IAEA reports continued incidents of trafficking, loss of control of radioactive material

0 Comment(s)Print E-mail Xinhua, February 13, 2020
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VIENNA, Feb. 13 (Xinhua) -- The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) received notifications of nearly 190 incidents of nuclear and other radioactive material being out of regulatory control, including some cases of trafficking and other criminal activities in 2019, it revealed on Thursday.

The data -- submitted to the IAEA's Incident and Trafficking Database (ITDB) by countries on a voluntary basis -- were highlighted in an annual fact sheet published during this week's IAEA ministerial conference, which is being held here from Monday to Friday and concentrated on strengthening nuclear security and countering the threat of nuclear terrorism.

"In 2019, 189 incidents were reported to the ITDB by 36 States, indicating that unauthorized activities and events involving nuclear and other radioactive material, including incidents of trafficking and malicious use, continue to occur," said the fact sheet.

Six of the incidents were related to trafficking or malicious use, continuing a slight downward trend since a peak of 20 such incidents around 15 years ago, it said.

For the other 183 incidents, there was either insufficient information to determine any connection with trafficking or malicious use or sufficient information to determine there was none.

Over the last ten years, the average number of incidents submitted to the ITDB has been 185 per year, according to the report.

"The ITDB continues to receive reports of incidents involving potentially weapons usable nuclear material and high activity sources," said Raja Adnan, director of the IAEA Division of Nuclear Security. "Some of these incidents also involved attempts to sell the material across borders."

"These cases highlight the international character of the issue of illicit trafficking and the need for cooperative efforts, such as the ITDB, to counter these threats and challenges we face globally," he added.

At this week's conference, government ministers and other high-level representatives from more than 140 countries adopted a declaration to enhance global nuclear security, including a specific commitment "to combatting illicit trafficking of nuclear and other radioactive material and to ensure that the material cannot be used by non-State actors for malicious purposes." Enditem

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