An International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) team of experts completed a nuclear security advisory mission in Uruguay, which was carried out at the request of the country’s government, the agency said on Monday.
The scope of the two-week International Physical Protection Advisory Service (IPPAS) mission included the legislative and regulatory framework for the security of radioactive material, as well as the regulatory practices in, and coordination between, national organizations involved in nuclear security. In April 2016, Uruguay ratified the 2005 Amendment to the Convention on the Physical Protection of Nuclear Material (CPPNM) and its incorporation into the country’s nuclear security regime was also included in the scope of the mission.
The team observed that Uruguay has a well-established nuclear security regime that incorporates essential elements of the IAEA's guidance on the fundamentals of nuclear security. The team offered recommendations and suggestions to support Uruguay in further enhancing and sustaining nuclear security. Good practices were identified that can serve as examples to other IAEA Member States to help strengthen their nuclear security activities, the IAEA said.
The team was led by Antonio Perez Baez, Senior Security Inspector at the Spanish Nuclear Safety Council, and included five other experts from Bulgaria, Ukraine, the United States, Venezuela and the IAEA. They met in the capital Montevideo with experts from various ministries and governmental organizations, including the National Defence Interministerial Committee and the National Nuclear Security Committee, as well as the National Regulatory Authority in Radioprotection (ARNR). As part of the mission, the team visited a radioactive waste repository, a hospital, the Technological Laboratory of Uruguay and a private engineering firm that imports and transports radioactive sources. The team also inspected industrial radiography techniques at the state fuel refinery.
“The IPPAS mission team compared Uruguay’s existing practices against relevant international instruments and IAEA nuclear security publications,” said Muhammad Khaliq, Head of Nuclear Security of Materials and Facilities Section of the IAEA’s Division of Nuclear Security, during the closing of the mission. “By inviting this review mission, the government of Uruguay has demonstrated its commitment to strengthening the national nuclear security regime which will benefit the global nuclear security community”.
“Strengthening nuclear security is a continuous process and the advice provided by the review team will enable Uruguay to refine the steps we must take for further improvement,” said Walter Cabral, Director of ARNR. “Uruguay looks forward to implementing the team’s recommendations and suggestions in a timely manner and to strengthen nuclear security on the international level in close cooperation with the IAEA.”
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