NNSA Renews International Nuclear Safeguards Cooperation With Australia for Another Decade

Press Release
Sep 15, 2008

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- The National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) and the Australian Safeguards and Nonproliferation Office (ASNO) today announced the 10-year extension of the arrangement for cooperation on international nuclear safeguards.  NNSA and ASNO have collaborated on a number of safeguards projects over the past 16 years, including helping countries in Southeast Asia implement the Additional Protocol, which gives the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) authorities and tools for verifying not just a state's declared nuclear program, but also its undeclared and suspect activities.

"Australia is a key partner in international safeguards and nonproliferation.  We are excited about continuing this mutually beneficial relationship as NNSA launches its Next Generation Safeguards Initiative," said William Tobey, deputy administrator for defense nuclear nonproliferation.  "This is another step in our effort to strengthen nuclear safeguards worldwide to help ensure the safe, secure and peaceful implementation of civil nuclear energy programs and prevent proliferation."

Today's agreement builds on the successful partnership between the United States and Australia on issues of international safeguards and nonproliferation policy that dates back to 1992.  Australia and the United States will work together under the Next Generation Safeguards Initiative to recommend policies to strengthen the international nonproliferation regime, develop more efficient and effective safeguards technologies to prevent nuclear proliferation, and help to establish safeguards infrastructure in aspiring nuclear states.  These activities will take place under the safeguards cooperation arrangement that was originally signed in 1998.

NNSA hosted an international meeting on next generation nuclear safeguards in Washington, D.C., last week that brought together experts from 14 countries and the International Atomic Energy Agency to examine challenges to the safeguards systems and to begin outlining an agenda for cooperation to meet anticipated safeguards needs.

Established by Congress in 2000, NNSA is a separately organized agency within the U.S. Department of Energy responsible for enhancing national security through the military application of nuclear science. NNSA maintains and enhances the safety, security, reliability and performance of the U.S. nuclear weapons stockpile without nuclear 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 United States and abroad.

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