Afternoon Session:  ABACC: Designing and Implementing Bilateral Inspections in Argentina and Brazil

Dr. Ariel Levite

This afternoon, we will be hearing a presentation by Dr. Marzo that will focus on the evolution and the implementation of ABACC, as well as the distinct features of ABACC as compared to the IAEA safeguard system. Dr. Marzo will accompany his presentation with slides and transparencies, then we will have some discussion, and then concluding remarks by Gideon Frank. So, Marco without any further need to introduce you, please.

Dr. Marco Marzo

Thank you again for the opportunity to speak. I will divide this presentation into several parts. After a brief introduction, I will speak about the Bilateral Agreement for the Exclusively Peaceful Uses of Nuclear Energy. Next, I will address the Common System of Accounting and Control of Nuclear Material that was created by the Bilateral Agreement. I will then describe ABACC’s activities since its creation, and explain the structure of ABACC, as it was created in the Bilateral Agreement to implement the common system of accounting and control. After that, I will speak about the implementation of ABACC, and its relationship with the other parties to the Quadripartite Agreement, especially its relationship with the IAEA.

Before I start the presentation, I want to provide some information about Brazil and Argentina. Brazil and Argentina occupy about two-thirds of the South American region. Brazil is about 8.5 million square km, and Argentina is about 3 million square km.

The population of Brazil grows so fast that when I prepared this transparency, it was 155 million, but now it’s already 160 million. It’s incredible. S o Paulo is the biggest city in Brazil. I think it’s the third largest city in the world. In the city alone, not including the rest of the state of Sao Paulo, there are 18 million people, and its population increases every year by 500,000 people. The population in Argentina, I think, is more stable than in Brazil, at almost 35 million people.

I think Mr. Carasales explained in detail the development of the relationship between Brazil and Argentina, but I would just like to review some of the main facts. In 1980, the first agreement between Brazil and Argentina on the peaceful uses of nuclear energy was signed, but only some aspects, concerning radiological protection and safety, were implemented.

We really started our relationship in 1987, with the Declaration of Viedma. This declaration marked the first Brazilian delegation visit to the Pilcaniyeu enrichment plant. A few months later, we had the Declaration of Ipero, the place where the Brazilian centrifuge enrichment plant is located, only 100 km from Sao Paulo. This declaration marked the visit by the Argentine delegation, consisting of scientific people and enrichment experts, to this centrifuge plant.

After that, there were many other declarations, but the most important one was the second declaration of Foz de Iguazu in November 1990. This declaration formed the basis for bilateral control. We, as technical people, had been asked to prepare a common system of control in both countries in July 1990. It was always very mysterious that we should prepare a common system. Really it was not the correct name—“common system.” We were asked to homogenize the safeguards system in Brazil and Argentina, but this was a very difficult process because there were different rules and norms to take into account.

We met more or less five or six times in 1990. We met the Argentinean people once in Brazil, once in Argentina, and we prepared a common system. What do I mean by “common system?” A common system means that Brazil and Argentina should have the same safeguards system. That is, if one organization, or company, or people wanted to use nuclear materials, they would have the same responsibilities, rules to follow, and the same rights in both Argentina and Brazil.

Along with this common system, we needed to implement a mutual inspection regime. At that time, in July or August through November of 1990, we never heard about international safeguards. We also did not hear about a new organization—ABACC—for this mutual inspection regime. We intended at the time that the Nuclear Energy Commission in Brazil would inspect Argentina and the Argentine commission would inspect Brazil.

Then, in November of 1990, Brazil and Argentina signed the second declaration of Foz de Iguazu, and we started negotiating the formal Bilateral Agreement. This agreement was signed in July 1991 in Guadalajara. In December 1991, the Bilateral Agreement entered into force. But the nuclear control activities started before the signature of the Bilateral Agreement. Between December 1990 and December 1991, we started implementing the mutual inspection regime. In January 1991, Brazil and Argentina exchanged nuclear material inventory report lists, nuclear facilities lists, and we started a kind of ad hoc inspection regime before signing the Bilateral Agreement.

