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US protocol on nuclear safeguards comes into force

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January 09, 2009 16:26 IST
An additional protocol to the nuclear safeguards agreement between the International Atomic Energy Agency and the US, giving the agency better access to nuclear sites has entered into force, making America the last of the five atomic-weapon states party to the global non-proliferation pact.
    
The protocol entered into force Wednesday when US Ambassador Gregory Schulte formally handed over the
notification marking completion of the country's ratification procedures to IAEA Director-General Mohamed ElBaradei.
    
With the entry into force of the US' Additional Protocol, all five nuclear-weapon states party to the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty have fulfilled their undertaking to conclude such agreements, the agency said.
    
The Vienna-based IAEA said the coming into force of the protocol contributes to efforts aimed at achieving universal
application of this key document which grants the agency complementary inspection authority.
    
Under the Protocol, the IAEA is granted expanded rights of access to information and sites.
    
To date, 118 countries have signed an Addition Protocol with the IAEA and 89 countries have ratified it.
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