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Twenty-five participants from the Lao Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ministry of Science and Technology and other key stakeholder organizations attended the event.
WASHINGTON – The U.S. Department of Energy’s National Nuclear Security Administration (DOE/NNSA) sponsored the Fundamentals of Nuclear Safeguards and the Additional Protocol workshop in Vientiane, Laos. The Department of International Organizations (IO), Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Lao People’s Democratic Republic (PDR) hosted the event. The workshop was DOE/NNSA’s first safeguards engagement held in Laos. DOE/NNSA engagement activities such as this workshop help international partners build capacity to carry out their respective safeguards responsibilities, which is a critical part of the international nuclear safeguards system. Twenty-five participants from the Lao Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ministry of Science and Technology and other key stakeholder organizations attended the event.
U.S. Deputy Chief of Mission (DCM) Michael Kleine from the U.S. Embassy in Laos opened the event. Experts from DOE/NNSA, Argonne National Laboratory, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) delivered presentations and conducted interactive exercises designed to introduce participants to international nuclear safeguards, which are technical measures applied by the IAEA to independently and objectively verify that a country’s nuclear material is accounted for and not diverted for non-peaceful activities. Discussions during the event also covered implementation of the Additional Protocol (AP), which is a supplement to existing safeguards agreements that provide the IAEA additional information and access.
About the event, DOE/NNSA’s Deputy Administrator for Defense Nuclear Nonproliferation Anne Harrington remarked, “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. DOE/NNSA cooperates with over 30 countries in this regard, assisting state and regional authorities establish effective systems of nuclear accounting and control.
During his welcoming remarks, DCM Kleine congratulated Lao PDR on signing the AP in November 2014 as a clear demonstration of its commitment to nuclear nonproliferation. He also noted the importance of continued engagement on this topic to strengthen understanding of the technical elements of the AP that could help Lao PDR pursue ratification. Signing and ratifying the AP is an important milestone for IAEA Member States; workshops focused on the AP help to ensure that even states with little nuclear material and which have a Small Quantities Protocol in force such as Lao PDR, develop the necessary infrastructure and safeguards capacity to fulfill their AP responsibilities. To date, 146 countries have signed the AP with 126 having ratified and entered it into force.
Experts from DOE/NNSA, the national laboratories, and the International Atomic Energy Agency delivered presentations and conducted interactive exercises designed to introduce participants to international nuclear safeguards
The safeguards are technical measures applied by the IAEA to independently and objectively verify that a country’s nuclear material is accounted for and not diverted for non-peaceful activities