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Behind the Scenes: IAEA Laboratories Open their Doors to Virtual Visitors

Virtual tours

(Photo: Adobe Stock. Image: A.Vargas/IAEA)

 Visitors from around the world can take a stroll through a greenhouse with coffee beans more resistant to climate change, dive into a rainforest ecosphere with fruit flies, or see some of the equipment used to verify the peaceful use of nuclear material – all from their laptop, tablet, or phone. To make this possible, 14 virtual tours of the IAEA laboratories have been launched today on our website.

The IAEA laboratories, some of which date back to 1958, are a cornerstone of the IAEA's technical and scientific analysis and programme delivery and are a unique feature in the United Nations’ system.

The laboratories, located in Monaco, and in Austria – at Vienna and Seibersdorf, can now be virtually visited by anyone interested in getting a better sense of nuclear science and technology for development, and how the IAEA assists countries in using them, and the tools used to verify that nuclear material remains in peaceful use – an activity known as safeguards.

Visitors can tour through the different rooms of laboratories used by researchers and technicians in food and agriculture, human health, environmental and radiation monitoring, and safeguards verification equipment.

Tour to Nuclear Applications Laboratories

Since the IAEA opened its first laboratory in Vienna to train scientists from Member States to work with radioisotopes, numerous specialized labs have been established under the Department of Nuclear Sciences and Applications, including eight laboratories in Seibersdorf, Austria, one at the Vienna International Centre, and three at the IAEA Marine Environment Laboratories in Monaco. Visitors can now tour all of them by clicking on the corresponding link below:

Tour to Safeguards Equipment Laboratories

IAEA safeguards, a series of technical measures to verify that States honour their international nuclear non-proliferation obligations, require Agency inspectors to travel across the world to perform in-field verification of a country’s nuclear material and technology. The interactive tour allows visitors to learn about the equipment that IAEA safeguards inspectors use in verifying the peaceful use of nuclear material.

Set within the IAEA Equipment Laboratories at the IAEA headquarters, visitors can digitally ‘wander’ around exhibits detailing radiation monitoring and screening tools, non-destructive assay equipment, surveillance and unattended monitoring capabilities, and the seals and containment applied to nuclear material.

Tour to Individual Monitoring Services for Radiation Protection Laboratory

Visitors can also tour the IAEA Radiation Safety Technical Services laboratory, set in the IAEA Headquarters, and learn about the individual monitoring and protection services for around 3000 IAEA workers annually exposed to radiation, which ascertain radiation doses received and help to ensure that exposure levels stay below dose limits.

Inside the virtual lab, visitors will see where staff collect their personal monitoring devices for use in global inspection and verification activities in around 110 countries a year, learn about the instruments used for detecting radionuclides present inside the body, and be introduced to the staff responsible for conducting more than 46 000 individual monitoring measurements annually to determine the internal and external exposure of the workers to ionizing radiation, in support of IAEA activities.

Last update: 20 Jul 2023

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