Department of Nuclear Safety and Security

The Department of Nuclear Safety and Security (NS) formulates and implements the IAEA's nuclear safety and security programme, which encompasses the Agency's activities to protect people and the environment from radiation exposure, and responds to the needs of its Member States related to nuclear safety and nuclear security.

Office of Safety and Security Coordination (NSOC)

The Office of Safety and Security Coordination (NSOC) is located in the Office of the Deputy Director General, Head of the Department of Nuclear Safety and Security. Its mission is to ensure the technical consistency and effective coordination of the IAEA’s activities in the nuclear, radiation, transport and waste safety and nuclear security programmes. The Office comprises three Sections: 

  • The Programme and Strategy Coordination Section
  • The Networks Management and Partnership Section
  • The Safety Standards and Security Guidance Development Section

The Programme and Strategy Coordination Section

The mission of the Programme and Strategy Coordination Section (PSCS) is to ensure the effective development and coordinated implementation of Major Programme 3 and to provide for a common strategic approach to cross cutting areas such as capacity building.

The Networks Management and Partnership Section

The mission of the Network Management and Partnership Section (NMPS) is to ensure the further development of the Global Nuclear Safety and Security Framework by facilitating knowledge management, knowledge networks and capacity building. The section will also act as a focal point of contact for extrabudgetary projects with donors, partners and IAEA internal organizational units and will provide for a departmental level monitoring and evaluation of all extra budgetary projects, by ensuring compliance with donor requirements and IAEA internal rules and guidelines. 

The Safety Standards and Security Guidance Development Section

The mission of the Safety Standards and Security Guidance Development Section (SSDS) is to coordinate and support the departmental efforts to ensure that the Agency’s safety standards and nuclear security guidance constitute a comprehensive, up to date, coherent and authoritative suite of internationally agreed and accepted references; to enhance the review-revision process with the implementation of a new information technology platform for the knowledge and content management of the whole series of safety standards and nuclear security guidance; to provide for the maintenance of the safety and security glossaries and to promote the worldwide harmonized use of the Safety Standards publications and Nuclear Security Series publications.

Incident and Emergency Centre (IEC)

The Incident and Emergency Centre (IEC) is part of the Department of Nuclear Safety and Security and reports to the Deputy Director General, Head of the Department. The IEC serves as the IAEA's focal point for preparedness and response to nuclear and radiological incidents and emergencies regardless of their cause and for strengthening Member States' preparedness for response.

Division of Nuclear Security (NSNS)

The Division of Nuclear Security (NSNS) is responsible for coordinating and implementing the IAEA's nuclear security programme to protect against, detect and respond to criminal acts or acts of nuclear terrorism and threats thereof. It comprises four Sections:

  • Nuclear Security of Materials Outside of Regulatory Control Section
  • Nuclear Security of Materials and Facilities Section
  • Information Management Section
  • Programme Development and International Cooperation Section

Nuclear Security of Materials Outside of Regulatory Control Section

The Nuclear Security of Materials outside of Regulatory Control Section is responsible for activities that assist States in establishing and maintaining nuclear security systems and measures for the prevention and detection of, and response to, nuclear and other radioactive material outside of regulatory control. These activities include developing nuclear security guidance that is consistent with the relevant binding and non-binding international legal instruments for dealing with nuclear and other radioactive material outside of regulatory control, as well as providing assistance, upon request, to States in implementing the nuclear security framework. In addition to the development of nuclear security guidance, the Section provides evaluation and assessment services and education and training activities, develops methodologies, and assists in security upgrades relating to nuclear and radioactive material detection and response capabilities. In so doing, the Section organizes a large number of evaluation missions, training courses and workshops and convenes technical meetings for methodology development.

Nuclear Security of Materials and Facilities Section

The Nuclear Security of Materials and Facilities Section is responsible for activities related to establishing and sustaining nuclear security systems for nuclear and other radioactive material in use, storage and during transport, and for associated facilities. These activities include developing nuclear security guidance consistent with relevant binding and non-binding international legal instruments in the area of regulation, assessment, protection, transport, accounting and control of nuclear and other radioactive material and security culture, as well as assisting Member States in implementing the nuclear security framework. The Section provides evaluation and assessment services, such as the International Physical Protection Advisory Service, and education and training, develops methodologies and assists security upgrades relating to nuclear and other radioactive material and associated facilities and transport. The Section also provides assistance to Member States in enhancing regulatory frameworks for nuclear security. In so doing, the Section organizes a large number of evaluation missions, training courses and workshops and convenes technical meetings for methodology development.

Information Management Section

The Information Management Section is responsible for the establishment and maintenance of the mechanisms required to collect, collate and analyse nuclear security related information required for the effective implementation of activities to strengthen the international nuclear security regime. The Section is responsible for maintaining the Incident and Trafficking Database and related information, as well as the system to develop Integrated Nuclear Security Support Plans, and for providing official reports on nuclear security to Member States and to the general public. For this purpose, it liaises with other international organizations and Member States to enhance cooperation in and increase the outreach of nuclear security information. The Section is also responsible for implementing arrangements to maintain the confidentiality of sensitive information.

