IAEA Nonproliferation and MPC&A Programs

The International Atomic Energy Agency’s (IAEA) central role in bolstering the international nuclear nonproliferation regime was underscored many times during the workshop discussions. Over the course of the workshop, five IAEA staff members addressed the participants about the work of the agency. Deputy Director General Tomihiro Taniguchi, Head of the Department of Nuclear Safety and Security, opened the workshop by reviewing the activities of his department. He began by noting that the terrorist attacks of September 2001 have significantly increased international awareness of the threat that, if nuclear or other radioactive materials fall into the wrong hands, they may be used in terrorist attacks. “The effective and timely accountancy and control of nuclear material,” he argued, “is at the core of the multitude of measures that are aimed at protecting against nuclear terrorism.” In November 2001, the IAEA Board of Governors identified four threats of nuclear terrorism, and asked the agency to increase efforts to mitigate these threats:

  1. Theft of a nuclear weapon

  2. Acquisition of nuclear material to make a weapon

  3. Acquisition of nuclear material for use in a Radiological Dispersal Device (RDD) or other mechanism

  4. Sabotage of nuclear facilities

To respond to these threats, Taniguchi suggested that knowledge shared during the workshop about materials protection, control, and accounting (MPC&A) practice should be used to promote cross-fertilization and exploit synergies in the broad context of security, safeguards, and safety. He thought that



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Protection, Control, and Accounting of Nuclear Materials: International Challenges and National Programs - Workshop Summary IAEA Nonproliferation and MPC&A Programs The International Atomic Energy Agency’s (IAEA) central role in bolstering the international nuclear nonproliferation regime was underscored many times during the workshop discussions. Over the course of the workshop, five IAEA staff members addressed the participants about the work of the agency. Deputy Director General Tomihiro Taniguchi, Head of the Department of Nuclear Safety and Security, opened the workshop by reviewing the activities of his department. He began by noting that the terrorist attacks of September 2001 have significantly increased international awareness of the threat that, if nuclear or other radioactive materials fall into the wrong hands, they may be used in terrorist attacks. “The effective and timely accountancy and control of nuclear material,” he argued, “is at the core of the multitude of measures that are aimed at protecting against nuclear terrorism.” In November 2001, the IAEA Board of Governors identified four threats of nuclear terrorism, and asked the agency to increase efforts to mitigate these threats: Theft of a nuclear weapon Acquisition of nuclear material to make a weapon Acquisition of nuclear material for use in a Radiological Dispersal Device (RDD) or other mechanism Sabotage of nuclear facilities To respond to these threats, Taniguchi suggested that knowledge shared during the workshop about materials protection, control, and accounting (MPC&A) practice should be used to promote cross-fertilization and exploit synergies in the broad context of security, safeguards, and safety. He thought that

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Protection, Control, and Accounting of Nuclear Materials: International Challenges and National Programs - Workshop Summary feedback from the bilateral cooperation between the United States and Russian Federation would be especially useful in this regard. Taniguchi described the IAEA’s plan of activities for protecting against nuclear terrorism, which takes a comprehensive approach to nuclear security in response to the threats of terrorism. The plan builds on, accelerates, and expands a number of ongoing agency activities under a single coordinator in the Department of Nuclear Safety and Security. It also introduces a number of new initiatives intended to improve nuclear security in a comprehensive, coordinated fashion. These include physical protection of nuclear material and facilities detecting malicious activities involving nuclear and other radioactive materials strengthening state systems for nuclear material accountancy and control improving the security of radioactive material other than nuclear material assessing safety and security vulnerabilities of nuclear facilities responding to malicious acts or threats thereof supporting adherence to and implementation of international agreements, guidelines and recommendations coordinating nuclear security and information management Taniguchi then discussed the IAEA’s efforts to strengthen state systems for nuclear material accountancy and control, the third activity area (listed above) in the agency’s “Comprehensive Nuclear Security Approach.” He pointed out that the plan underscores the multiple purposes of nuclear material accountancy. Effective accounting is required for states to fulfill their international nuclear nonproliferation obligations. It is also the “first and last step of physical protection,” i.e. the protection of known inventories and the detection of theft if protection measures fail. The agency has begun updating earlier guidelines for State Systems for Accounting and Control (SSAC), with the intention of guiding states in meeting their reporting requirements under safeguards agreements and providing useful information for nuclear facility operators. The guidelines will take into account the multipurpose character of nuclear material accountancy systems as well as safeguards reporting needs, safety and reactor control issues, challenges in the timely detection of thefts, and the need to obtain export and transport licenses. Other IAEA activities to strengthen SSACs include assessing current nuclear material accounting and control systems and providing assistance to upgrade those systems. The agency is also broadening the range of training that it already provides to states on SSACs to include a new course on nuclear material accounting and control at the facility level. Taniguchi suggested that the discussion at the workshop would be important for helping the agency in its work in several of the activity areas outlined above, particularly in strengthening SSACs. He also pointed out that, in general, the accounting of nuclear materials remains inadequate.