When this happened, the technical people from both countries were very surprised. After we started with the implementation of this ad hoc mutual inspection regime, we were asked to negotiate the international Quadripartite Agreement with the IAEA. The process was very fast, with the Quadripartite Agreement signed in December 1991. That means the Bilateral Agreement and the Quadripartite Agreement were negotiated, entered into force and were signed almost simultaneously, with a difference of only six months between them.

Later, the Quadripartite Agreement took a relatively long time—two years—to be approved in the Congress of Brazil. In my opinion, this was important because it gave time for ABACC to implement its activities. If the Quadripartite Agreement had entered into force very fast, then ABACC would have had less time to be ready.

Let me summarize the international commitments of the two countries. The bilateral agreement creates ABACC, which carries out the regional safeguards. The commitment by both countries to the Tlatelolco Treaty, and by Argentina to the NPT, is basically overshadowed by the Quadripartite Agreement. The Quadripartite Agreement has provisions for the implementation of IAEA safeguards and ABACC safeguards.

Under the Quadripartite Agreement, ABACC carries out regional safeguards and the IAEA carries out international safeguards. But the Agency is also supposed to evaluate and take into account the regional safeguards when it performs its own activities.

This is very complicated because we have so many interfaces. The first goal was to create an organization quite similar to Euratom, but ABACC is not similar to Euratom. There are a lot of differences. The main difference is that, in the Euratom system, there is no national level. For instance, in Italy, Germany, Portugal and Spain, we don’t have the national level anymore. Euratom has direct contact with the operator, and Euratom has responsibility over the nuclear material. In the case of this regional system, the ABACC system, we still have the national level. That means that we have the operator level; the state level, the nuclear energy commissions, respectively in Brazil and Argentina; ABACC’s level; and the Agency’s level. That’s complicated, because there are so many interfaces. But it works.

The Bilateral Agreement established the Common System for Accounting and Control, the SCCC, which is a set of procedures to detect, with a reasonable degree of certainty, whether nuclear materials are being diverted for uses not authorized under the terms of the agreement. That is really the normal commitment of the safeguards agreement. And the Bilateral Agreement established ABACC, which was created to administer the SCCC.

The Bilateral Agreement established Rio de Janeiro as the headquarters of ABACC. ABACC’s structure consists of a Commission, like a Board of Governors, and the Secretariat. Because the headquarters of ABACC is in Rio de Janeiro, ABACC negotiated a headquarters agreement with the Brazilian Government, which is kind of like a privileges and immunities agreement. And later, ABACC and the Argentine Government also signed a privileges and immunities agreement.

The Bilateral Agreement has a Basic Control Undertaking that commits both countries to using their nuclear materials and facilities exclusively for peaceful purposes. I want to emphasize that this definition—“exclusively for peaceful purposes”—does not exclude military activities. All of the military activities in Brazil in the nuclear field are under ABACC’s safeguards. From the practical point of view, this is very complicated because, for instance, if the centrifuge enrichment plant is on a Navy base—the grounds are considered a military base—then we from ABACC and the Agency still have to inspect a military base.

The safeguards approach of these facilities foresees no announced inspections, which makes it difficult to perform an inspection on a military base installation. An unannounced inspection is, of course, what we are performing, but this has lead to many practical difficulties because of the military hierarchy, military secrets, and other installations in the same place.

So, basically, Brazil and Argentina undertake to prohibit and prevent in their respective territories and to abstain from carrying out, promoting, or authorizing directly or indirectly, or from participating in any way in: the testing, use, manufacture, production, or acquisition by any means of any nuclear weapon; and the receipt, storage, installation, deployment, or any other form of possession of any nuclear weapon.

I would say that this is the Basic Control Undertaking, to submit all nuclear materials and all nuclear activities, independent of whether they are military or not, carried out in the territories of Argentina and Brazil or anywhere in their jurisdiction or control to the SCCC.

