A team of International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) experts completed a mission to review national nuclear security practices in Armenia. The IAEA conducted a two-week International Physical Protection Advisory Service (IPPAS) mission at the request of Armenia’s Government. The mission reviewed the country’s nuclear security-related legislative and regulatory framework for nuclear and other radioactive material and associated facilities and activities, as well as security arrangements applied to the transport of radioactive sources. The team also reviewed physical protection systems at the Armenian Nuclear Power Plant (NPP) and at three facilities where high activity sources are used or stored. The IPPAS team concluded that Armenia’s nuclear security is robust and that important progress has been made in enhancing nuclear security since a previous IPPAS mission in 2003. The team also identified several good practices in the national nuclear security regime and at the visited facilities. At the same time, it made recommendations and suggestions for further improvements in nuclear security. “The development of a nuclear power programme requires a strong commitment to security. Armenia provides an example that demonstrates the value of international cooperation, the importance of applying IAEA Security Standards, and how best to make use of the Agency’s advisory services,” said Carlos Torres Vidal, Head of the IAEA’s Nuclear Security of Materials and Facilities Section. Ashot Martirosyan, the Chairman of Armenia’s Nuclear Regulatory Authority, added: “The IPPAS mission was very useful in improving Armenia’s nuclear security regime. Armenia will establish an action plan and will implement the recommendations and suggestions in the near future.” The IAEA team was led by Nancy Fragoyannis, a Senior Level Advisor for Nonproliferation and International Nuclear Security at the United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission. It included seven experts from five countries and the IAEA. While in Yerevan, the team met officials from the Nuclear Regulatory Authority (State Committee for Nuclear Safety Regulation under the Armenian Government); the National Security Service; the Ministry of Energy and Natural Resources; and the Foreign Ministry and the National Police. They also visited the Armenian NPP; the radioactive waste facility “Rendering Harmless of Radioactive Wastes” CJSC; and the “National Centre of Oncology after V.A. Fanarjyan.”
Background This was the 65th IPPAS mission conducted by the IAEA since the programme began in 1995, and the second one hosted by Armenia. The first mission to Armenia took place in November 2003. IPPAS missions are intended to help States strengthen their national nuclear security regime. The missions provide peer advice on implementing international instruments, and IAEA guidance on the protection of nuclear and other radioactive material and associated facilities and activities. The missions call upon a team of international experts to assess a nation’s system of physical protection, compare it with international best practices and make recommendations for improvement. IPPAS missions are conducted both on a nationwide and facility-specific basis.