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102 countries ratified 2005 Amendment to the Convention on the Physical Protection of Nuclear Material: Obama

US President, Barack Obama at Nuclear Security Summit in Washington, has said that 102 countries have ratified the international agreement, CPPNM, for the safety of its nuclear material. Pakistan has ratified the agreement on 21st March, 2016. India has already ratified it way back in 2007.

The original CPPNM, which entered into force on Feb. 8, 1987, is a legally binding international instrument in the area of physical protection of nuclear material. It establishes measures related to the prevention, detection and punishment of offences related to nuclear material.

About CPPNM

  • Convention on the Physical Protection of Nuclear Materialwas adopted on 26 October 1979 in Vienna, Austria.
  • The initial signing ceremony took place in Vienna and at New York on 3 March 1980, and the convention entered into force on 8 February 1987.
  • The convention is deposited with the IAEA .
  • In July 2005 a diplomatic conference was convened to amend the Convention and strengthen its provisions,as a result of which it was renamed the Convention on the Physical Protection of Nuclear Material and Nuclear Facilities.

CPPNM obligates parties to:

  • Make specific arrangements and meet defined standards of physical protection for international shipments of nuclear material for peaceful purposes (Plutonium, Uranium-235, Uranium-233 and irradiated fuel, according to Annexes I and II and IAEA INFCIRC/225;
  • Undertake not to export or import nuclear materials or to allow their transit through their territory unless they have received assurances that these materials will be protected during international transport in accordance with the levels of protection determined by the Convention;
  • Cooperate in the recovery and protection of stolen nuclear material, by sharing information on missing nuclear materials;
  • Criminalize specified acts, including misusing or threatening to misuse nuclear materials to harm the public; and
  • Prosecute or extradite those accused of committing such acts. States Parties undertake to include those offenses as extraditable offenses in every future extradition treaty to be concluded between them.
  • The Convention also promotes international cooperation in the exchange of physical protection information.

Verification and Compliance:

  • Verification:States Parties must identify and make known to each other directly or through the IAEA their central authority and point of contact having responsibility for physical protection of nuclear material and for coordinating recovery and response operations in the event of any unauthorized removal, use, or alteration of nuclear material or in the event of a credible threat thereof. The Convention does not provide for inspections.
  • Compliance:Article 17 provides for dispute settlement procedures, but allows parties to opt out of those procedures.
  • Reservations: Several States Parties, including Argentina, Belarus, China, Cuba, Cyprus, France, Guatemala, Indonesia, Israel, Pakistan, Peru, Republic of Korea, Romania, the Russian Federation, South Africa, Spain, and Turkey, declared that they were not bound by the provision of Article 17, paragraph 2, which provides for the submission of disputes to arbitration or their referral to the International Court of Justice in the case of an inability to resolve the dispute on the basis of negotiations between the States Parties.
  • Review Conferences: Pursuant to Article 16 of the Convention, a Review Conference five years after its entry into force was held in Vienna from 29 September to 1 October 1992 and attended by 35 States Parties. The Review Conference unanimously expressed its full support for the Convention.

Important provisions under amended CPPNM:

  • The Amendment to the CPPNM makes it binding for States Parties to protect nuclear facilities and material in peaceful domestic use, storage and transport.
  • The Amendment also provides for greater cooperation between and among States regarding rapid measures to locate and recover stolen or smuggled nuclear material, mitigate any radiological consequences of sabotage, and prevent and combat related offences.
  • The Amendment to the CPPNM constitutes an important landmark in international efforts to improve the physical protection of nuclear material and facilities.
  • The Amendment is important for nuclear security and will have a major impact in reducing the vulnerability of States Parties to nuclear terrorism.
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