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International Conference on Nuclear Security: Shaping the Future

20-24 May 2024, Vienna, Austria


The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has provided, upon request, assistance to Member States and supported their national efforts in the area of nuclear security since the early 1970s. These activities helped States establish and improve their national nuclear security regimes. In the years since, the IAEA’s role has evolved with the Agency now developing security requirements and guidance for use around the world. The Agency also, upon request, offers training, technical advice, peer reviews and other advisory services.

The responsibility for nuclear security within a State rests entirely with that State. Member States have consistently recognized the central role of the IAEA in strengthening the nuclear security framework globally and in coordinating international cooperation in nuclear security.

In recent years, the IAEA’s International Conference on Nuclear Security (ICONS) has become a key event for the nuclear security community around the world. Noting the importance of ICONS for the nuclear security, the resolution GC(66)/RES/7 adopted at the 66th General Conference in September 2022, called for the continuation of organizing the ICONS every four years.

ICONS 2024: Shaping the Future will be held at the IAEA’s Headquarters in Vienna, Austria, from 20 to 24 May 2024. It will have two main parts:

  • A ministerial segment which will provide an opportunity for ministers to deliver messages on achievements and adopt a Ministerial Declaration; and
  • A scientific and technical programme comprising of high level policy discussions on the overall themes central to nuclear security and parallel technical sessions on specialized scientific technical, legal and regulatory issues concerning nuclear security.

ICONS 2024 is the fourth ICONS and follows the success of the most recent ICONS held in Vienna, Austria, in February 2020. Previous ICONS were hosted by the IAEA in 2013 and 2016. ICONS 2024 will inform preparation of IAEA’s next Nuclear Security Plan, which will cover the period 2026–2029. In general, the conference will cover areas that are attributable to the security of nuclear and other radioactive material, under and out of regulatory control.

Purpose and Objectives

ICONS 2024 will provide a global forum for ministers, policymakers, senior officials and nuclear security experts to discuss the future of nuclear security worldwide, whilst providing opportunities for exchanging information, sharing best practices and fostering international cooperation.

The conference will:

  • Raise awareness of a wide range of nuclear security topics to maintain and further strengthen national nuclear security regimes for nuclear and other radioactive materials and associated facilities used for peaceful purposes, as well as international cooperation in strengthening nuclear security globally;
  • Review nuclear security experiences and achievements, current approaches and trends, and highlight areas that may need more focused attention including technological dimensions;
  • Promote IAEA nuclear security guidance, and experience of States in their application, including through peer reviews, advisory services and capacity building;
  • Promote the sharing of information and good practices in nuclear security while protecting sensitive information;
  • Reaffirm and support the central role of the IAEA in strengthening nuclear security globally and in leading the coordination of international activities in the field of nuclear security, while avoiding duplication and overlap;
  • Highlight and promote the IAEA’s efforts to promote adherence to relevant international legally binding instruments and commitment to the legally non-binding instruments; and
  • Discuss further enhancements of IAEA nuclear security activities and their sustainability.

Themes and Topics

Consistent with the objectives set out above, the overall themes for the conference will include:

Policy and Regulations for nuclear security

  • International framework for nuclear security, including legally binding and non-binding instruments
  • Regulation development and implementation
    • Support for embarking countries
    • Approaches to regulation (prescriptive, performance-based, technology neutral)
    • Challenges in meeting changing demands due to emerging technologies and emerging threats
    • Tools and approaches for regulators for evaluation of policy and regulations

Technology and infrastructure for nuclear security prevention, detection and response

  • Current and existing technologies including issues related to aging facilities and lifecycle management, research reactors, decommissioned facilities and facilities being decommissioned, and other facilities using and/or manufacturing nuclear or other radioactive material
  • Emerging nuclear technologies including small modular reactors, micro reactors, other novel reactor designs, spent fuel storage and disposal, and evaluation of such technologies in relation to nuclear security
  • Emerging non-nuclear technologies including artificial intelligence, uncrewed systems, etc. (both as potential tools for nuclear security and as potential risks) and evaluation of such technologies as related to nuclear security
  • Approaches to nuclear security including graded approach, defence in depth, and risk-informed
  • Existing and emerging threats, prevention, protection and assessment including design basis threat, insider threat and evaluation and assessment of protection systems
  • Supply chain security
  • Nuclear forensics
  • Materials security, including transportation of nuclear and other radioactive material, material accounting and control, national accounting and control measures, and preventing illicit trafficking
  • Building and maintenance of nuclear security detection architecture
  • Coordinated response to nuclear security events

Capacity Building for nuclear security

  • Workforce development
    • Skills for nuclear security
    • Cross and inter-disciplinary concepts
  • Workforce management
    • Attracting the next generation
    • Retention and knowledge management
    • Creating and maintaining workforce diversity

Cross-cutting nuclear security topics

  • Information exchange and regional and international cooperation
  • Information and computer security considerations for nuclear security
  • Interfaces between nuclear security and safety
  • Interfaces between nuclear security and State systems of accounting and control
  • IAEA assistance programmes and advisory services
  • Communication on nuclear security
  • Nuclear security culture
  • Contribution of industry to nuclear security

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