Vienna, 8 July 2005 Press release

Austrian Initiative to Enhance the Protection of Nuclear Material Adopted


Amended Convention represents an important contribution in the fight against terrorism and in the interest of nuclear non-proliferation

Vienna, 8 July 2005 - Today, on the closing day of a one-week conference held at the Austria Center in Vienna, the 112 States Parties to the Convention on the Physical Protection of Nuclear Material (CPPNM) agreed on an amendment to the Convention. The objective of the meeting was to adapt the agreement, the wording of which dates back to the 1970s, to present-day requirements, the concrete goal being to make it legally binding on the States Parties to the Convention to take more effective measures in order to protect nuclear material and to prevent it from falling into the wrong hands. The obligations aimed at strengthening the protection regime for nuclear material have now been expanded to include nuclear facilities and material in peaceful domestic use, storage as well as transport and were moreover supplemented by provisions under criminal law. The amended Convention thus contributes substantially to the fight against terrorism and represents an important step towards achieving the objective of nuclear non-proliferation.

The conference represents the final stage in a negotiation process which has lasted for many years and in which Austria has played a decisive role. The proposed wording of the amendment now adopted is based on a draft introduced by Austria on behalf of 24 other States Parties in summer 2004 and actually made this conference possible in the first place. The Austrian initiative was endorsed inter alia by the United States, the United Kingdom and France and eventually also won the support of China and Russia. Especially on the territory of the former Soviet Union an enhanced protection regime for nuclear material is of essential importance. At a time when it is rather difficult to successfully conclude negotiations in the field of nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation, the success achieved at this conference represents an important signal from the international community that it is indeed possible to find solutions for global problems within the framework of multilateral fora.