The SCCC consists of the general procedures and application manuals for each category of installation. This is more or less the same as in the Agency: the application manuals are similar to the IAEA facility attachments. But, there is an important difference: in the normal facility attachment of the Agency, only the relationship between the facility and the Agency is foreseen. But the application manuals also introduce all of the relationships between the facility operator and the state level, and between the state level and ABACC. This is the main difference between application manuals and facility attachments.

The general procedures contain the directives of the SCCC, and they are fully compatible with the provisions of INFCIRC/153. These phrases look very simple, but it was lot of work to make the SCCC compatible with INFCIRC/153. If you remember, in Brazil and in Argentina, like here in Israel, we had agreements under INFCIRC/66. When we prepared the common system for the first time in 1990, we prepared everything based on INFCIRC/66. Later, when we were informed that we should negotiate an agreement with the Agency, we had to change our whole system from 66 to 153. This was a lot of work, mainly for the operators because they had to change the record and report system in the facility.

The general procedures also contain the requirements for the operator and state levels, not only the implementation of ABACC activities, but also the other levels. Chapter One of the General Procedures contains the basic criteria, including the provision for the starting point, exemption and termination of safeguards. I would note that the starting point for safeguards is exactly the same definition that is used by the IAEA.

We also included in the basic criteria the conditions to establish the annual frequency of the inspection effort for each facility. These criteria take into account many variables, including the quantity and types of nuclear material, the strategic importance of the facility, the relationship between the facility and other facilities in the country, the technical effectiveness of the operator measurement system, and other variables. This was an attempt to have some clear, transparent conditions to establish the frequency of inspections at a given facility. As you know, under INFCIRC/153, the guidelines are so broad that the IAEA can make as many inspections as they like. In my opinion, the IAEA has an arbitrary inspection effort determination. So here we have more fixed rules to establish the frequency.

Chapter Two of the General Procedures contains the requirements for the licensing of nuclear facilities and other locations. This is the provision for the relevant information that the operator has to provide for the SCCC and to keep at the facility, the physical inventory of nuclear materials taken by the operator, and the measurement systems to be used.

Chapter Three contains the state procedures for the application of the SCCC. This covers the reports system that each country has to submit to ABACC, the notifications, and the domestic inspections.

Chapter Four has the provisions for the application of the SCCC by ABACC, including the bilateral inspections. It outlines how Brazil’s inspectors must go to Argentina and Argentina’s inspectors must go to Brazil.

The Commission of ABACC, which functions as a Board of Governors, consists of four members, two from each country. In the agreement, it is not established what skills the members of the Commission must have, they may be important people or scientists. Up to now, the two members from Brazil are the President of the national Nuclear Energy Commission and a representative from the Foreign Ministry. From Argentina, it is the same—the president of the national regulatory body and a representative of the Foreign Ministry.

The Secretariat consists of technical and administrative officers, who are designated by the Commission. We also have the administrative personnel and inspectors. The senior officers from each country take turns each year to act as Secretary General of ABACC. For instance, this year, the Argentinean officer is the Secretary General, and the main Brazilian officer is the Deputy Secretary. Next year, they alternate, the Brazilian will be the Secretary, and the Argentinean the Deputy Secretary.

So ABACC has a Secretary, who is now the Argentinean officer, one Deputy Secretary, and two officers for each of the following areas: planning and evaluation, operations, accounting and technical support. Always one Brazilian and one Argentinean for each area; everything is symmetric.

Now about the inspectors, which I think is the more important issue. The inspectors are not permanent staff members of ABACC. The team of inspectors consists of 70 experts, about 35 from each country. They are experts in several areas of safeguards interests, not just people working in the safeguards division. We can also convoke people for inspection teams who work in the enrichment facilities, in reactor power plants, in fuel fabrication plants, and other areas.

The Commission approves a list of names from those suggested by the governments, and the Secretariat selects the inspectors for each inspection from this list. The inspections are performed on a cross-national basis, and they are convoked by the Secretariat whenever necessary. We always try to build a team of two inspectors, one expert in safeguards and one in the operation or design of the facility that will be inspected. For instance, if we inspect a fuel fabrication plant, we bring together a safeguards expert and a fuel fabrication plant expert. This is appropriate because we think when these two inspectors perform the inspection, the safeguards expert is more interested in the books, the measurements, and the conventional nuclear inspection activities, while the facility expert will verify in more detail the design of the facility, and has more insight to verify that there is no undeclared change in the design information.

