Innovative Australian technology will be used to help an international
team detect clandestine nuclear activities following an agreement
between two scientific organisations.
The Minister for Foreign Affairs and the Minister for
Science today welcomed the agreement between the Australian Nuclear
Science and Technology Organisation (ANSTO) and the Vienna-based
International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).
The agreement accredits the Australian organisation
to the international nuclear watchdog's Network of Analytical Laboratories
and means Australian experts in Accelerator Mass Spectrometry will
analyse samples from installations around the globe to detect any
undeclared development of nuclear weapons.
"Australia is no stranger to assisting other nations
on nuclear safeguards issues," Mr Downer said.
"We have played a leading role in strengthening the
International Atomic Energy Agency's safeguards system which underpins
international nuclear cooperation and regional and global nuclear
"Now ANSTO joins the select group of formally accredited
organisations used by the IAEA for safeguards."
Mr McGauran said the International Atomic Energy Agency
had conducted environmental sampling around the world since 1996,
using a variety of highly specialised measurement capabilities.
"But significantly, ANSTO's accelerator mass spectrometry
facility is the first of its kind to be accredited to the laboratory
network," Mr McGauran said.
"It is strong recognition indeed of the world-class
performance of the people running this facility, following the Agency's
stringent audit of its analysis capabilities and systems late last
"The agreement also highlights Australia's ongoing innovation
in this field of science."
Media inquiries: Darren Chester (Mr McGauran's office) 02 6277