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Protection, Control, and Accounting of Nuclear Materials: International Challenges and National Programs - Workshop Summary Next, Taniguchi reviewed the status of IAEA activities in support of the agency’s nuclear security plan. Since 2001, the agency has conducted many regional and national training courses held in IAEA Member States. Topics included the physical protection of nuclear material, combating illicit trafficking, state systems of accounting and control, methodology for developing a Design Basis Threat analysis, the safety and security of radioactive sources, and responses to incidents related to security or to radiological events. Taniguchi also described several of the advisory services provided by the agency. The International Nuclear Security Advisory Service performs an initial assessment of the overall security needs of a member state as a basis for further assistance from the agency or from donor states. The International Physical Protection Advisory Services helps member states review, strengthen, and enhance the effectiveness of the physical protection of their nuclear facilities. The International SSAC Advisory Service advises states about how they might strengthen nuclear material accounting and control systems at the national or the facility level. Finally, the Emergency Preparedness Review Service provides opportunities for those responsible for planning emergency responses to communicate their ideas and experiences with each other. IAEA also contributes to information-sharing and coordination efforts. The agency maintains an Illicit Trafficking Database, which collates information provided by member states on illegal transport and trafficking of nuclear materials. Taniguchi explained that, as national accounting systems improve, the quality and quantity of material in the database will also improve. The agency also participates in the UN Security Council’s Counter-Terrorism Committee, which was established in 2001. The IAEA also works with the members of the Inter-agency Coordination Committee for the Illegal Movement of Radioactive Materials, who include the World Custom Organization, Interpol, the International Civil Aviation Organization, and other agencies. The IAEA also conducts international conferences on nuclear materials security or related topics. Taniguchi closed by reminding the participants that it is important to acknowledge the broader perspective when trying to improve nuclear security, building upon connections among existing programs. He summarized his presentation by saying that the IAEA is pursuing a comprehensive, multi-faceted approach to mitigating the dangers of nuclear terrorism. But the program is a new one, and considerable work must be done to establish the envisioned international nuclear security framework, which is needed to support both global and national assistance efforts. Both proven and new technologies are required. The agency works to develop the framework and promote new technologies in parallel with its efforts to provide services and assistance that have been requested by the member states. The feedback from this workshop will help IAEA in all of these endeavors. Kenji Murakami of the Department of Safeguards reviewed the lessons the IAEA has learned about MPC&A practice. He began by discussing national

