The IAEA International Physical Protection Advisory Service (IPPAS) provides advice to Member States to assist them in strengthening the effectiveness of their national physical protection system whilst recognizing that the ultimate responsibility for physical protection is that of the Member State. The IPPAS programme is not restricted to any particular group of Member States, whether developing or industrialized. It is available to all countries with nuclear materials and facilities.
The basic concepts, purposes and functions of physical protection are provided in INFCIRC/225, The Physical Protection of Nuclear Material and Nuclear Facilities as amended from time to time and The Convention on the Physical Protection of Nuclear Material (INFCIRC/274/Rev.1). The guidance given in INFCIRC/225 recognizes that the implementation of these requirements will vary from country to country depending on their existing constitutional, legal and administrative systems; the assessment of the threat for the potential theft of nuclear material or sabotage of nuclear facilities; the technical skills and the professional and financial resources available to the competent authority; and social customs and cultural traditions.
IPPAS missions compare (insofar as this is possible) the procedures and practices in a Member State with the obligations specified under INFCIRC/274/Rev.1, the existing international consensus guidelines (INFCIRC/225) and equivalent good practices elsewhere. These IPPAS guidelines provide overall guidance for the experts to ensure the consistency and comprehensiveness of the mission and have been prepared by the IAEA to complement the expertise of the IPPAS team members. These guidelines also provide suitable guidance to the host country in preparing for and receiving such missions.
IPPAS missions are performance oriented in that they accept different approaches to the implementation of a national physical protection system. Recommendations are made on items which could directly affect physical protection systems, whereas suggestions made might only indirectly contribute to improving the physical protection system. Commendable good practices identified may be communicated to other Member States for long term improvement.
The IAEA officer responsible for this publication was B. Weiss of the Department of Safeguards.