Hungary has made commendable progress in implementing recommendations from an International Physical Protection Advisory Service (IPPAS) mission conducted in 2013, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has said. A follow-up IPPAS mission was completed today.
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.
An IPPAS team today completed a two-week follow-up mission to Hungary. The previous IPPAS mission to the country was conducted in from 26 May to 7 June 2013. The IAEA carried out its first IPPAS mission to Hungary in 1997.
The purpose of the latest IPPAS mission, as agreed with the Hungarian government, included the legislative and regulatory framework for nuclear security. It also included the physical protection of nuclear and other radioactive material and associated facilities and activities, including computer security. Hungary's implementation of the 2005 Amendment to the Convention on the Physical Protection of Nuclear Material, which entered into force last year, was also discussed. This amendment, which Hungary ratified in 2008, provides a strengthened framework for protecting nuclear materials and facilities.
The IAEA team was briefed on security arrangements for Hungary's planned construction of two new reactors at the Paks nuclear power plant, as well as nuclear material accounting and control for security at the state level and at nuclear facilities.
The mission team visited the Paks plant and the Püspökszilágy radioactive waste treatment and disposal facility to observe physical protection measures. They also met with officials from the Hungarian Atomic Energy Agency (HAEA), the National Police Headquarters and other organisations involved in nuclear security.
The IAEA team concluded that Hungary has made commendable progress in implementing the recommendations and suggestions of the previous mission. It also identified a number of good practices, while also making additional 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 expand this capacity by constructing new power reactors." He added, "Hungary's example in applying IAEA Nuclear Security guidance and using IAEA advisory services demonstrates its strong commitment to nuclear security as well as the value of Agency assistance in helping States to establish and maintain an effective nuclear security regime."
HAEA deputy director general Szabolcs Hullán said, "We are satisfied with the report of this mission that serves as an independent review of our nuclear security regime. I am very proud that the team could identify good practices to be shared with the international community."