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Protection, Control, and Accounting of Nuclear Materials: International Challenges and National Programs - Workshop Summary nuclear material control. He argued that an effective state control system is a key to the security of nuclear material. Noting that SSACs are national responsibilities, he suggested that SSACs should cover all aspects of nuclear material control. Murakami then discussed several elements of an integrated approach to nuclear material accounting and control: Legislation: this includes the core nuclear law; nuclear regulation of accounting, control, physical protection, and exports and imports; nuclear guidelines; and nuclear licensing systems. SSAC Accountancy: this includes analysis of nuclear material flow and inventory, procedures for recording and reporting inventories and changes, computers and computer programs for state and facility offices, installation and testing of software, and training. SSAC Technical Systems: this includes evaluating existing measurement systems at the national and facility levels, defining and specifying additional needs, procuring and installing measurement equipment, ensuring quality and certifying systems, and training. Physical Protection: this includes developing the state concept for a physical protection system, performing technical assessments of physical protection systems at facilities, designing and upgrading physical protection systems at facilities, supplying and installing systems, and training. Export and Import Control: elements of this include enacting and enforcing legislation and regulations, developing a framework for controlling exports and imports, generating licensing and enforcement procedures for that system, obtaining equipment to support export and import controls, and training. Next, Murakami discussed the process of developing SSACs in the Newly Independent States (NIS). First, he explained the rationale for developing SSACs in the Newly Independent States. A new accounting and control system must be established to replace the one used by the Soviet Union. The NIS have major nuclear facilities and activities, in which it is necessary to implement IAEA safeguards. The infrastructure that is necessary for effective accounting and control is limited or nonexistent; legislation must be enacted, an effective regulatory system needs to be put in place, and physical protection systems must be installed where there are none and upgraded where they do exist. Bilateral support for this work, Murakami noted, is already under way, and the IAEA wants to support and build upon these efforts. In addition to the Russian Federation, there are 11 NIS with nuclear activities (including mining): Armenia, Belarus, Estonia, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Latvia, Lithuania, Tajikistan, Ukraine, and Uzbekistan. Only three of the NIS (Azerbaijan, Moldova, and Turkmenistan) do not have nuclear facilities or mining activities. The IAEA supports the development of SSACs in the NIS in a number of ways. The agency assists donor countries and the NIS in implementing their SSACs, monitors support activities using a computerized monitoring system, and maintains and distributes a calendar of events and lists of contact persons. The

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Protection, Control, and Accounting of Nuclear Materials: International Challenges and National Programs - Workshop Summary agency also identifies new donor countries, maintains a database on training activities and prepares training profiles, and organizes annual review meetings. Murakami moved on to what has been accomplished in efforts to support the development of SSACs in Newly Independent States. In the area of legal issues, all NIS have acceded to the NPT, safeguards agreements have been signed and have entered into force in states with nuclear activities and material, nine NIS have signed the Additional Protocol, and the Additional Protocol is in force in five of those states. With regards to the implementation of safeguards, all nuclear facilities in the NIS (except for Russia) have been placed under safeguards, initial inventory declarations have been verified for their correctness, ad hoc or regular inspections are conducted routinely, and basic SSACs have been established in NIS with nuclear activities. Activities related to the Additional Protocol include organizing international high-level seminars for decision makers, holding seminars for Additional Protocol implementation at the national and facility levels, training has been provided to assist with submitting initial declarations under the protocol, and computer hardware and specialized software have been provided for facilitating those declarations. Murakami offered three examples of good cooperation. Over the course of two years, 3,000 spent fuel assemblies for BN-350 reactors were verified and placed in canisters for storage. At the Chernobyl nuclear reactor complex, a coordinated effort has transferred 20,000 spent fuel assemblies to dry storage. And, at the Ulba Fuel Fabrication Plant in Kazakhstan, a multinational effort has reduced inventory discrepancies resulting from small amounts of nuclear material left in pipes and other equipment. Highly enriched uranium at the Ulba plant is being “blended down” to low enriched uranium as part of this collaboration as well. Murakami also argued that IAEA support activities have improved the ability of agency safeguards inspectors to reach their inspection goals. In one newly-independent state with major nuclear activity, the inspectors were only able to meet 50 percent or less of their goals for verifying material quantities in a timely fashion in 1995. In 2000, 2001, and 2002, however, inspectors met 90 percent of their goals in that same country.1 Murakami credited training and an action plan 1   IAEA safeguards inspections have performance targets known as “inspection goals.” These goals have a quantity component and a timeliness component. The quantity component relates to the extent of inspection activities that must be performed by the agency to verify that one significant quantity or more of relevant nuclear material has not been diverted during a material balance period, and that there has been no undeclared production of nuclear material. The timeliness component relates to the frequency with which inspections must occur to conclude that no abrupt diversion has occurred over a calendar year. It also is a measure of the timeliness with which discrepancies are corrected. The attainment of these goals—or failure to attain them—is expressed in terms of percentages. See International Atomic Energy Agency, “The Safeguards System of the International Atomic Energy Agency,” undated document (approximately 2002), paragraph 24, available at http://www.iaea.org/OurWork/SV/Safeguards/safeg_system.pdf, accessed April 20, 2005.

