U.S. and Cambodian Nonproliferation Experts Hold Workshop on International Nuclear Safeguards

(Left to right) Ms. Linda H. Hansen, Argonne National Laboratory, U.S. Department of Energy; Mr. Samuel Downing, Political Officer, U.S. Embassy Phnom Penh; Dr. Chan Sodavath, Deputy Director General, Ministry of Mines and Energy; Mr. John Lepingwell, Senior Inspector for State-Level Coordination, I
Released on April 28, 2016

An international workshop on Nuclear Safeguards and the Additional Protocol, sponsored by the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Nuclear Security Administration (DOE/NNSA), concluded today at the Sunway Hotel.  The event was hosted by the Cambodian Ministry of Mines and Energy (MME) and included the participation of MME Deputy Director General H.E. Dr. Chan Sodovath, as well as representatives of the U.S. Department of Energy, the International Atomic Energy Agency, and the U.S. Embassy in Cambodia.

As noted by Anne Harrington, Deputy Administrator for Defense Nuclear Nonproliferation in the DOE/NNSA, “The United States has long considered the international safeguards system to be a central pillar of the nuclear nonproliferation regime’s strategy for preventing the spread of nuclear weapons.  President Obama re-emphasized the importance of safeguards in his 2009 Prague speech, when he called for ‘more resources and authority’ for international inspections.  The DOE/NNSA cooperates with more than 30 countries in this regard, assisting state and regional authorities establish effective systems of nuclear accounting and control.”

During the workshop, experts from the DOE/NNSA and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) delivered presentations and conducted interactive exercises designed to provide participants information to prepare declarations on international nuclear safeguards, which are technical measures applied by the IAEA to verify that a country’s nuclear material is accounted for and not diverted for non-peaceful activities.  Discussions during the event also will cover ways to implement the Additional Protocol (AP), an added voluntary international nuclear safeguards measure that provides the IAEA expanded rights to access information and sites, and an overview of Complementary Access, an important component of the AP.

During closing remarks, U.S. Embassy Political Officer Samuel Downing congratulated Cambodia on entering the AP into force on April 23, 2015 as part of its commitment to nuclear nonproliferation.  He also noted the importance of continued engagement on this topic as it contributes to understanding the technical elements of the AP that could help Cambodia’s implementation.  Entering the AP into force is an important milestone for IAEA Member States, and workshops focused on the AP help to ensure that even states such as Cambodia – with small amounts of nuclear material – develop the necessary infrastructure and safeguards-supporting capacity to fulfill their responsibilities.  To date, 147 countries have signed the AP and 126 of those states have entered it into force.

Established by Congress in 2000, the NNSA is a semi-autonomous agency within the U.S. Department of Energy responsible for enhancing national security through the military application of nuclear science.  The NNSA maintains the safety, security, and effectiveness of the U.S. nuclear weapons stockpile without nuclear explosive testing; works to reduce global danger from weapons of mass destruction; provides the U.S. Navy with safe and effective nuclear propulsion; and responds to nuclear and radiological emergencies in the U.S. and abroad.  Please visit www.nnsa.energy.gov for more information.