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IAEA Meeting on Radiation Detection Instruments Highlights Role of Science, Technology and Engineering in Nuclear Security


(Video: A. Silva and J. Weilguny/IAEA)

The development and enhancement of systems to detect radiation and their use to ensure nuclear security was in focus at a recent IAEA Technical Meeting.

The Second Technical Meeting on Radiation Detection Instruments for Nuclear Security: Trends, Challenges and Opportunities, held 16-20 April 2018, brought 135 representatives from 71 Member States and more than 70 representatives from equipment manufacturers and vendors together for discussions on topics such as air cargo detection operations, maintenance challenges and the role of drones and artificial intelligence.

“The implementation of many nuclear security related activities requires the use of radiation detection instruments,” Raja Abdul Aziz Raja Adnan, Director of the IAEA Division of Nuclear Security, told meeting participants at the opening. “These uses range from detection of material out of regulatory control to searches for stolen sources, and ensuring security of material under control and developing nuclear forensic libraries.”

Elsie Monale, Chief Director of Nuclear Non-Proliferation and Radiation Security from the Republic of South Africa, and one of the meeting’s two co-presidents, said discussions at the meeting helped the IAEA understand Member States’ needs and challenges, and participants learn from each other’s experiences.

Elsie Monale, Chief Director, Nuclear Non-Proliferation and Radiation Security, Republic of South Africa.

“The important role of science, technology and engineering in understanding and addressing evolving challenges and threats has been demonstrated,” she said.

Wilhelmus van Heeswijk, Policy Officer Supply Chain Security & Technology expert with the EU Commission, and one of the meeting’s 48 presenters, highlighted the security mission of EU customs, which plays a key role in ensuring both external border and supply chain security. He also noted the importance of training to ensure that equipment can be correctly used by customs staff.

Meeting participant James Phiri, Radiation Safety Officer at the Radiation Protection Authority in Zambia, said information shared at the meeting was useful: “There is a lot of new information that will help me improve my area of operation that is under nuclear security.”

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