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Protection, Control, and Accounting of Nuclear Materials: International Challenges and National Programs - Workshop Summary that was developed during periodic meetings with state and facility authorities for this success. Other examples of good results include work with Euratom to develop a regional SSAC in Europe and work in Hungary and the Czech Republic. Common elements of these successes include adequate resources in terms of staff and equipment, a well-trained and competent staff, good accountancy practices using up-to-date computer technology, a spirit of cooperation within states and between states and the IAEA, and creative, innovative approaches. Finally, Murakami discussed the agency’s plans for future activities as well as lessons the agency has learned. Planned activities included developing norms and guidelines for nuclear material accounting and control (including revised SSAC guidelines and handbooks), SSAC training, the provision of SSAC evaluation services to member states, regional events to exchange ideas and discuss issues of regional interest, and the provision of upgraded SSAC equipment. The lessons that the IAEA has learned through these experiences include that the establishment of an effective SSAC often takes more time than expected, requires significant resources, demands commitment from all parties involved, and needs a clear, focused action plan with a practical timeline. In summary, Murakami pointed out that strong and well-functioning SSACs are critical for safeguards implementation and nuclear security. The IAEA can help to coordinate state and facility assistance. Assistance from donor states is crucial, given the agency’s limited resources. Developing a positive safeguards culture is an evolutionary process because of staff, sociological, economic, and cultural changes. He concluded by saying that positive results have been achieved through the combined efforts of all parties, and that this effort has made a significant difference in improving nuclear security and implementing safeguards. Anita Nilsson, Head of the Office of Nuclear Security in the Department of Nuclear Safety and Security, further described that department’s activities in support of improving nuclear security. She argued that an effective approach to MPC&A will acknowledge the interdependence among physical protection, control, and accounting of nuclear materials. The international community should agree on security standards that are both high and sustainable so that, for example, security guards do not simply turn security equipment off when it malfunctions. Nilsson also argued for the establishment of effective mechanisms for exchanging information and learning from bilateral cooperation, a common platform for standards and improvements that facilitates the cycle of program implementation and review, and accountability structures that surpass those required by safeguards agreements, to enable facility-by-facility reviews. Pierre Goldschmidt, Deputy Director General for Safeguards, provided an overview of the challenges the IAEA faces in implementing the NPT safeguards regime. He began by noting that the nuclear nonproliferation compliance challenges that have confronted the international community in recent years have arisen even as the IAEA safeguards regime has become more robust than ever before.

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Protection, Control, and Accounting of Nuclear Materials: International Challenges and National Programs - Workshop Summary Goldschmidt explained that the “comprehensive” system of NPT safeguards that was negotiated in the early 1970s, and that forms the basis of most of the safeguards agreements between the agency and NPT signatories, operates on the assumption that the state has furnished the agency with all relevant information. Under comprehensive safeguards, therefore, inspector access is usually restricted to specific locations within nuclear facilities, which limits the ability of the agency to detect activities or materials that have not been declared. Inspectors are only able to verify the correctness of a state’s declaration, not its completeness. The Additional Protocol was created to remedy this weakness by requiring much more information from member states, granting agency inspectors broader rights of access (often referred to as “complementary access”), and permitting the inspectors to use more invasive verification methods. The agency synthesizes this wide array of information with open-source data such as the news media and professional journals to assess both the correctness and the completeness of a member state’s nuclear declaration. In the process, the agency develops an understanding of a state’s nuclear complex as a whole, rather than focusing only on individual facilities, as was done in the past. Once the agency is confident that it has a complete picture of the state’s nuclear facilities, activities, and materials and that no materials have been diverted to military uses, it has reached its goal of “integrated safeguards” for that state.2 Integrated safeguards will provide the agency with the most potent set of tools yet available for ensuring that nuclear material is being used in accordance with treaty stipulations. Goldschmidt explained that a number of legal, technological, and financial challenges must be overcome before the strengthened safeguards system that is envisioned can be fully implemented. The primary legal, or political, challenge that the agency faces is that strengthened safeguards can only be implemented in states that have both a comprehensive safeguards agreement and an Additional Protocol in place. Goldschmidt urged that member states accept the Additional Protocol, noting that relatively few states have done so to date.3 Goldschmidt cited a number of technical challenges as well. The state of the art in nuclear technology is constantly evolving, as demonstrated by the fact that Iraq explored six different uranium enrichment techniques in its clandestine nuclear program. At the same time, the technology and expertise required for a covert nuclear weapons program have become more accessible. The fact that 2   More information about integrated safeguards may be found in sections A and H of International Atomic Energy Agency, “The Safeguards System of the International Atomic Energy Agency,” available at http://www.iaea.org/OurWork/SV/Safeguards/safeg_system.pdf, accessed April 20, 2005. 3   This situation has improved since the workshop was held in September 2003, but quite a few NPT signatories have yet to conclude their initial comprehensive safeguards agreements with the agency. Of the 189 states party to the NPT, 150 have comprehensive safeguards agreements in force. Of these, 65 had additional protocols in force as of 1 March 2005. See “Safeguards Current Status,” at http://www.iaea.org/OurWork/SV/Safeguards/sir_table.pdf, accessed April 20, 2005.