Here is a summary of the facilities and other locations in Brazil and Argentina, all under ABACC safeguards (figure 2).

Figure 2: Material Balance Areas Safeguarded by ABACC

  Type   Argentina   Brazil   Total
  Conversion Plants   5   1   6
  Enrichment plants   1   2   3
  Fuel Fabrication Plants plants   4   1   5
  Power Reactors   2   1   3
  Research Reactors   6   3   9
  Research and Development   2   3   5
  Critical and Subcritical Units   —   3   3
  Deposits   3   2   5
  LOFs (fuel fabrication)   4   5   9
  LOFs (research and reprocessing)   —   1   1
  LOFs (analysis laboratory)   3   2   5
  other LOFs   7   6   13
  TOTAL   37   30   67

In total, we have 37 facilities and other locations in Argentina, and 30 in Brazil. There are five conversion plants in Argentina. Brazil has two enrichment plants and Argentina has one. But again the scale is always very small. It looks like a lot, but it really isn’t; we really have more research and development facilities than commercial plants. There are a lot of other locations outside facilities (LOFs). Now, with the new IAEA safeguards, maybe some of these other LOFs will be re-classified as facilities. Then we will have to change the design information questionnaires on these locations.

Now I will show the figures on the ABACC inspections, not including the International Atomic Energy Agency inspections (figure 3).

Figure 3: ABACC Inspections

  Type of inspections   1992   1993   1994   1995
  DIQ Verification   6   11   73   5
  Initial Inventory and Interim Verifications   5   24   113   139
  Total Number of Inspections   11   35   186   144
  Inspection Effort (persons-day)   28   106   562   683
  Inspectors (persons-day)   114   373   1506   1489

We started in 1992. Let me explain, this is the DIQ verification, Design Information Questionnaire verification, to verify the design of the facility to be inspected. Then we have initial inventory and interim verifications, and the total number of inspections. Here is the inspection effort in persons-day. This is defined exactly as the IAEA defines it: that is, inspection effort in the field, in the facility. And the inspectors, the persons-day is the inspection effort, that means the number of days that the inspectors are working for ABACC and ABACC has to pay them.

And so you can see that in 1992, we had 28 persons-days in the facilities, and 114 days in total, including at ABACC headquarters, where the inspectors prepare inspections and plan special activities and, after the inspection, prepare the inspection report. This takes a lot of time. In 1995, we had 683 persons-days, and almost 1500 in ABACC. But as you see, the ratio in 1992 was almost five to one, and now we are down to two and a half to one. The ratio between the time in the facility and the time in headquarters has decreased, meaning that we are more efficient.

Let me say something about the evaluations. We ask inspectors themselves to perform the first evaluation of the inspection at the facility. We like inspectors to be thinking. We don’t want robot inspectors, who only fill out the forms. We like our inspectors to be thinking about the activities going on there.

The second stage of evaluation is performed at ABACC headquarters. This is a conventional safeguards evaluation to verify the inventory and material balances, to account the shipped and received differences, and so on.

Now I am going to speak about the Quadripartite Agreement. As I said, the Quadripartite Agreement is an agreement with Brazil, Argentina, ABACC and the Agency. It was signed in December 1991, and entered into force in March 1994. Under the Quadripartite Agreement, the state parties undertake to accept safeguards on all nuclear material and all nuclear activities. I want to emphasize again that this includes both civilian and military activities and not just peaceful nuclear activities, as in the INFCIRC/153. The purpose of this undertaking is to ensure that such material is not diverted to nuclear weapons or other nuclear explosive devices. That means this is a comprehensive safeguards agreement.

The special thing in this agreement is the relationship between ABACC and the Agency. ABACC and the Agency, when applying safeguards activities, shall be guided by the following principles: First, they need to reach independent conclusions. Second, they need to coordinate, to the greatest extent possible, their activities for the optimal implementation of the agreement and to avoid unnecessary duplication. Of course, item A and B are conflicting, because the Agency has to avoid the unnecessary duplication of ABACC activities, but has to reach independent conclusions. This is always very difficult in day-by-day life.

