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Experts seek to keep atomic energy peaceful at UN safeguards meeting in Vienna

Experts seek to keep atomic energy peaceful at UN safeguards meeting in Vienna

The IAEA has about 245 inspectors who go on about 2,000 missions each year to verify over 1,100 nuclear facilities
Over 700 experts gathered in Vienna today to determine how best the United Nation’s nuclear watchdog can prevent nuclear materials from being turned into weapons while preserving States’ abilities to benefit from the peaceful uses of nuclear energy.

The Symposium on International Safeguards at the headquarters of the UN International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) brings together representatives of member states, the nuclear industry and members of the broader non-proliferation community for five days of meetings at the IAEA’s headquarters in Austria.

Most countries around the world use nuclear techniques for a variety of peaceful purposes, the IAEA said in a press release today.

To ensure that these nuclear programmes are not misused the IAEA has developed a system of Safeguards Agreements, with around 170 states submitting nuclear materials, facilities and activities to the scrutiny of the IAEA’s inspectors.

The agency currently inspects over 900 nuclear facilities, performing around 2,000 inspections in 2009.

With global interest in nuclear power generation increasing, the demands on the IAEA will inevitably rise, offering both challenges and opportunities to the IAEA and its Member States, the agency stated.

Topics to be addressed during the 2010 Symposium include support to the global nuclear non-proliferation regime, strengthening international safeguards, the role of non-state actors and covert trade networks, and the globalisation of nuclear information and technology.