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Enhancing Nuclear Safety and Security Highlighted at Arab Network of Nuclear Regulators Meeting


Steering Committee members at the 15th Annual Meeting of the Arab Network of Nuclear Regulators, Vienna, Austria. (Photo: O. Adelman/IAEA)

The 15th Annual Meeting of the Arab Network of Nuclear Regulators was hosted for the first time at the IAEA headquarters from 19 to 22 February, where concrete action items to enhance nuclear and radioactive material safety and security in the Arab region were discussed.

In her opening remarks, Elena Buglova, Acting Deputy-Director General for the Department of Nuclear Safety and Security, highlighted that “the Arab Network of Nuclear Regulators (ANNuR) is actively and effectively collaborating with the IAEA and other international partners.”  She also added that “ANNuR has played a significant role in increasing awareness among countries on the need for regulators to be independent, competent, and efficient,” noting the network’s commitment to strengthen and harmonize the regulatory infrastructure in Arab countries.   

Over 50 participants from national regulatory bodies of 16 countries and international organizations exchanged extensive information and collaborative opportunities on eight thematic areas. These areas included, among others, the legislative and regulatory infrastructure, emergency preparedness and response, safety management of nuclear installations and nuclear security.   

For over a decade, ANNuR has been dedicated to strengthening and harmonizing the regulatory infrastructure in Arab countries. As one of the regional networks under the IAEA’s Global Nuclear Safety and Security Network (GNSSN), it also aims to provide a platform where the Member States exchange regulatory knowledge and experiences, not only among themselves, but also with other international networks.

Highlighted at the meeting was the newly developed terms of reference and corresponding ANNuR Strategic Action Plan for 2023-2027. This plan covers the establishment of the eight new thematic working groups with defined objectives and a roadmap to assess long-term strategies for advancing nuclear safety and security in the region.

During the meeting, countries shared their challenges and achievements in building and maintaining nuclear safety and security infrastructure. Comprehensive presentations were delivered, during which many of the network’s member countries explained the establishment of legislative and regulatory systems, despite financial and human resources constraints. The network discussions also recognized the critical need for countries in the region to refine their regulations in various technical areas such as in radiation protection and radioactive waste management and to enhance capacity building activities in nuclear safety and security.

During this event, many participants exchanged views on working together to solicit resources within the region before seeking outside support.  This would be a “more tangible approach to ensure the sustainability of the network and accountability of each country’s contribution,” said Daw Mosbah of the Arab Atomic Energy Agency, which is the secretariat of the ANNuR.  

Attention was also drawn to the disparity in developing effective regulatory mechanism among ANNuR members, for which this network could “serve as a platform for bilateral or multilateral cooperation to facilitate exchange of lessons learned and expertise,” Daw Mosbah added, emphasizing that “it enables the Member States to create a robust foundation for the sustainability of the network and in ensuring the accountable of each Member State’s contribution.” 

Another major outcome of the meeting was the ANNuR 2024-2025 activity plan, which covers the priority areas for each country to work on a more integrated regional approach on nuclear safety and security.  Under the plan, the support provided by the IAEA will help to better navigate the optimal approach to bridge gaps, said Lingquan Guo, Head of the IAEA Networks Management and Partnerships Section, noting that, “the collective effort to grow and broaden the scope of this network, as well as the continuous commitment of this network and active engagement with stakeholders while promising ongoing support from the IAEA is commendable.”

ANNuR was launched in 2010 to support the IAEA’s Nuclear Safety and Security Programme.

Participants at the 15th Annual Meeting of the Arab Network of Nuclear Regulators, Vienna Austria. (Photo: H. Shaffer/IAEA)

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