On the status of the implementation of this Quadripartite Agreement, the initial report verification started in June 1994, and was practically completed by March 1995, when the initial inventory measurements and samples had been taken and everything had been completed. But the Agency has not yet concluded the initial report verification because they are making a “completeness” or “consistency” verification. They are analyzing the declarations and visiting many facilities in Brazil and Argentina to see if the initial declaration or report is consistent.

The Agency is very driven by their experience in South Africa, where, during the verification of completeness of the initial inventory, the government announced that it had manufactured and then disassembled nuclear weapons. With regards to Brazil and Argentina, the Agency wants to very carefully check the completeness of the inventories, so they have not set a time limit within which to complete this work.

We combined the DIQ verification to the greatest extent possible with that of the initial report, and only then did we consider the initial DIQ verification to be complete. For ABACC, the design information verification is a whole team activity. Every inspection for us is undertaken to verify not only the nuclear material, but also the nuclear facility design. I know with the 93+2 program, the Agency also likes to periodically verify design information.

At present, facility attachments are being discussed in negotiations with the IAEA. Right now, we are negotiating five facility attachments from Brazil and five facility attachments from Argentina. In two weeks, we have another negotiating round.

Let me say some words about how inspections really take place. Until now, we have had very weak coordination between ABACC and the IAEA. In my personal opinion, the IAEA’s view of ABACC is affected by its difficult experience with Euratom over the past 25 years. It is very hard for us to negotiate with the operational people from the Agency because they are always resistant to coordinating activities with ABACC. For example, sometimes we have five or six inspectors performing an inspection in a very, very small lab that contains only a few kilograms of nuclear material, maybe natural uranium. This is very expensive and, I think, unnecessary.

We are negotiating our first guidelines between ABACC and the Agency for coordination of activities. In February 1995, we prepared a first draft of the guidelines that was under consideration of the Agency.

Recently, they sent us a revised and updated draft of the guidelines. In two weeks in Vienna, ABACC and the Agency will continue to negotiate these guidelines, and I hope that the first guidelines will be approved by both agencies at that time. As we say in Brazil, it is like water with sugar, they are very soft guidelines. It’s only to use common seals, such as Cobra seals, or VACOOS seals, electronic seals, that the two organizations can read. In this case, we don’t need to apply two seals, as we do now, one from ABACC and one from the Agency.

Another example concerns things like measurement equipment. We perform inspections using multi-channel analyzers. But the Agency inspectors bring from Vienna their own multi-channel analyzers. They don’t like to use ABACC’s multi-channel analyzer—“Oh no,” they say, “this is independent; we like to be independent.” But when the Agency’s multi-channel analyzer breaks, then they use ABACC’s. This is how things work at the operational level. Of course, the IAEA should use ABACC’s equipment calibrated with its standard.

Here is a slide of an ABACC multi-channel analyzer. These inspectors are applying the metallic ABACC seal on one item. ABACC has spent a lot of money and effort to be able to verify each individual seal. Every seal is prepared in ABACC headquarters. Before an inspector applies a seal, we first put a fingerprint in the seal and then take a picture of this fingerprint. Later, when the inspector breaks the seal, he brings the seal back to the ABACC headquarters, where we cut the seal to verify that the fingerprint is still the same. We have applied about 2000 metallic seals over the past four years.

Now, I prepared a few slides about a very important activity in ABACC, which is inspectors’ training. We have spent a lot of money on training, and have a lot of support from the Department of Energy in the United States to train the inspectors. Almost every year we have a training course in Brazil and one in Argentina. And now we are always preparing very specialized seminars and training courses. In this instance, we had a training course for 20 inspectors in S o Paulo, with about 15 Brazilians and 5 Argentineans, for training in the preparation of inspection reports, and the audit of facilities’ records.

This is another slide of inspector training. Here we have three Argentinean inspectors. A technical support officer of ABACC is teaching them about nondestructive analysis methods.

