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Innovative Solutions Discussed at Global Nuclear Safety and Security Network Meeting 


IAEA Director General Rafael Mariano Grossi addressed the Tenth Plenary Meeting of the Global Nuclear Safety and Security Network (GNSSN)  side event that took place duirng the IAEA 67th General Conference .  (Photo: D. Calma/IAEA)

 Challenges and innovative solutions for the future related to the development of a sustainable radiation and nuclear safety infrastructure in line with the IAEA safety standards and international good practices were presented recently during the Global Nuclear Safety and Security Network (GNSSN) Plenary Meeting, held on the margins of the IAEA 67th General Conference.

Over 90 participants, and 15 Member States attended the annual gathering that focuses on international cooperation and dialogue among global, regional and national technical networks in nuclear safety and security. 

At the opening of this plenary, Director General Rafael Mariano Grossi, expressed his support and appreciation for GNSSN, as the largest network in Nuclear Safety and Security. He stressed the unique benefits of the platform, which enables Member States to share their knowledge and experience in a sector of growing importance, noting the dynamism and effort of the network members. 

During this meeting, participants learned about the role of the technical and scientific support organizations (TSOs), which, working with regulators, play a vital role in sustaining the nuclear and radiological safety and security infrastructure in many countries. The innovative webtool TOSCA and its self-assessment methodology was covered. The tool is user-friendly and allows all stakeholders such as government bodies, regulatory authorities and technical support providers to take part in a self-assessment process on the support required to strengthen nuclear safety and security at facilities. TOSCA also provides visual displays to synthesize the results of the self-assessment and support analysis of the results. 

In his remarks, Alfredo de los Reyes Castelo, Head of International Relations at the Spanish Nuclear Safety Council and Chair of the GNSSN's Steering Committee, outlined the key achievements and the current challenges in nuclear safety and security and cooperation with other forums and networks. "Strong coordination and collaboration among various IT and human networks have continued to progress significantly to support capacity building, safety and security relevant issues and infrastructure development nationally, regionally and globally through GNSSN,” he said. 

At the event, Shahid Mallick, Director of the IAEA Office of Safety and Security Coordination provided an overview of the International Conference on Effective Nuclear and Radiation Regulatory Systems (RegCon2023), which took place in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates in February. He underscored the importance of regulatory agility and resilience in a rapidly changing environment and how this helps countries to achieve effective and sustainable regulatory systems to ensure robust nuclear safety, radiation safety and nuclear security worldwide.  

RegCon2023 also included the young professionals’ competition, where five IAEA Member States presented innovative ideas on various topics to improve the effectiveness of nuclear regulatory systems.  The winning team from the United Arab Emirates was invited to present its innovative solution — “Nuclear Ferris Wheel Application” — at the GNSSN Plenary.

 “We are proud that the team of the UAE’s Federal Authority for Nuclear Regulation (FANR) won the young professionals’ competition, where we presented our initiative among some innovative ideas from other regulators during the RegCon2023. We thank the IAEA for their support and inviting us to present the initiative during the 67th General Conference,” said Khadeeja Al Awadhi, IT Security Senior Officer, Nuclear Security Department, FANR, adding that “the Nuclear Ferris Wheel initiative is based on developing an innovative and interactive tool to communicate and engage with different members of the public with the purpose of raising awareness and education about nuclear energy and radiation with all aspects related to the industry. The purpose of this initiative is to build confidence and maintain the trust of the public and help galvanize young people to join this sector.”  

A further area of discussion was on safety and security issues relating to the deployment of advanced nuclear power reactors, such as small modular reactors (SMRs) and microreactors (MRs) and their challenges and opportunities for safety and security. Emerging reactor concepts like SMRs and MRs are among the most promising emerging technologies in nuclear power and have the potential to play a key role in the clean energy transition. More than 80 commercial SMR designs being developed around the world to target varied outputs and different applications, such as electricity, hybrid energy systems, heating, water desalinisation and steam for industrial applications. 

In his concluding remarks, Alfredo de los Reyes Castelo, underscored that “the GNSSN will continue to support and coordinate regional and inter-regional efforts among its Member States, for sharing knowledge, and experience on safety-relevant issues and for developing and strengthening their capacity building programmes to assume their responsibilities for safe, responsible and sustainable use of nuclear technologies.” 

The GNSSN was launched in 2006 to support the IAEA’s Nuclear Safety and Security Programme. 

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