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Physical Protection of Nuclear Material and Nuclear Facilities

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Physical Protection of Nuclear Material and Nuclear Facilities

The Convention on the Physical Protection of Nuclear Material and Nuclear Facilities seeks to protect nuclear material and facilities and to set out penalties for breaches in this field. It also aims to foster cooperation between the States that are parties to the Convention.

SUMMARY

WHAT DOES THE DECISION DO?

  • It approves the accession of the European Atomic Energy Community to the Convention on the Physical Protection of Nuclear Material and Nuclear Facilities.
  • The Convention seeks to:
    • protect nuclear material and facilities,
    • set rules for penalties for breaches in this field,
    • foster cooperation between the signatory States.

KEY POINTS

The new Convention on the Physical Protection of Nuclear Material and Nuclear Facilities is aimed at ensuring effective physical protection during the use, storage or transport of materials used for peaceful purposes, as well as preventing and fighting crime associated with this material and these facilities. It is based on the Convention on the Physical Protection of Nuclear Material (CPPNM), to which all the EU countries are party.

Each State that is party to the convention must establish and implement measures to guarantee this effective protection to prevent, in particular, the theft or disappearance of nuclear material for which it is responsible, as well as sabotage of nuclear facilities on its territory. The Euratom Treaty is broader in that it states that EU countries must prevent any misappropriation of nuclear material for purposes other than those for which it is intended.

In implementing the Convention, the States that are party to it must respect a certain number of basic principles, in particular the principles of responsibility of the State and licence-holders, of a culture of security, insurance and confidentiality.

The contracting States must ensure that the nuclear material they import, export or accept in transit on their territory is protected in accordance with the applicable safety level.

The contracting States must designate a competent authority responsible for the application of the Convention, as well as a point of contact, and give this information to the other signatory countries directly or through the intermediary of the International Atomic Energy Agency. Furthermore, they must cooperate in the event of theft, sabotage or risk of theft or sabotage. This cooperation in particular takes the form of an exchange of information, while respecting the confidentiality of this information vis-à-vis third parties.

The contracting States must apply appropriate penalties to certain infringements, in line with their severity. In particular, it is punishable to act without authorisation in a way that causes or is likely to cause death or serious injury, theft of nuclear material, sabotage of a nuclear installation, the threat of using nuclear material to cause death or serious injury of a third party or cause significant damage to property; attempts to commit one of these acts, involvement in such acts and organisation thereof are also punishable.

Any contracting State has jurisdiction for infringements committed on its territory or on board a vessel or aircraft registered in the said State and when the person presumed to have committed the infringement is a native of the said State. These infringements are grounds for extradition between the contracting States, who must also provide each other with the most extensive judicial assistance in the event of these infringements. Political motives for the infringement are not a reason for refusing extradition or mutual judicial assistance.

The Convention on the Physical Protection of Nuclear Material (CPPNM) was adopted in 1979 and entered into force in 1987. It was amended in 2005 at a conference held with a view to strengthening its provisions. A conference for review of the amended convention must be organised 5 years after entry into force of the amendment agreed in 2005.

FROM WHEN DOES THE DECISION APPLY?

It entered into force on 10 July 2007.

BACKGROUND

Convention on the Physical Protection of Nuclear Material (CPPNM) and Amendment thereto

ACT

Council Decision 2007/513/Euratom of 10 July 2007 approving the accession of the European Atomic Energy Community to the amended Convention on the Physical Protection of Nuclear Material and Nuclear Facilities - Declaration by the European Atomic Energy Community according to Articles 18(4) and 17(3) of the CPPNM (OJ L 190, 21.7.2007, pp. 12–14)

last update 13.12.2015

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