I want to say also that ABACC does not have to have its own labs—it uses the structure of the two countries. When we take a sample in Brazil we send it to Argentinean labs for analysis. And when sampling an Argentinean facility, we send it to Brazilian labs to analyze. This is very complicated and expensive, because to transport the samples is very difficult in South America. We have about four labs in Brazil and four or five labs in Argentina that we use for our analysis.

For example, there is a safeguards lab in Brazil, in Rio de Janeiro, that we use to analyze our Argentinean samples. This was specifically constructed only for safeguards purposes. It was constructed in 1983 with Agency support.

The last slide is a picture of a training course in Argentina, where we had a lot of participants in lectures. Here there were people from the Department of Energy, people from the Agency, people from ABACC staff, and inspector participants.

A weak point of ABACC’s safeguards applications is surveillance, where we lack funding and experience. We are implementing the first surveillance system in the enrichment plant in Brazil with support from the Department of Energy. The Department of Energy donated $400,000 to ABACC for the purchase of surveillance equipment.

I would like to say something about how ABACC is funded. When the inspector goes to an inspection, ABACC provides travel and per diem expenses—but salaries are paid by the countries. Without the inspectors’ salaries, ABACC’s budget for this year is $3,500,000, which is a lot of money for Brazil and Argentina.

Because of the Bilateral and Quadripartite Agreements, the safeguards divisions in both Brazil and Argentina have increased. For instance, when I worked in the Brazilian Commission’s safeguards division, we had six people. Now, this division has, I think, 12 or 14 people working. And in Argentina it is the same. The system is expensive.

This concludes my formal presentation. Thank you, and if you have any questions, please.

Questions and Discussion

Dr. Ariel Levite

We now have some time for questions and discussion on ABACC and the regional safeguards system.

Q (from the audience): Could you describe how a challenge inspection of an enrichment facility in the middle of a Brazilian naval base is set in motion? And I mean, who makes the decision and what is the timetable of events?

Marzo: This unannounced inspection regime started at the beginning of 1995. We have an agreement with both Brazil’s Nuclear Energy Commission and the facility operator. When our inspectors arrive at the facility, they have to announce that they are there for an inspection. The operator can delay the inspection for a maximum of two hours in this enrichment plant. If the national inspector arrives at the facility, he participates in the inspection. If there is no representative of the national authority, the specialist performs it anyway.

Internally in ABACC, we have two planning and evaluation officers—myself as a Brazilian, and Mr. Biaggio from Argentina. The way things are now, Mr. Biaggio would say to me, “Look, I think we are intending to perform an unannounced inspection in the enrichment facility in one month—within the next four weeks.” Then, he organizes an unannounced inspection, and I don’t learn any more about this inspection until after it is completed. As a Brazilian ABACC officer, I don’t need to know about the inspection’s precise date and schedule.

In this regional system, it is very easy because the Argentineans don’t need a visa to enter into Brazil. If ABACC wants to, ABACC can convoke two or three Argentine inspectors to perform an unannounced inspection in Brazil. That is not a problem. So far, because of the sensitivity of the facility, the inspectors’ team has been composed of an Argentine inspector, and an Argentine ABACC officer, since ABACC officers can also be used as inspectors.

Q (from the audience): How long does it all take?

Marzo: This depends upon the situation. Let us assume that ABACC convokes two inspectors in Argentina. They spend one day to travel from Argentina to Rio, because it takes almost three hours in flight from Buenos Aires. Then they spend a half a day preparing the inspection, two hours to fly from Rio to S o Paulo, and about one hour to go from the airport to the facility. Then they announce the inspection. Of course, they have their passports, and the operator has a list of those authorized to conduct an unannounced inspection.

From ABACC’s point of view, it takes, let’s say, three days. But from the facility operator’s point of view, it takes two hours because he is not informed about it previously. To increase confidence in the system, as an ABACC officer I promise to keep this information confidential. In any case, as I have just mentioned, I am not informed about the unannounced inspections in Brazil. That would be the same in Argentina, but we have not yet performed an unannounced inspection in Argentina because the fuel enrichment plant is closed for reconstruction.

