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Partnering With Cambodia on Nuclear Safeguards

(Left to right) Ms. Linda H. Hansen, Argonne National Laboratory, U.S. Department of Energy; Mr. Samuel Downing, Political Officer, U.S. Embassy Phnom Penh; Dr. Chan Sodavath, Deputy Director General, Ministry of Mines and Energy; Mr. John Lepingwell.

The United States is working closely with Cambodia to safeguard the use and disposal of nuclear materials.

The United States is working closely with Cambodia to safeguard the use and disposal of nuclear materials.

A recent international workshop on Nuclear Safeguards was sponsored by the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Nuclear Security Administration, or DOE/NNSA, and hosted by the Cambodian Ministry of Mines and Energy and the U.S. Embassy in Cambodia, among others.

As noted by Anne Harrington, Deputy Administrator for Defense Nuclear Nonproliferation in the DOE/NNSA, “The United States has long considered the international safeguards system to be a central pillar of the nuclear nonproliferation regime’s strategy for preventing the spread of nuclear weapons. ... DOE/NNSA cooperates with over 30 countries in this regard, assisting state and regional authorities to establish effective systems of nuclear accounting and control.”

During the workshop, experts from the DOE/NNSA and the International Atomic Energy Agency, or IAEA, delivered presentations on international nuclear safeguards, which are technical measures applied by the IAEA to verify that a country’s nuclear material is accounted for and not diverted for non-peaceful activities. Experts also facilitated interactive exercises designed to provide participants with information on how to prepare declarations to the IAEA on certain materials, activities, and locations.

U.S. Embassy Political Officer Samuel Downing congratulated Cambodia on entering into force the Additional Protocol as part of its commitment to nuclear nonproliferation.

He also noted the importance of continued engagement on this topic as it promotes greater understanding of the technical elements of the Additional Protocol that could help Cambodia’s implementation. Entering the AP into force is an important milestone for IAEA Member States, and workshops focused on the AP help to ensure that states with small amounts of nuclear material, such as Cambodia develop the necessary infrastructure and safeguards-supporting capacity to fulfill their responsibilities.

The United States is proud to work with its partner Cambodia to ensure that nuclear materials are handled safely and securely and used for peaceful purposes.