Säteilyturvakeskus (STUK)

Strengthening the Nuclear Material Control Systems in Africa


The African Commission on Nuclear Energy (AFCONE) is preparing to launch an ambitious five-year programme “Strengthening the Nuclear Material Control Systems in Africa” in 2023, that aims to collectively uplift nuclear safeguards in Africa. This programme will be implemented with the expert support of the Radiation and Nuclear Safety Authority of Finland (STUK) and will be financed by the European Union and the Republic of Finland.

“This programme we are preparing now is a major opportunity to build ownership for nuclear safeguards in Africa. African States are in different stages when it comes to the peaceful uses of nuclear energy, and many need to build capacity to maintain State Systems of Accounting for and Control of Nuclear Materials and to effectively implement IAEA safeguards” says Enobot Agboraw, Executive Secretary of the AFCONE.

“For STUK, this is a beginning for an exciting journey as we have not previously worked in Africa in this scale. However, we are experienced in regulatory control of nuclear materials and in providing expert support in non-proliferation matters, as Finland was the first country in the world to bring a CSA in to force, already for 50 years ago. Because we have the knowhow, we have a duty to share knowledge. This our way of contributing to safety globally”, Director General Petteri Tiippana from STUK comments.

Safeguards are a set of technical measures that are applied by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to nuclear facilities and material. Through these technical measures, the IAEA seeks to independently verify a State’s legal obligation that nuclear facilities are not misused, and nuclear material is not diverted from peaceful purposes. Currently, 47African States have signed a comprehensive safeguards agreement (CSA) with the IAEA. Concluding a CSA with the IAEA is a legal requirement under the Pelindaba Treaty that established the African Nuclear-Weapon-Free Zone.

The IAEA safeguards system is a fundamental part of the international nuclear non-proliferation regime. Nuclear safeguards is the key prerequisite for the peaceful uses of nuclear energy. Therefore, the ambition to benefit from the atom in energy production or in other fields, such as healthcare, must first be demonstrated through a national commitment to develop effective regulatory controls over nuclear materials – that is nuclear safeguards. In practice this task is usually assigned to a team of dedicated safeguards experts in the national regulatory organisation, who keep nuclear material accountancy and participate in and facilitate IAEA safeguards inspections.

Uplifting nuclear safeguards in Africa Programme

The main goal of AFCONE’s safeguards programme is to provide support for the development of effective nuclear safeguards and effective systems of accountancy and control of nuclear materials as key elements of nuclear non-proliferation in Africa. At the same time, AFCONE itself will receive peer-support from STUK, to ramp up its operations as a regional knowledge-hub and coordinator for safeguards activities. The Pelindaba Treaty entered in to force in 2009 and AFCONE is the inter-governmental organisation set-up to ensure implementation of the Treaty in Africa, including regional support and coordination of nuclear safeguards.

“In Africa, there is a real momentum for developing safeguards. There is commitment at national levels, there is the regional support structure – AFCONE –, and now we can also benefit from Finland’s top-of-the-line safeguards expertise. I see that in five years we can really improve regulatory control for nuclear materials in many African countries and build sustainable regional structures”, Agboraw concludes.


Project manager Ossi Lång, p. +358 975 988 302

About Säteilyturvakeskus (STUK)

Säteilyturvakeskus (STUK)
Säteilyturvakeskus (STUK)
Jokiniemenkuja 1
01370 Vantaa

Mediapalvelu: 010 850 4761http://www.stuk.fi

Säteilyturvakeskus (STUK) on säteily- ja ydinturvallisuutta valvova viranomainen. Tehtävämme on ihmisten, yhteiskunnan, ympäristön ja tulevien sukupolvien suojelu säteilyn haitallisilta vaikutuksilta. STUKissa oli vuoden 2022 alussa yhteensä 336 työntekijää.

Strålsäkerhetscentralen (STUK) är en myndighet som övervakar strål- och kärnsäkerheten. Vårt uppdrag är att skydda människorna, samhället, miljön och de framtida generationerna för strålningens skadliga konsekvenser. I början av 2022 hade STUK sammanlagt 336 anställda.

Radiation and Nuclear Safety Authority (STUK) supervises radiation and nuclear safety in Finland. Our mission is to protect people, society, the environment and future generations from the detrimental effects of radiation. At the beginning of 2022 STUK had 336 employees.

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