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30th anniversary of Brazilian-Argentine Agency for Accounting and Control of Nuclear Materials (ABACC): A unique contribution to the world

Monday 19 July 2021
Information for the Press N°: 
279/2021

Felipe Solá – Minister of Foreign Affairs, International Trade and Worship of the Argentine Republic

Carlos França – Minister of Foreign Affairs of Brazil

On 18 July, the Brazilian-Argentine Agency for Accounting and Control of Nuclear Materials (ABACC) celebrates its 30th anniversary.

On 18 July 1991, the Agreement for the Exclusively Peaceful Use of Nuclear Energy between Argentina and Brazil was signed in Guadalajara. The Agreement was signed after strategic closeness and a process of confidence building at the highest political level initiated years before.

It envisaged the creation of a Common System for Accounting and Control of Nuclear Materials, for the management and application of which it established the Brazilian-Argentine Agency for Accounting and Control of Nuclear Materials (ABACC), an entity with independence, technical competence and legal-international autonomy.

Such agency would be the guarantee for Brazil and Argentina, as well as for the whole international community, that nuclear materials and facilities in both countries would be used exclusively for peaceful purposes, under serious, effective and efficient control.

A few months after the creation of ABACC, in 13 December 1991, Brazil, Argentina, ABACC and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) signed the Quadripartite Agreement. This one-of-a-kind agreement put all the nuclear facilities of both countries under IAEA safeguards, supplementing ABACC bilateral inspections.

The work done by ABACC through a team of highly qualified inspectors from both countries that work jointly with IAEA is an innovative and unique mechanism in the fields of reciprocal inspections and nuclear facilities.

The robustness of the verification model subjects the nuclear programs of both countries to the highest standards of transparency, as demonstrated by the fact that Argentina and Brazil are among the countries that receive the highest number of inspections in their territory.

In its 30 years of work, ABACC has achieved high technical capacity. An example of that is the “ABACC-Cristallini” method, an innovative technique to collect samples of uranium hexafluoride (UF6) in uranium conversion and enrichment plants, which is less intrusive and cheaper than traditional techniques.

Currently, the ABACC Secretariat is headed by Elena Maceiras (Argentina), the first woman to hold that position in the Agency, accompanied by Marco Marzo (Brazil) as Deputy Secretary.

ABACC has a clear commitment to gender policies. An example of that is its team of women qualified in science, technology and engineering, which has enriched the different working areas of the Agency over the last 30 years.

In addition to being a milestone in the bilateral relationship, the creation of ABACC contributed to the consolidation of mutual trust, reciprocal knowledge and cooperation which are significant for the relationship between Argentina and Brazil.

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