The European Commission and IAEA are today celebrating 25 years of co-operation in nuclear safeguards (see IP/06/1323). This document gives some detail about a few of the on-going joint projects of the two organisations.
Rokkasho Reprocessing Plant (RRP), Japan
The IAEA and the Japanese Nuclear Material Control Centre (NMCC) will jointly operate an onsite laboratory for accountancy verification measurements at the newly constructed Rokkasho Reprocessing Plant (RRP) in Japan. This analytical laboratory is the third large-scale facility of this type in the world after Sellafield and La Hague in Europe. DG JRC designed and has operated analytical laboratories on the La Hague and Sellafield sites on behalf of the European Commission for the past 6 years. The analyses performed allow Euratom inspectors to check - independently of the plant operator - the fissile material stream and inventory in these facilities. DG JRC's Institute for Reference Materials and Measurements (Geel, Belgium) provides the necessary reference materials for the calibration and verification of results in-line with international accountancy standards. DG JRC also supports the operator with a monitoring system for near-real-time analysis of the chemical process areas of the facility. This unique know-how will be shared with the IAEA for use at Rokkasho.
DG JRC has also developed the first world-wide automated system for Inspectors to verify that a complex installation such as the Rokkasho Reprocessing Plant has been built according to the declared design. This 3D technology and software can detect changes introduced within the plant to millimetre accuracy and has since been successfully tested by other Safeguards laboratories.
Illicit trafficking: Towards a more globalised approach
DG JRC's Institute for the Protection and Security of the Citizen (Ispra, Italy) has developed a number of advanced tools such as automatic intelligence gathering and risk analysis for containerised cargo itineraries world-wide. These capabilities have been successfully tested by anti-fraud professionals and are now being adapted to serve security needs, including counter-proliferation.
DG JRC's Institute for Transuranium Elements (Karlsruhe, Germany) is one of the lead institutes of the Nuclear Smuggling International Technical Working Group, established by the G8 Summit on Nuclear Safety and Security. It has helped to implement a response action plan for seizures of illicit nuclear and radioactive materials in many new EU Member States and Eastern European countries.
This response action plan is now being taken over by the IAEA and further refinements are currently being introduced by a joint task force involving the IAEA, DG JRC, and other Member States.
Recently, the IAEA, DG JRC and the US Nuclear National Security Administration (NNSA) decided to work together within an informal Working Group on border monitoring, which already met twice at the IAEA in Vienna, Austria and once at DG JRC facilities in Ispra, Italy.
Training the next generation of IAEA Inspectors
DG JRC has a proven track record in providing the IAEA with high-quality training programmes. Ensuring that a State abides by its non-proliferation commitments is becoming increasingly dependent on an Inspector's knowledge of novel detection techniques and equipment, more accurate analyses and the ability to handle more complex information and data.
DG JRC has been requested by the IAEA to continue its training programmes to help ensure that its Inspectors are well-equipped to accomplish their on-site tasks and to draw appropriate Safeguards conclusions. The training programme covers well-established Safeguards instruments and methods as well as new generation of methodologies aimed at the detection of undeclared activities.
A new DG JRC Safeguards training course has recently been agreed for the IAEA. This course will be carried out in 2007 and is aimed at enhancing the observation and investigative skills of IAEA Inspectors in view of the detection of undeclared materials and activities.
Similarly, it has recently been decided that facilities established jointly by DG JRC and the US Department of Energy in Obninsk, Russia can be used by the IAEA to train its Inspectors on Russian design installations / reactors.
Activities of DG Joint Research Centre and copies of all event presentations, speeches, picture archives etc are available on:
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