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Call for Papers: Seeking Submissions to 2018 Symposium on Building Future Safeguards Capabilities


Presenters with ideas to help improve the IAEA’s technical capabilities and achieve efficiencies in its nuclear verification work have until 31 March to submit abstracts for the quadrennial Symposium on International Safeguards. The Symposium will take place in Vienna on 5 to 8 November 2018. Its aim is to look at emerging technologies and innovative approaches with potential for strengthening and streamlining the implementation of safeguards, and to explore relevant partnerships and mechanisms.  

Through a set of technical measures, or Safeguards, the IAEA verifies that States are honouring their international legal obligations to use nuclear material and technology only for peaceful purposes. Its independent verification work allows the IAEA to play an indispensable role in preventing the spread of nuclear weapons.

Technological advancements in information technology such as artificial intelligence and data science provide new opportunities in verification. The IAEA has been testing applications of artificial intelligence and machine learning to more efficiently locate relevant information from the sea of data available in the open sources. Using crowdsourcing as part of a Robotics Challenge, the IAEA is working with technology partners and representatives of Member States to better understand the possibilities for robotics to support inspectors in the field, particularly by automating repetitive tasks. The Symposium invites leading experts to help the safeguards community better understand how these and other emerging technologies could address its needs. Interactive and focused sessions will provide a platform for results-oriented dialogue.

The Symposium will also seek to cultivate partnerships to bring innovation into all aspects of safeguards, from preparing to safeguard new facility designs to working smarter in the day-to-day implementation of safeguards in cooperation with State/regional authorities and facility operators. “What are the future challenges that will affect our community? What are the opportunities for working smarter today, and who do we need to partner with to make it happen? These are the questions we are seeking to answer,” said Carrie Mathews, the Scientific Secretary of the Symposium. “We have a robust system, but we must remain prepared for what the future brings.”

The programme is structured around four thematic areas:

  • Addressing emerging safeguards challenges,
  • Leveraging technological advancements,
  • Preparing for safeguarding new facilities, and
  • Shaping the future of safeguards implementation.

In addition to the technical programme, the Symposium will feature special events, including a panel on 'Leading Women of Safeguards' — discussing gender balance, and a safeguards networking and recruitment event.

Conference pre-registration is open. Abstracts may be submitted until 31 March 2018 in the INDICO system. Questions may be directed to safeguards2018@iaea.org.

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