Friday, July 08, 2005

Protecting nuclear material

The IAEA takes an important step:
ElBaradei, whose Vienna-based agency acts as the UN nuclear nonproliferation watchdog, said the agreement reached in the Austrian capital over five days demonstrates "a global commitment to remedy weaknesses in our nuclear security regime."

The Convention of the Physical Protection of Nuclear Material originally obligated the 112 countries that have accepted it to protect nuclear material during international transport. The amended version expands such protection to materials at nuclear facilities, in domestic storage and during domestic transport or use.

I'm curious about the definitions involved: will "storage" or "use" include the handling of nuclear material after use in a nuclear facility? If not, that too seems like a rather important priority. But even if it doesn't go as far as it could, the IAEA is headed in the right direction with this one.

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