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Protection, Control, and Accounting of Nuclear Materials: International Challenges and National Programs - Workshop Summary only a few laboratories in the world have the capability of analyzing the hundreds of samples that the new inspection regime will produce is a specific challenge. Still, the changing technical realities of nuclear energy offer the agency some opportunities as well. The agency is participating in research into ways to build “proliferation resistance” into new nuclear reactor and fuel cycle technologies by making them unattractive as sources of material for nuclear weapons. Goldschmidt also expressed support for multinational approaches to managing and disposing of spent nuclear fuel and radioactive waste. The third general challenge that must be overcome to implement strengthened safeguards is that of insufficient funding for agency activities. Goldschmidt applauded the recent decision of the IAEA Board of Governors to significantly increase the agency’s budget, with most of the increase intended for verification activities. However, this was the first such increase in over a decade, and the safeguards program will continue to be stretched financially as demands on the program increase. One idea that has been considered is adding a surcharge for the cost of IAEA activities to the cost of electricity generated by nuclear energy. Goldschmidt said that he did not expect this proposal to be approved, however. In addition to these general issues, Goldschmidt noted that the international nuclear nonproliferation regime faces specific challenges in North Korea, Iran, and Iraq. These challenges, in his view, underscore the need for the safeguards system to be not only effective and efficient but also adaptable in its response. He closed by expressing his belief that the best hope for progress in nuclear nonproliferation and disarmament is that those individuals, agencies, and governments that are involved work together effectively. Nikolai Khlebnikov of the Department of Safeguards discussed the challenges for the future development of safeguards equipment. He began by pointing out that, drawing on 30 years of experience, the IAEA has developed a wide, sound range of equipment and techniques to support safeguards and verification activities. There are 25,000 items in the agency’s safeguards equipment inventory, worth more than $90 million. There are over 100 types of equipment that are authorized for use by inspectors, and the equipment has an average life span of 7 years. Approximately $11 million is spent on equipment annually. The first of the future challenges for IAEA safeguards equipment that Khlebnikov discussed was sustainability, which he defined as “having the capability to maintain a sound equipment management infrastructure in a rapidly developing technical environment.” He noted that equipment can become obsolete rapidly because of the evolving character of the market for technical products. As a result, new research and development work is required to replace the obsolete instruments. In turn, this leads to requirements for testing, documentation, and training. The second challenge was the need to upgrade equipment. The efforts to strengthen and integrate safeguards described by Goldschmidt imposed new requirements on existing equipment. These might include modifications of the

