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ONR delegation in Vienna for international safeguards symposium

A senior delegation from the Office for Nuclear Regulation (ONR) this week attended the quadrennial Symposium on International Safeguards in Vienna.

Nuclear safeguards are measures to verify that countries comply with international obligations not to use nuclear materials from civil nuclear programmes for non-peaceful purposes.

ONR’s safeguards function enables the UK to meet its international safeguards obligations and also implements domestic safeguards legislation.

The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) holds a symposium on safeguards every four years to bring together global stakeholders involved in this crucial part of the non-proliferation regime.

The meeting allows safeguards state regulatory authorities, industry organisations and other agencies to identify challenges and opportunities for IAEA safeguards and to build and bolster key working partnerships.

The ONR delegation was led by Paul Fyfe, ONR’s Director of Regulation for ONR’s CNSS Division, and it comes almost two years since the UK’s independent nuclear regulator officially became the state regulatory authority for nuclear safeguards after the UK exit from the European Atomic Energy Community (EURATOM).

The aim of this year’s symposium is to reflect on recent international safeguards achievements, examine any lessons to be learnt, anticipate nuclear energy’s role in addressing global challenges in relation to safeguards and to inspire future work to ensure the safeguards system is well prepared for continued success.

During the past year, under the UK’s Voluntary Offer Agreement (VOA) with the IAEA, the UK facilitated IAEA safeguards inspections and site visits at facilities in Britain with significant success.

And as part of our domestic safeguards regime, ONR targeted our inspection and assessment activities across the major safeguards dutyholders, completing several assessments of dutyholders’ accountancy and control plans and basic technical characteristics documents.

During the last two years, ONR implemented a robust nuclear material accountancy system, which has enabled it to analyse and process hundreds of nuclear material accounting reports from across the civil nuclear estate and submit these to the IAEA in accordance with the UK-IAEA safeguards agreements.