International agreement reduces risk of terror attack on nuclear plants

ABU DHABI // The UAE’s efforts to ensure a nuclear industry secure from threats of terrorism will become legally binding around the world when an agreement takes effect on Sunday. An amendment to the Convention on the Physical Protection of Nuclear Material will make countries responsible for protecting nuclear plants and material on their soil. […]

ABU DHABI // The UAE’s efforts to ensure a nuclear industry secure from threats of terrorism will become legally binding around the world when an agreement takes effect on Sunday.

An amendment to the Convention on the Physical Protection of Nuclear Material will make countries responsible for protecting nuclear plants and material on their soil.

The original convention applied only to materials in international transit, while the amendment applies to domestic facilities and materials.

“UAE nuclear security regulations and processes have already taken into consideration the obligations under the amended convention, even before it came into force,” said Hamad Alkaabi, Ambassador to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)

“The UAE nuclear power plant construction licences, which were issued by the Federal Authority for Nuclear Regulation, took into consideration nuclear security measures.

“Measures and practices implemented in the UAE in the nuclear sector are consistent with best practices internationally.”

Nuclear experts say the amended agreement is crucial to prevent nuclear terrorism.

“The UAE has an effective nuclear safety and security regulatory establishment,” said William Tobey, senior fellow at the Belfer Centre for Science and International Affairs at Harvard University. “But the amended convention will make the requirement for such measures nearly universal, making all nations in the world safer.”

Mr Alkaabi said the new convention was “the only international, legally binding undertaking in the area of physical protection of nuclear material”.

“It establishes measures related to the prevention, detection and punishment of offences.

“Its entry into force is an important step and it also provides for expanded cooperation between and among states regarding rapid measures to locate and recover stolen or smuggled nuclear material, mitigate any radiological consequences of sabotage and prevent any combat-related offences.”

Yukiya Amano, director general of the IAEA, said: “This is an important day for efforts to strengthen nuclear security around the world.” The UAE ratified the convention in 2003 and the amendment in 2009.

cmalek@thenational.ae

Source: uae news

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