and other information provided by relevant bilateral treaty partners, namely Canada, Euratom, Finland, France, Japan, ROK, Sweden, Switzerland, the UK and the US. Reports were not provided by Australias other bilateral partners, the Philippines, Egypt, the Russian Federation, Mexico and New Zealand, as there was no AONM in those countries.

Based on the fact that AONM located overseas is satisfactorily accounted for and under IAEA safeguards, and drawing on the IAEA's Safeguards Statement for 1999 (see page 84), ASNO concludes that no AONM has been used for non-peaceful purposes. 

Return to the ASNO Annual Report Index | Output CInternational Safeguards

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