Q (from the audience): Just one remark—these are not challenge inspections, these are unannounced inspections. What is the difference between challenge and unannounced inspections?

Marzo: That gets to the question: what is the difference between ABACC’s safeguards system and the Agency’s safeguards system? From the conventional point of view, I think there is no technical difference. Let me give you an example. Argentina ten years ago was constructing a large reprocessing plant close to Buenos Aires, but they decided to stop construction and close this facility. Today, there is no nuclear material at this facility. That means that Argentina has no obligation to inform ABACC about activities there, or to provide design information about this facility, because there is no nuclear material and the plant is no longer under construction.

But ABACC asked the Argentine national authority to verify the design of this facility, to demonstrate that the construction of the facility is really stopped. Then we went to this facility and verified that it was not under construction. We found that some parts of the facility were already dismantled.

This shows that, in this kind of approach, there is more access to more places and more information. I would say in the bilateral regime, in my opinion, it is much easier to get this access than in an international regime.

This is now the case in Brazil and Argentina. I don’t know what would happen if the relationship between Brazil and Argentina goes bad in the future, but for now the experience is so. We get all of the information we like, we can go to other places, and so on. We visited, for instance, the gaseous diffusion facility in Argentina. Of course, there are places that the countries—Brazil and Argentina—consider as secret. But if we needed this information to perform safeguards, we will ask for the information and access. If it’s not necessary, then we don’t need the information.

Let me talk about another example, which, when I spoke about it in Washington, people got excited about the feedback on the bilateral process. One time we had an anomaly during an inspection in ABACC’s system. Our inspectors asked for some information, but the operator refused to cooperate. When the ABACC inspectors came back to headquarters, they said, “Look, we cannot conclude anything about the activities or the safeguards of nuclear material in this facility.”

As evaluation officers, when we heard what the inspectors told us, we immediately informed ABACC’s Secretary General, who then informed by fax the four members of the Commission. The member of the Commission from the Foreign Ministry of this country informed the Foreign Minister, and the Minister informed the president of the nation. Then, the president of the nation asked those responsible for this area to provide the information to ABACC. One week later, ABACC had the information and could perform the inspection.

All of this process takes two or three days, and I think this is an advantage of our regional, or bilateral, system. Maybe the solution is positive, maybe the solution is negative, but the conclusion is very fast. In the international regime, the Agency communicates problems to the Board of Governors, which then meets three months later. Under this system, it takes years to solve the anomaly.

Q (from the audience): How is ABACC planning to look for undeclared nuclear activities?

Marzo: ABACC never excluded in its safeguards approach the possibility of clandestine activities, or clandestine stockpiles of material. Since the beginning, when we prepared a safeguards approach for a facility, we always considered the possibility of clandestine material and facilities. But of course, when ABACC was established the IAEA had not begun to strengthen its safeguards system, and we did not have this model. As I said, our way to detect such activities is an unofficial or indirect way.

The IAEA is now making consultations with Brazil and Argentina to implement carry out environmental monitoring. In the context of the Quadripartite Agreement, ABACC is preparing to take part in this implementation. This is a big challenge for us—we have to train inspectors, prepare laboratories, and so on. The U.S. Department of Energy has strongly supported ABACC to carry out these actions.

We have always kept open the possibility of visits. If we have any suspicions about any activity, we ask for access—whether or not we have been told if there is nuclear material or nuclear facility—to this site. It is a kind of an unofficial consultation that is difficult to describe. Maybe it involves not only safeguards experts, or ABACC inspectors, or ABACC experts, but also people from other governmental organizations, for instance from the Foreign Ministry in this case.

There’s another thing that I believe is true—even if others don’t. The nuclear community is very small in Brazil and Argentina, and we know all of the people that are working on, or that have know-how to work with, reprocessing, enrichment, and other aspects of nuclear energy. Almost all of these people are involved in the ABACC system, as either advisors or inspectors. Of course, it’s possible that some of these people are involved in clandestine activities, but it’s improbable. The probability of not being detected is very small because the people in the community are always in contact.

