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Lao officials learn nuclear safeguards
Publication Date : 03-09-2013
The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs held a national workshop in Vientiane last week to boost knowledge on atomic energy safeguards among government and international workers.
The meeting was the first held in Laos since the country joined the IAEA in 2011, and also allowed for discussions on local management and inspection of radioactive materials.
IAEA is the intergovernmental forum for cooperation in the safe, secure and peaceful use of nuclear science and technology. The association works with member states and multiple partners worldwide to help them benefit from the contribution of nuclear technology to sustainable development.
IAEA safeguards are a central part of international efforts to prevent the spread of nuclear weapons, and workshop participants learnt about various aspects of the safeguards and coming new protocols and amendments.
Acting Director General of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs' Department of International Organisation, Phoxay Khaykhamphithoun, and IAEA Director General's Office for Policy Policy Coordination Officer, Shota Kamishima, chaired the workshop, which had more than 50 participants from various ministries.
While nuclear or radioactive materials can be highly useful in the energy, industrial, agricultural and health sectors, they can also pose a number of dangers.
Phoxay said without good management and control, use of nuclear materials was risky for humans, especially if such items fell into the hands of terrorist groups.
He cited the destruction of the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki by atomic bombs during the Second World War in 1945 and the Chernobyl nuclear power plant disaster in Ukraine in 1986 as two examples of the dangers of nuclear energy.
Phoxay said the Lao government was persistent in its push for a world free from weapons of mass destruction, including nuclear weapons.
However, he said the Lao government supported the peaceful use of nuclear power, and was a signatory to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons, the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test Ban Treaty, the Biological Weapons Convention and the Chemical Weapons Convention.
Kamishima praised Lao participation in various IAEA programmes, and said cooperation had expanded recently in areas such as technical collaboration, nuclear security and cancer therapy.