FRANCE'S NUCLEAR SECURITY
WNN- France has demonstrated a strong commitment to nuclear security, according to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). The Vienna-based agency carried out a two-week International Physical Protection Advisory Service (IPPAS) follow-up mission at the French government's request.
The team completed the mission on 23 March to review the legislative and regulatory framework for nuclear security in France. The previous IPPAS mission to the country was conducted in 2011. The latest mission was the 83rd such mission conducted by the IAEA since the IPPAS programme began in 1995.
IPPAS missions are intended to help IAEA member states strengthen their national nuclear security regime through peer review advice and IAEA guidance. A team of international experts assesses a nation's physical protection systems, compares it with international best practices and recommends improvements. IPPAS missions are conducted both on a nationwide and facility-specific basis.
The mission to France was led by Steve Skelton, Principal Inspector at the UK's Office for Nuclear Regulation, and included eight other experts from Belgium, Finland, Germany, Hungary, Lithuania, the Netherlands and the IAEA.
In addition to reviewing France's nuclear security practices, the team also discussed the country's implementation of the 2005 Amendment to the Convention on Physical Protection of Nuclear Material (CPPNM), which provides a strengthened framework for combatting nuclear terrorism and protecting nuclear material and nuclear facilities. The amendment entered into force in May 2015.
The team met with officials from the Ministry for an Ecological and Solidary Transition (MTES), the General Secretariat for Defence and National Security, the Ministry of Interior, the Ministry of Armed Forces, the National Cybersecurity Agency and other relevant organisations. As part of the review, the team visited the Georges Besse II uranium enrichment plant at the Tricastin site in south-eastern France.
"The nuclear security regime in France is robust and well-established, and incorporates the fundamental principles of the amended CPPNM," the team concluded. It identified a number of good practices while also making recommendations and suggestions for enhancing and sustaining nuclear security.
Raja Adnan, director of the IAEA's nuclear security division, said: "France clearly demonstrated its strong commitment to nuclear security and its continuous enhancement through applying IAEA nuclear security guidance documents and using IAEA nuclear security advisory services."
"IPPAS missions are an important tool in strengthening global nuclear security, and the advice provided will enable France to continue implementing the highest nuclear security standards," said Régine Engström, the General Secretary, High Official for Defence and Security at MTES. "Although France's nuclear security is already considered to be robust, I greatly appreciate the input of the experts in the IPPAS mission providing their recommendations for further improvement. With nuclear security there is no room for complacency."
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