Colombia this week ratified an international protocol that, once enacted, would obligate the South American country to take extra steps on nuclear security.
On Tuesday, Colombia turned over to the International Atomic Energy Agency ratification documents for the Amendment to the Convention on the Physical Protection of Nuclear Materials, according to an agency release.
The 2005 provisions on nuclear security have yet to enter into force. With Colombia's ratification, a total of 73 countries have formalized their participation. However, another 26 nations must sign on before the protocol's strictures become legally binding for those participating.
"Entry into force of the amendment is vitally important for strengthening physical protection and nuclear security throughout the world," IAEA Director General Yukiya Amano said in provided remarks. "The amendment protects nuclear material in domestic use, transport and storage, and protects nuclear facilities against acts of terrorism."
Amano said he was optimistic the amended convention would enter into force in "the near future."
The United States and some of its allies reportedly are pushing nations participating in the global Nuclear Security Summit process to agree to ratify the heightened physical-protection standards at the third such gathering, happening next month in the Netherlands. The U.S. Senate, though, has yet to ratify the amendment.