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Innovative Technologies Presented at IAEA Safeguards Symposium


A symposium attendee tests virtual reality (VR) equipment. Technologies such as VR could help increase the effectiveness and efficiency of the safeguards system in the future.  (Photo: D. Calma/IAEA)

Participants from around the world have gathered in Vienna to present various technical innovations which may have the potential to increase the effectiveness and efficiency of the IAEA’s nuclear verification activities. Building future safeguards capabilities by taking advantage of technological innovation was in focus at the Symposium on International Safeguards, held 5–8 November 2018 at IAEA headquarters.

“The world is rapidly developing innovative technologies that might be developed for use by Safeguards inspectors in verifying declarations of nuclear material made by States. The IAEA keeps track of the technologies developed by external parties, including national laboratories, universities, and the private sector to identify and evaluate technological developments in support of nuclear verification,” said Alexey Anichenko, Director of the Division of Technical and Scientific Services, Department of Safeguards, IAEA.  

One of the technologies presented by participants explored how augmented reality could be applied to international safeguards. Augmented reality is an interactive technology in which a computer-generated environment is overlaid onto the real-world environment. It is already in use in the nuclear industry, while other sectors such as manufacturing and healthcare use augmented reality to enhance product development and improve patient care.

In nuclear verification, augmented reality has potential use for visualizing important inspection data and for training safeguards inspectors. Depth sensors and other optical equipment could also support the work of inspectors through the creation of 3-D models of the environment thereby  facilitating the detection of any changes that may have been made at nuclear facilities.

The Department of Safeguards works with Member States to identify its research and development requirements. The current Department of Safeguards Research and Development Plan is available here.

For more on the Symposium on International Safeguards, which took place this week with side events covering topics such as capacity building and how to enhance regional cooperation, please check out the Safeguards Symposium website.

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