Significant improvements in global protection of nuclear material against theft and sabotage

On 8 May 2016 the comprehensive amendment of the international Convention on the Physical Protection of Nuclear Material and Nuclear Facilities enters into force. In future the convention, which previously related to the protection of nuclear material during transport, will also apply to nuclear installations. More than one hundred states have now signed the amendment and it can therefore enter into force.

Federal Environment Minister Barbara Hendricks commented: "This amendment significantly enhances the only legally binding international instrument for the effective protection of nuclear material. The convention is thus a vital component in reducing the global risk of terror attacks on nuclear facilities."

The Federal Republic of Germany participated in the adoption of the international Convention on the Physical Protection of Nuclear Material on 26 October 1979. This convention governs the protection of nuclear transports against theft and is considered one of the first milestones towards an internationally binding minimum standard for such transports. The convention lays down the obligations and responsibilities of the contracting parties and regulates cooperation and mutual assistance.

The amendment comprehensively extends the area of application and purpose of the convention. Germany actively supported the amendment and signed up to the extended convention as early as 2008. As well as protecting nuclear material used for peaceful purposes against theft, contracting parties now also commit to using their national systems to protect nuclear material against sabotage and to mitigate or minimise the radiological consequences of sabotage. The catalogue of unlawful acts and the rules governing international cooperation has also been extended.

07.05.2016 | Press release No. 098/16 | Nuclear Safety