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Media release

18 July 2008

Australia ratifies strengthened nuclear security treaty

Australia has adopted the strongest international standards for the security of nuclear material and facilities by ratifying an Amendment to the Convention on the Physical Protection of Nuclear Material.

The instrument of ratification was lodged with the International Atomic Energy Agency in Vienna yesterday.

The Convention sets out arrangements and standards for the security of nuclear material in international transport.

The Amendment substantially strengthens security requirements for nuclear material and extends the existing provisions of the Convention to cover nuclear facilities and nuclear material in domestic use, storage and transport.

It also requires nations which are party to the Convention to criminalise the trafficking of nuclear material and the sabotage of nuclear facilities.

Nations which are party to the Convention must apply thorough and systematic measures to protect their domestic nuclear activities against criminal or terrorist attack, and cooperate to locate and recover stolen or smuggled nuclear material, as well as mitigate any radiological consequences of sabotage.

Australia has for some years protected nuclear material and facilities in line with the higher standards set out in the Amendment.

The Australian Parliament enacted legislation to enable full legal compliance with the Amendment in 2007.

Australia looks forward to cooperating with all nations in the Asia-Pacific in adopting these new standards as a means of enhancing regional security.

Of the 136 nations which are party to the Convention, Australia is the 17th to ratify the Amendment.

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