Also, for this objective, the Commission of ABACC, not the Secretariat, has put together an expert ad hoc group on enrichment. This group meets about every six months. This group contains enrichment experts from both Brazil and Argentina, who meet to discuss the safeguards approach for the enrichment facilities. They discuss ABACC’s activities, they propose improvements, and they also criticize ABACC. This is also an opportunity for the people involved in sensitive activities to meet, talk about and discuss the activities in each country.

Let me a say word, also, about the privileges and immunities for ABACC officers. We always have privileges and immunities in both Brazil and in Argentina. The inspectors, during the period they are working for ABACC, also have privileges and immunities. The Brazilian ABACC officers don’t pay taxes in Brazil. If we like, we can get the salary in another country’s currency, such as United States dollars, or in Swiss francs, for free. This is very important because in Brazil for the first time, a national, like me, doesn’t need to pay taxes. (laughter) Yes?

Q (from the audience): How much independence is given to ABACC? Do Brazil and Argentina seek to manipulate it or pressure it to reach certain conclusions?

Marzo: I think that both governments like to show the world and the external community that they really take seriously this bilateral arrangement, and that ABACC is a serious organization. So far, as an ABACC officer, I never feel any pressure on my activities. I think this is also the case for the Argentineans.

Q (from the audience): Is there anyone in ABACC who can investigate suspicious activities that might be reported in the press or by somebody privately?

Marzo: If you asked me to show you which provision or article in the agreement gives us the right to make this inspection, I could not show you. But I am sure that if I asked for some information based on this kind of report, if I had a good argument and reason for asking for this information, for this access—if it is really necessary for our activities’ conclusion—I am sure that I would get it. Otherwise, it could result in a very big political problem between the country and ABACC.

Another important thing that I would like to mention is that if we compare the salaries of ABACC officers with the average salary in Argentina and Brazil in the same position, I would say the salary in ABACC is two times higher. (Laughter) This is, in part, a motivation and also to give independence for the officers’ work. And also the inspectors—the inspectors when they are convoked by ABACC to perform the inspection, they get a very good per diem. This is also a motivation.

Let me say, when inspectors perform the inspections in the ABACC system, they are proud because they are representing their country. When a Brazilian goes to Argentina to inspect as an inspector or an Argentinean comes to Brazil to inspect, they are very proud. They assume the responsibility because it is a very large responsibility. If the other country diverts nuclear material to prepare a nuclear weapon, it will be very bad for their country.

Q (from the audience): Has the IAEA found any undeclared activities?

Marzo: No, but there are no undeclared facilities. (Laughter) Let me tell you what the Agency has done up until now. We have had two Agency delegations visit both Argentina and Brazil in a period of six months. These delegations visited all kinds of fuel cycle facilities and met with the operators of those facilities. The Agency delegations asked about production plants, yellowcake production, enrichment levels, and so on. I think, perhaps that not all of their questions were answered, but as far as I know, they are happy with the process.

Q (from the audience): Would the IAEA be allowed to make inspections where nuclear material is not located? Can they inspect dual-use facilities, such as a centrifuge manufacturing plant?

Marzo: If the IAEA asked to make such an inspection within the framework of Program 93+2, I would say that the two countries would seriously consider this request. If the IAEA asked to visit a centrifuge factory however, I would say that they would be refused. This is a very important point for both countries: if a facility does not at present have nuclear material but can handle such materials (for instance, an enrichment plant under construction), then the countries will think about the request. If a facility will never handle nuclear materials (for instance, a centrifuge factory), then I would say no.

Q (from the audience): So you would have problems with the 93+2 Part II protocol?

Marzo: I know that the two countries will analyze the additional protocol. I don’t know how it will come out. But I know there is some disagreement as to the legal basis for Part II. However, let me say this about Part I. In some cases, the IAEA is implementing some parts of it. The Agency requested a short time ago to use the samples taken from inside declared facilities during the initial inventory verification for environmental analysis. That means, in my opinion, during the consistency or completeness verification, they are already using Part I of the 93+2.