China committed to nuclear security, says IAEA

08 September 2017

China maintains "strong and sustainable" nuclear security activities, an International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) team of experts has concluded. The Vienna-based agency carried out a ten-day International Physical Protection Advisory Service (IPPAS) mission at the Chinese government's request.

Fangjiashan plant - 460 (CNNC)
The IAEA team visited the Fangjiashan plant (Image: CNNC)

The purpose of the IPPAS mission, as agreed with the Chinese government, included the legislative and regulatory framework for nuclear security, as well as the physical protection of nuclear materials and facilities. The mission also focused on China's implementation of the 2005 Amendment to the Convention on the Physical Protection of Nuclear Material. The amendment - ratified by China in 2009 - entered into force last year and provides a strengthened framework for protecting nuclear materials and facilities.

An eight-member team led by Joseph Sandoval of the USA's Sandia National Laboratories today completed the mission. The team visited the Fangjiashan nuclear power plant in China's Zhejiang province to review security arrangements and observe physical protection measures. They also met in Beijing with officials from the China Atomic Energy Authority (CAEA), the National Energy Administration, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Legislative Affairs Office of the State Council, the Ministry of Public Security, the National Nuclear safety Administration, the General Administration of Customs, and other organisations involved in nuclear security.

The team said it had identified a number of good practices, while making recommendations and suggestions for continuous improvement.

Muhammad Khaliq, head of the IAEA's nuclear security of materials and facilities section, said: "A strong commitment to nuclear security is a must for any state that uses nuclear power for electricity generation and that is planning to significantly expand this capacity by constructing new power reactors. China's example in applying IAEA Nuclear Security guidance and using IAEA advisory services demonstrates its strong commitment to nuclear security and its enhancement worldwide."

"We are satisfied with the report of this mission that serves as an independent review of our nuclear security regime," said Shen Lixin, deputy director-general of the CAEA's system engineering department. "I am very proud that the team could identify good practices to be shared with the international community."

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 China was the 77th IPPAS mission conducted by the IAEA since the program began in 1995. China is the 48th IAEA member state to host an IPPAS mission.

Researched and written
by World Nuclear News