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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

Regional Training Course on National Safeguards Systems

International safeguards should be understood as a mechanism which allows a State Party to a safeguards agreement to work with the IAEA to assure the States neighbours, and the international community generally, that it is in compliance with its non-proliferation commitments. This is an important international confidence building measure and so directly benefits the inspected State.

Because of these benefits Australias overseas development aid program funded a regional training course on national safeguards systems in April 2000. This activity meshed well with Australias broader non-proliferation objectives. In addition to its international commitments, each State must exercise effective control over nuclear material for domestic reasons. The national infrastructure required for effective and efficient IAEA safeguards is essentially the same as that needed to exercise effective national control of nuclear material and is commonly known as the State System of Accounting for and Control of Nuclear Material (SSAC).

In 1985 Japan and Australia reached an informal understanding with the IAEA that they would offer regional courses (for participants from the IAEAs Far East and Southeast Asia and Pacific Regions) in alternate years, or as required by the Agency. Since then Japan has hosted regional courses in 1985, 1987, 1991 and 1995 and Australia has hosted courses in 1986, 1989 and 1994, and now most recently in March/April 2000.

Under long-standing arrangements for the conduct of these courses, the host country provides airfares to and from the course location, accommodation and a subsistence allowance for participants from developing countries, for IAEA lecturers, and for Guest Lecturers (senior officers of national and regional safeguards systems within the region and beyond). The host also provides training facilities, including classrooms, a laboratory for nuclear materials measurement practicals, and access to a real nuclear facility (the HIFAR reactor in our case) for other exercises. Lecturers and exercise coordinators from the host country make a substantial contribution.

ASNO obtained funding of about $250,000 from the Australian Agency for International Development (AusAID). ASNO also entered into an arrangement with ANSTOunder which the first half of the course would be conducted at ANSTOs training facilities at Lucas Heights. The course syllabus was designed collaboratively by ASNO and the IAEA Section for Safeguards Training. ASNO included several new elements, mainly covering strengthened safeguards and the Additional Protocol, but also some items that the IAEA had found useful in similar courses in other countries.

The course was conducted from 27 March to 14 April 2000, the first half at Lucas Heights and the second half in Canberra. Participants came from several regional countries: one from Cambodia, two from China, three from Indonesia, one from Japan, two from the Republic of Korea, two from Malaysia, one from the Philippines, one from Thailand and two from Vietnam (participants from industrialised countries were self-funded). There were six students from Australia.

Picture: Panel discussion at regional training course. (left to rightDrMarzo, ABACC, MrKim, TCNC, DrRidwan, BAPETEN, MrCarlson, ASNO, MrKurihara, NMCC and MrNackaerts, Euratom Safeguards Office)

Panel discussion at the regional training course. (left to rightDr Marzo, ABACC, Mr Kim, TCNC, Dr Ridwan, BAPETEN, Mr Carlson, ASNO, Mr Kurihara, NMCC and Mr Nackaerts, Euratom Safeguards Office)

In addition, Australia invited two participants from the Democratic Peoples Republic of Korea (DPRK). Since the DPRK is not a member of the IAEA, their representatives were formally observers, although they received exactly the same training as everybody else. So we had 23 participants from eleven countries. Lecturers came from ABACC (the Brazilian/Argentine Safeguards Agency), Euratom, Indonesia, Japan (2), the Republic of Korea, the IAEA (5), and Australia (11from ASNO, ANSTO, CSIRO Energy Technology and DFATs Nuclear Policy Branch).

Both the participants and the IAEA acknowledged the course as very successful. Specifically, Dr Pierre Goldschmidt, the IAEA's Deputy Director General for Safeguards, wrote in a letter thanking ASNO for its efforts, the course was organised in a highly professional manner and was truly successful.

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