Wednesday, 18 September 2019

Nuclear insecurity gets significantly worse, international watchdog document reveals

The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) released over 40 documents at the start of its Annual General Conference in Vienna this week (all are listed below, with hyperlinks) . I have highlighted a few key paragraphs from its Annual Nuclear Security report that a ought to send alarm bells ringing among  the international Community concerned over nuclear insecurity, as they reveal 186 new nuclear security incidents occurred  in past year.

Here is the key extract from the IAEA Nuclear Security Report 2019, publicly released 17 September 2019:

B.2.2. Information Sharing  - Incident and Trafficking Database

17. In the period between the inception of the Incident and Trafficking Database (ITDB) and 30 June 2019, States had reported — or otherwise confirmed to the ITDB — a total of 3565 incidents. Reports of 186 incidents were added to the database in the reporting period. Of these incidents, 117 occurred between 1 July 2018 and 30 June 2019. While the Agency does not verify States’ reports, the number of incidents voluntarily reported by participating States to the ITDB demonstrates that illicit trafficking, thefts, losses and other unauthorized activities and events involving nuclear and other radioactive material continue to occur.

18. Of the 186 newly reported incidents, 7 were related to trafficking, including 4 scams. All of the material involved in these incidents was seized by the relevant competent authorities within the reporting State. No incident involved high enriched uranium, plutonium or category 1 sources.

19. There were 33 reported incidents in which the intent to conduct trafficking or malicious use could not be determined. These included 18 thefts, 1 unauthorized possession and 14 incidents of missing materials. In 27 incidents the materials were not recovered, all of which involved lower-risk sources below category 3.

20. There were also 146 reported incidents in which the material was out of regulatory control but not related to trafficking, malicious use or scams. Most of these incidents involved unauthorized disposal, unauthorized shipments and unexpected discoveries of material such as previously lost radioactive sources.


GOV/2019/31/Rev.1-GC(63)/10/Rev.1 Page 4

21. External users of the ITDB include the United Nations, the United Nations Office for Disarmament Affairs, the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe, the International Civil Aviation Organization, the International Maritime Organization, the International Rail Transport Committee, the International Criminal Police Organization - INTERPOL, the Organisation for Co-operation between Railways, the Universal Postal Union, the World Customs Organization, the Police Community of the Americas, the European Commission (including the Joint Research Centre Karlsruhe), the European Atomic Energy Community, the European Police Office, and the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe. As stated in the ITDB Terms of Reference, these external users receive only “unrestricted information” reported in Part I of the ITDB incident notification form.

, The Agency’s latest annual projections show that, despite the declining trend for installed capacity up to 2050, nuclear power will continue to play a key role in the world’s low-carbon energy mix.”

Moreover, its  Nuclear Technology Review 2019 – also released this week, makes reference to futures energy scenarios involving substantial increases in nuclear power.

Section A.2. on ‘The Projected Growth of Nuclear Power’ includes the following:


“35. The Agency’s 2018 projections ( ), prepared in consultation with regional experts and reflecting the latest information on policy and market conditions, suggest that nuclear power may struggle to maintain its current place in the global energy mix. In the low projection to 2030, net installed nuclear electricity generation capacity declines by more than 10% from 392 GW(e) at the end of 2017.

In the high case, capacity increases by 30% to 511 GW(e) by 2030. Longer term, capacity in the low case continues to decline for around a decade before rebounding to 2030 levels by 2050, with the nuclear share of global generation capacity declining to 2.8% compared with 5.7% today. In the high case, installed capacity is projected to reach 748 GW(e) by 2050, representing 5.8% of global generation capacity.


“37.The need to substantially expand the contribution of nuclear power c (emphasis added) limate change mitigation is reflected in the emissions pathways presented in the recent Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change special report entitled Global Warming of 1.5° C2. In most pathways that are consistent with limiting global warming to 1.5°C, nuclear power increases its share by 2050; for example, the four model

pathways highlighted in the Summary for Policymakers project an increase in nuclear power generation of at least 59% by 2030 and up to 501% by 2050, relative to 2010.


“38. Interest in nuclear power also remains strong in the developing world, particularly in Asia where countries such as China and India are seeking to satisfy rapidly growing electricity demands while reducing GHG emissions. As such, ongoing international climate change negotiations under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, including the 24th session of the Conference of the

Parties (COP24) held in December in Katowice, Poland, represent an important opportunity to highlight the potential role of low carbon nuclear energy in meeting global climate and energy challenges."(
With nearly 200 new security events in the year to start of July 2019, it is surely irresponsible to promote the expansion of new nuclear capacity.

63rd IAEA General Conference (2019) Documents

Reports to the Conference
Provisional agenda
Provisional Agenda - Supplementary item for inclusion in the provisional agenda
Provisional Agenda - Supplementary item for inclusion in the provisional agenda
Provisional Agenda - Supplementary item for inclusion in the provisional agenda
Provisional Agenda - Supplementary List
Provisional Agenda - Modification
The Agency’s Programme and Budget 2020–2021
Strengthening the Agency's Activities related to Nuclear Science, Technology and Applications
Nuclear and Radiation Safety
IAEA Annual Report 2018
IAEA Annual Report 2018 - Additional Annex Information
The Agency’s Financial Statements for 2018
Election of Members to the Board of Governors
Appointment of the External Auditor
Amendment to Article XIV.A of the Statute
Nuclear Security Report 2019
Nuclear Security Report 2019
Amendment to Article VI of the Statute
Scale of Assessment of Member States' Contribution towards the Regular Budget for 2020
Strengthening the Effectiveness and Improving the Efficiency of Agency Safeguards
Application of IAEA Safeguards in the Middle East
Personnel - Staffing of the Agency's Secretariat
Personnel - Women in the Secretariat
Communication received from the Resident Representative of Israel regarding the request to include in the agenda of the Conference an item entitled "Israeli Nuclear Capabilities"
Communication received from the Resident Representative of Israel regarding the request to include in the agenda of the Conference an item entitled "Israeli Nuclear Capabilities" - Corrigendum
Election of Members to the Board of Governors - Memorandum by the President
Report on Contributions Pledged to the Technical Cooperation Fund for 2020
Application of Safeguards in the Democratic People's Republic of Korea
Tribute to the late Director General Yukiya Amano
Examination of Delegates' Credentials - Statement of the Arab Member States regarding their reservations about the credentials of the Israeli delegation
Information Documents
Inscription in the List of Speakers in the General Debate
Nuclear Technology Review 2019
Nuclear Technology Review 2019 - Corrigenda
Nuclear Safety Review 2019
Nuclear Safety Review 2019 - Corrigendum
Technical Cooperation Report for 2018
Technical Cooperation Report for 2018 - Supplement
Advance Information for Delegations
Advance Information for Delegations - Corrigenda
Statement of Financial Contributions to the IAEA
Report on Measures Taken to Facilitate Payment of Contributions and Status Report on Member States Participating in a Payment Plan
Communication dated 18 July 2019 from the Chairman of the International Nuclear Safety Group (INSAG)
Provisional List of Participants
Text of communication dated 30 August 2019 received from the Embassy/Permanent Mission of Libya in Vienna concerning restoration of voting rights


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