Statement at the International Conference on Nuclear Security (ICONS), Vienna, 10-14 February 2020


German National Statement

Parliamentary State Secretary
Rita Schwarzelühr-Sutter

International Conference on Nuclear Security: Sustaining and Strengthening Efforts

10–14 February 2020, Vienna, Austria

Mr. Chairperson,


Ladies and gentlemen,

On behalf of the German government, I would like to thank the International Atomic Energy Agency for organizing this comprehensive and ambitious conference.

As this is the first Ministerial Conference convened under the leadership of DG Rafael Grossi, Germany would like to join others in welcoming him at the helm of the IAEA and in pledging our full support to him and the entire IAEA team.

I would also like to commend Panama and Romania for successfully leading the negotiations on the Final Declaration of our Conference.

Mr. Chairperson,

Although Germany is phasing out nuclear power generation, we will be all the more active in the fields of decommissioning and waste management for many years to come – and in cooperating with the IAEA to that effect. At the same time, Germany will continue to play an active role in the continuous development and improvement of nuclear safety and security.

Germany attaches extraordinary importance to work related to IAEA’s safeguards to ensure that nuclear technologies are not diverted to military uses. Our Member States Support Programme for IAEA Safeguards dates back to 1978 and is one of the most active. Germany promotes the universalization of the Additional Protocol as verification standard. We also strongly support the further development of the IAEA’s State-level safeguards approaches.

Germany is a significant contributor to the Agency’s fund for Technical Cooperation. As Co-Chair of the Friends of ReNuAL, Germany has strongly supported the modernization of the Agency’s Laboratories at Seibersdorf and has provided extra-budgetary contributions amounting to some 11 million Euros since 2011.

Germany will also continue to support the IAEA strongly in ensuring that nuclear technologies are used safely and – to focus on the issue at hand –  securely.

In this context, I wish to highlight three issues central to Germany, namely financial resources, computer security and information exchange:

On resources: We all agree that the Agency has a central role in coordination and capacity building in the global nuclear security regime. To carry out this important role, the IAEA must be provided with sufficient and sustainable resources. We applaud the generosity of Member States who have contributed to the Nuclear Security Fund – Germany has done its part with more than 5 million euros – and encourage further Members to contribute to the Fund. We underline the need for reliable and sufficient resources for the Agency to implement its nuclear security activities, not only from the Nuclear Security Fund, but also from the regular budget.

Secondly, the issue of computer security: Germany is keenly aware of the increasing threat of digital attacks on critical infrastructure worldwide. This threat affects the IAEA itself, but also nuclear infrastructure and materials in Member States. We therefore welcome the Agency's efforts to address the growing need for support on computer security issues. We also strongly support the efforts of the IAEA to embed computer security provisions into the recommendation-level documents and to step up capacity building in this regard. As I promised in 2016, Germany recently hosted a week-long IAEA Technical Meeting on nuclear computer security in Berlin with 147 participants from 67 countries.

Sharing experiences and identifying best practices is the most suitable basis for policy development.

Sharing is also my third key issue: We commend the Agency for its continued work on the Incident and Trafficking Database, which we consider to be an important source of information. We encourage Member States to contribute actively to the database. We regret that it was not possible to include a reference to the ITDB in the Ministerial Statement.

Finally, Germany attaches great importance to the security of radioactive sources. We warmly invite all participants to the side-event organized by France, the United States and Germany on “Strengthening the Security of High Activity Sealed Radioactive Sources” on Tuesday at lunchtime.

Mr. Chairperson,


Ladies and gentlemen,

For Germany, nuclear security remains an indispensable prerequisite for effective nuclear non-proliferation and the effective suppression of nuclear terrorism. That is why we will continue to do all we can to support the efforts of the International Atomic Energy Agency to improve sustainable global nuclear security.

I am looking forward to intensive and fruitful discussions, and I am certain that this conference will make a key contribution to enhancing protection against terrorist acts using nuclear or other radioactive material.

Thank you very much for your attention.

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