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  • DesignationDirector – International Corporation
  • Director NameMr. Ranjith Bandara
  • Telephone011-207-5230
  • Mobile071-858-3132
  • Fax Number011-253-3448
  • Emailbandara@aeb.gov.lk

International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) & Sri Lanka

UN’s scientific forum for cooperation in the nuclear field maximizing contribution of nuclear technology to the world, while verifying its peaceful use.

International Cooperation on Atomic Energy in Sri Lankan Context……

Ceylon (Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka) obtained the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) membership since 1957. The IAEA is the world’s centre for cooperation in the nuclear field and seeks to promote the safe, secure and peaceful use of nuclear technologies under the United Nations (UN) umbrella. Mr. S. W. R. D. Bandaranaike, former Prime Minister of Ceylon (1956-1959) mandated a 10 years National Development Plan based on the national needs and priorities. In fact, those important recommendations made by the technical working group of Atomic Energy to the National Planning Council on 1957. Through the National Development Plan, the responsible committee suggested applying the peaceful applications of nuclear technology in the areas of Medicine, Agriculture and Mining sectors in Sri Lanka.

Sri Lanka’s involvement with Nuclear Science and Technology began in 1957 when it became a founder member of the IAEA. This was followed by the establishment of the Radioisotope Centre of the University of Colombo in 1962 and the establishment of the Atomic Energy Authority (AEA) in 1970 by the Atomic Energy Authority Act no. 19 of 1969. AEA established to way forward the committee suggestions, which proposed by the National Development Plan. The Atomic Energy Authority Act delegated two main responsibilities to the AEA, namely, promotion of the utilization of nuclear technology for the benefit of the people of Sri Lanka, and the protection of workers engaged in using radiation and radioisotopes and the public from harmful effects of ionizing radiation.

Currently, under the purview of the Ministry of Power , Sri Lanka Atomic Energy Board (SLAEB) functioned as the focal point of IAEA. International Cooperation Division of SLAEB functions as the National Liaison Office to the IAEA. Through the IAEA Technical Cooperation Division, International Cooperation helps to sustainable socio-economic development in the secure, safe and peaceful use of Nuclear Science and Technology in Sri Lankan context. Permanent Mission to Austria under the purview of Ministry of Foreign affairs, Sri Lanka has coordinated the IAEA activities with SLAEB on behalf of Sri Lanka.

Sri Lanka’s status on the international legal instruments adopted under the auspices of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) in the areas of safety, security and nuclear liability. The country is still not party to the Convention on the Physical Protection of Nuclear Material (CPPNM) and amendment to the Convention on the Physical Protection of Nuclear Material (ACPPNM) as well as the Joint Convention and the nuclear liability instrument(s). The Government has expressed its commitment to conclude an Additional Protocol (and is also consider the Agreement on the Privileges and Immunities of the International Atomic Energy Agency).

Sri Lanka has recognizes and signed Application of Safeguards in connection with the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) since 1984.

In addition, Other relevant instruments include the P & I (Agreement on the Privileges and Immunities of the [IAEA] (INFCIRC/9)), in respect of which Sri Lanka is not Party; the RSA (Revised Supplementary Agreement Concerning the Provision of Technical Assistance by the IAEA), in force since 1979-09-18; and the Regional Co-operative Agreement for Research, Development and Training Related to Nuclear Science and Technology, in force since 2018-10-02. A political commitment has been made to the supplementary Guidance on the Import and Export of Radioactive Sources but not to the supplementary Guidance on the Management of Disused Radioactive Sources, pursuant to General Conference Resolutions GC(48)/RES/10.D and GC(61)/RES/8.2, respectively

In 1974, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nepal, Sri Lanka, and the Maldives Supported Resolution 3265B at the United Nations General Assembly, which Called for the “establishment of a Nuclear-Weapon-Free Zone (NWFZ) in South Asia.” This regional support for a NWFZ was largely a reaction to India’s first nuclear Weapon tests (“Smilling Buddha”), which took place in 1974. Accordingly, India opposed the United Nations resolution at the time. However, given that India and Pakistan have now joined the nuclear club and are expanding and modernizing their nuclear arsenals, the establishment of a regional NWFZ in South Asia remains a distant reality.

Sri Lanka was one of the earliest supporters of NWFZs. At the 1964 Non-Aligned Summit in Cairo, a comment made by Ceylon (Later Sri Lankan) Prime Minister Mrs.Sirimavo Bandaranaike led the summit to issue a declaration in favor of global “denuclearized zones.” However, given the current impasse on a South Asian NWFZ, Sri Lanka should look to formulate a single-state NWFZ. This would have immediate implications on the growing trend towards the nuclearization of Indian Ocean. Without well-managed and open lines of communication from their respective command and control structures, maritime encounters between India and China and India and Pakistan in the Indian Ocean are fraught with potential for inadvertent conflict escalation. As a country that is increasingly looking to expand its regional and global trade links with an emphasis on shipping, tourism, and industrial zone, Sri Lanka should implement a single-state NWFZ as a step towards safeguarding its commercial and territorial security.

At present, Sri Lanka Atomic Energy Regulatory Council (SLAERC) is the regulatory authority in Sri Lanka for control of radioactive & nuclear material. As the regulatory authority the Council has direct contact with International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) for matters connected with radiation safety, safeguards and import and export control of sources. And also, the Council is the contact point for Sri Lanka for the following conventions.

  • Convention on Early Notification of a Nuclear Accident since 1991
  • Convention on Assistance in the Case of a Nuclear Accident or Radiological Emergency since 1991
  • Convention on Nuclear Safety since 1999
  • Application of safeguards in connection with the treaty on Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons since 1984

Furthermore, in February 2015 the Sri Lanka government signed a nuclear cooperation agreement with India. It is concerned with capacity building and training in peaceful application of nuclear Science, especially the use of radioisotopes, nuclear safety, radioactive waste management, radiation safety and nuclear security. In April 2015 it signed a nuclear cooperation agreement with Pakistan.

IAEA Assisted Projects

International Cooperation Division of Atomic Energy Authority (AEA) functions as the National Liaison Office to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). Through the IAEA Technical Cooperation Division, International Cooperation helps to sustainable socioeconomic development in the secure, safe and peaceful use of Nuclear Science and Technology by following programme.

  1. National Technical Cooperation Projects
  2. Regional Technical Cooperation Projects
  3. Inter-Regional Technical Cooperation Projects
  4. Research Contract Programme (Coordinated Research Projects)                                                                                                                        

These projects provide vast opportunities to develop man power through Training Courses, Workshops, Conferences, Fellowships and Scientific Visits and supply necessary equipment to implement the projects in the country. Apart from participation in IAEA Programme the cooperation with Republic of Korea (KOICA, RCARO and KIRAMS) Japan (MEXT, NIRS) and development of bi-lateral cooperation in the field of Nuclear Technology for peaceful application with IAEA Member States are highlighted.