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Protection, Control, and Accounting of Nuclear Materials: International Challenges and National Programs - Workshop Summary instruments as well as testing, documentation, and training. The new requirements include the capability to operate in tandem with an SSAC, and the ability for the agency to retrieve data remotely, without compromising data security the ability to operate for extended periods without attention between inspection visits an extended remote data transmission capability increased sensitivity for detecting nuclear materials improved portability for use with complementary access visits Another challenge for IAEA equipment is that it must be able to operate in new facilities that present new monitoring and verification challenges. Some new nuclear facilities are automated and remotely operated. To address this challenge, Khlebnikov explained, the agency was developing facility-specific unattended assay and monitoring systems, with the goal of minimizing the equipment’s impact on facility operations while providing highly reliable and authentic data. Key elements of this approach included designing and installing monitoring systems well before a facility was commissioned and designing a system that integrated different sensors. Khlebnikov explained that detection of undeclared nuclear material and activities also presents an important challenge for safeguards equipment. The move toward state-based (rather than facility-based) safeguards assessments mandated a shift in equipment development objectives. Khlebnikov said that there was a need for more sensitive devices for detecting nuclear material and for systems that could monitor environmental and other parameters that might indicate the presence of undeclared facilities and activities. He discussed several specific examples of equipment, including a hand-held monitor and a “suitcase” neutron detector with improved sensitivity to gamma and neutron radiation detection of Trace UF6 concentrations using laser spectroscopy anti-neutrino measurements for the detection of undeclared plutonium ground penetrating radar to verify facility design information and detect undeclared activities monitoring of Krypton 85 levels for detecting undeclared reprocessing facilities wide area monitoring to facilitate implementation of the Additional Protocol use of satellite imagery to detect undeclared material or facilities Next, Khlebnikov described some possible features of the next generation of safeguards verification technology. Features of the next generation of digital

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Protection, Control, and Accounting of Nuclear Materials: International Challenges and National Programs - Workshop Summary surveillance technologies will likely include full color displays, adjustable zoom and focus for specific images, transmission using secure encryption techniques, and laser ranging and scanning techniques to confirm that spent-fuel casks had not been moved. The next generation of non-destructive assay equipment will probably be more “intelligent,” have enhanced sensitivity and accuracy to help it deal with new verification challenges like hold-up (known in the United States as “material unaccounted for”) and nuclear waste, and be able to integrate data from other computer systems used by inspectors. Khlebnikov also discussed technology designed to facilitate safeguards verification when IAEA inspectors are not present. He explained that the IAEA is increasingly turning to unattended monitoring systems that monitor the flow of nuclear material. There are over 80 such systems operating in more than 20 states. The agency has also installed a number of remote monitoring systems that use video cameras to monitor activity. Transmission of the video data to the agency is a major cost factor with regard to these systems. Finally, the agency is replacing the metal, Cobra, and electronic seals it used in the past with new ones that include improved authentication and tamper-indicating features and allow verification results and other information to be directly sent to the agency. Khlebnikov also discussed some of the ways in which his office supports the IAEA’s efforts in the nuclear security arena to detect malicious activities involving nuclear and other radioactive materials. One of these support functions is to develop new technical measures to detect and respond to illicit nuclear trafficking. This includes developing, testing, and publishing specifications for border monitoring equipment; improving hand-held isotope identification equipment; and improving verification of legal shipments of nuclear and radioactive materials. It also includes supporting the work of the agency’s Nuclear Security Equipment Laboratory. Next, Khlebnikov summarized some of the limitations and restrictions relating to IAEA verification technology some agency requirements are unique and necessitate special development programs field equipment must be able to operate in harsh environments instrumentation must be as non-intrusive as possible and must protect confidential information techniques must be reliable and cost-effective, particularly in light of the agency’s limited financial resources agency safeguards technology can only be used where inspectors have access Khlebnikov added that the IAEA has no independent ability to develop equipment, but rather is dependent upon member states’ “technology holders.” He encouraged workshop participants to share the results of their research and

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Protection, Control, and Accounting of Nuclear Materials: International Challenges and National Programs - Workshop Summary development activities with the IAEA, in order to increase IAEA detection capabilities, particularly for the detection of undeclared nuclear activities. Khlebnikov ended his presentation by concluding that the IAEA is facing a number of challenges in the area of safeguards equipment, but that a systematic equipment development program is under way.

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