IAEA inaugurates new nuclear material laboratory in Austria

The International Atomic Energy Agency announced the inauguration on Monday of the new Nuclear Material Laboratory in Seibersdorf, Austria.

Yukiya Amano, the IAEA general director, marked the milestone on Monday with ambassadors and other representatives of IAEA Member States, staff members involved in the laboratory's construction, colleagues from other IAEA departments and senior officials of the Republic of Austria. The project marked the largest capital project in the agency's history.

"The NML will bring together, in a single building, analytical activities that are currently dispersed among a number of buildings at Seibersdorf," Amano said. "The NML will give us state of the art capabilities in the analysis of uranium, plutonium, spent fuel and high-activity liquid waste samples, as well as in archiving samples safely and securely."

The NML was designed and constructed to be adaptable and expandable to anticipate the continuing growth in the amount of nuclear material under IAEA safeguards worldwide. The supporting site infrastructure is still under construction. The NML will meet international standards and guidelines for personal safety and the physical protection of nuclear materials.

"Once completed, it will have training facilities for inspectors and nuclear chemists, which will be available to visiting scientists from Member States," Amano said. "It will also have sufficient office space for all laboratory staff. The Seibersdorf site will comply with the agency's guidance on the physical protection of nuclear material, as well as with IAEA nuclear safety standards. It will also meet Austrian requirements in these areas."

Amano also launched a new, parallel project to renovate the IAEA Nuclear Sciences and Applications Laboratories, also located in Seibersdorf.