Programme Development and International Cooperation Section

The Programme Development and International Cooperation Section interacts with donors and provides support to the overall planning and coordination of the work of the Division including the evaluation of results, financial matters, reporting to donors and the assessment of outcomes of programme activities. The Section is also responsible for coordinating the training programme implemented by the other three Sections, evaluating the programme and developing a collaborative network of Nuclear Security Support Centres which underpin the sustainability of nuclear security in Member States.

Division of Nuclear Installation Safety (NSNI)

The Division of Nuclear Installation Safety's (NSNI) objective is to achieve and maintain a high level of safety of nuclear installations worldwide that are under design or construction or in operation by establishing standards of safety for the protection of health, including standards for nuclear power plants and other nuclear installations and facilities, and by providing for the application of these standards through, inter alia, support for the IAEA’s technical cooperation programme, the rendering of safety review services, the promotion of education and training, the fostering of information exchange and the coordination of research and development. In addition, the Division helps ensure safety at nuclear installations by promulgating international safety instruments such as the Convention on Nuclear Safety and the Code of Conduct on the Safety of Research Reactors. NSNI comprises five Sections:

  • Operational Safety Section
  • Safety Assessment Section
  • Regulatory Activities Section
  • Research Reactor Safety Section
  • International Seismic Safety Centre

Operational Safety Section

The Operational Safety Section's (OSS) main aim is to enhance Member States’ capabilities to improve the operational safety of nuclear power plants through operational safety review services, the use of IAEA safety standards and continuous self-assessment. Its activities include assessment of operational safety performance, long term operation and operating experience; promotion of management for safety and safety culture; and maintaining the international reporting system database for nuclear power plants.

Safety Assessment Section

The Safety Assessment Section (SAS) helps to improve the capability of Member States in carrying out effective safety assessments and enhancing the safety of nuclear installations to achieve a high level of safety by developing safety standards and guides for design and safety assessment; by promoting the use of advanced safety assessment methods and tools with enhanced integration of deterministic and probabilistic approaches and the use of risk informed and performance based safety evaluation approaches.

Regulatory Activities Section

The Regulatory Activities Section's (RAS) main objective is to help enhance effective regulatory infrastructures for nuclear safety in Member States based on IAEA safety standards and use of self-assessment. The Section’s activities include safety review and advisory missions to Member States, the development and revision of safety standards, support for effective regulatory development for countries embarking on new nuclear power programmes, development of training programmes for regulators , and organizational aspects related to the Convention on Nuclear Safety.

Research Reactor Safety Section

The Research Reactor Safety Section (RRS) works with Member States to develop an international research reactor and fuel cycle facility safety enhancement plan and regime. Activities in this area include monitoring research reactors subject to project and supply agreements, and assisting Member States possessing such reactors in fulfilling all the relevant safety obligations. The Section also covers a wide range of topics related to research reactor and fuel cycle facility safety, including siting, design, construction, commissioning, operation, utilization and decommissioning.

International Seismic Safety Centre

The International Seismic Safety Centre (ISSC) aims to strengthen Member States’ capabilities to enhance the safety of nuclear installations through the proper selection of sites, assessment of site specific hazards and the utilization of site parameters in the design of the installation. The ISSC develops and implements safety standards and guides for design and safety assessment, methods and tools for deterministic and probabilistic safety analysis and safety performance evaluation for all external hazards considered in the design of a nuclear facility. The Section coordinates and supports Member States in establishing and implementing the engineering safety of installations and safety assessment and capacity building activities for embarking countries in the area of site and installation design safety, construction and operations.

Division of Radiation, Transport and Waste Safety (NSRW)

The Division of Radiation, Transport and Waste Safety (NSRW) develops and maintains standards for radiation protection, radioactive waste safety, and safety in the transport of radioactive material that enable the beneficial uses of radiation to be exploited while ensuring appropriate protection of workers, the public and patients. It also assists Member States in the implementation of these standards and provides related services. NSRW comprises three Sections:

  • Radiation Safety and Monitoring Section
  • Regulatory Infrastructure and Transport Safety Section
  • Waste and Environmental Safety Section

Radiation Safety and Monitoring Section

The Radiation Safety and Monitoring Section is responsible for the delineation of an international programme to protect workers, patients and the public from all types of exposure to natural or artificial radiation, in line with the most recent scientific knowledge and information. The Section is also responsible for the provision of radiation safety technical services to staff members and experts who may be exposed to ionizing radiation as a result of activities conducted by the IAEA.

Regulatory Infrastructure and Transport Safety Section

The Regulatory Infrastructure and Transport Safety Section is responsible for providing Member States with safety standards, guidance and tools to foster regulatory infrastructures for the control of radiation sources, for the safe transport of radioactive material and for managing information to  identify the needs of Member States with a view to improving radiation, transport and waste safety.

Waste and Environmental Safety Section

The Waste and Environmental Safety Section is responsible for the delineation of a global waste safety regime to protect the public and the environment from the effects of ionizing radiation, based on the Joint Convention on the Safety of Spent Fuel Management and on the Safety of Radioactive Waste Management, for the development of safety standards for the management of all types of radioactive waste and for the provision for the application of the waste safety standards.

For more information, see Nuclear Safety and Security →


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Last update: 17 February 2016