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Speech by Parliamentary State Secretary Rita Schwarzelühr-Sutter at the IAEA Conference International Conference on Nuclear Security: Commitments and Actions

Speech by Parliamentary State Secretary Rita Schwarzelühr-Sutter at the IAEA Conference International Conference on Nuclear Security: Commitments and Actions

– Check against delivery –

Director General Amano, Ladies and Gentlemen

On behalf of the German government I would first like to thank the International Atomic Energy Agency and its Director General Yukiya Amano for organising this comprehensive and ambitious conference.

While the important Nuclear Security Summit process initiated by President Obama formally came to an end this spring, we are firmly convinced of the necessity to not only maintain the spirit of this process, but also to place the objectives of this process in a broader framework. Against this background we are pleased to see the IAEA hosting a high-level ministerial conference on these issues for a second time now. We are convinced that having such a conference in regular intervals will ensure a sustainable exchange between political decision-makers and technical experts under the umbrella of the International Atomic Energy Agency.

We are pleased to see that a Ministerial Declaration could be agreed upon.

For Germany, the Agency plays the central role in the international nuclear security architecture.
The international community is confronted with challenges posed by the dangerous combination of terrorism, proliferation of weapons and materials of mass destruction as well as regional conflicts.
In this context North Korea’s ongoing nuclear and ballistic missile programs and its proliferation activities represent a great danger and are blatant violations of several UN-Security Council resolutions.

"Commitments and Actions" is the title of this conference and we all know, that – without the many commitments and actions of all states by now – the level of nuclear security would not be as it is today.

The entry into force of the amended Convention on Physical Protection of Nuclear Material – the CPPNM – as the main and only internationally binding legal basis for nuclear security was a tremendous success that could only be reached by huge efforts of many states.

Up until recently more than a hundred states adhere to the amended CPPNM. But too many are still absent. I call on all states that have not yet ratified the amendment to establish the legal and technical requirements as quickly as possible. Germany will continue to support IAEA's activities to promote the universalisation of the amended convention.

In Germany's view, the most challenging particular issues of nuclear security in the future remain the security of other radioactive material, especially high radioactive sealed sources, and cyber or – using the language of the nuclear security series – computer security.

The global presence of radioactive sources in many different appliances goes along with risks on a global scale, which need to be addressed internationally. For example, since 2008 the German government has been funding a programme to collect and secure disused or orphan sources in the Ukraine. Since then more than fifteen thousand sources have been secured in this way! This programme is a great success, but it illustrates the magnitude of the problem.

As one of the results of the Nuclear Security Summit Germany hosted a workshop entitled "Safety and Security of radioactive sources – Are the provisions for security in the Code of Conduct effective?" in September. As a result of the workshop it can be stated, that the Code of Conduct is a valuable tool to provide member states with a reasonable basis for securing their radioactive sources. Nevertheless, the discussions at this workshop showed a broad consensus that strengthening the authoritative character of the Agency’s Security Recommendations would be highly desirable. Therefore I call upon the IAEA to explore possibilities to bring such security guidance into an internationally legally binding form.

In recent years cyber attacks on information infrastructures have steadily grown in frequency and sophistication. Cyber attackers are becoming increasingly professional. As regulators of nuclear installations, we have to take up the challenge and face this global threat.
Germany therefore expressly welcomes the efforts the International Atomic Energy Agency has made in the field of integrating computer security within the Nuclear Security Series.
Nevertheless, further action is essential: to continue with the technical expert exchange, to further develop guidance on computer security and to expand the available expertise in nuclear cyber security for the IPPAS missions.

Germany is willing to support and strengthen these activities – with expertise and financially. That is why Germany will host an international workshop on computer security in 2018.

For Germany, nuclear security remains an indispensable prerequisite for effective nuclear non-proliferation and effective suppression of international nuclear terrorism. That is why we will continue to support the efforts of the International Atomic Energy Agency to improve sustainable global nuclear security. Obviously, the Agency can only act on the basis of technical, human and financial resources. In this context, the IAEA must rely on voluntary contributions to the Nuclear Security Fund. Germany is one of the major donors to the NSF and we commit to make another major contribution in 2017 as soon as funds are available.

In addition, I have the pleasure to announce that Germany contributes an amount of roughly 1 million Euro to implement nuclear security measures at Seibersdorf. The money is used for the purpose of security measures for the new Insect Pest Control Laboratory and for the construction of a bunker for the Dosimetry Laboratory to house a medical linear accelerator in order to support the at the "Renual+" project in Seibersdorf.
The respective agreement with the Agency will be signed this week by our Ambassador.

I am looking forward to intensive and fruitful discussions, and I am certain that this conference will make a key contribution to enhancing worldwide protection against terrorist acts using nuclear or other radioactive material.

Thank you very much for your attention.

06.12.2016 | Speech Nuclear Safety | Vienna