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International Physical Protection Advisory Service: Twenty Years of Achievement


IAEA and Member State representatives present IPPAS’  achievements during 60th GC side event . (Photo: M. Fawaz-Huber/IAEA)

IAEA nuclear security experts together with representatives of Member States highlighted the accomplishments of the International Physical Protection Advisory Service (IPPAS) in helping States strengthen their nuclear security over the last 20 years at an event on the margins of the 60th IAEA General Conference today.

IPPAS is a fundamental part of the IAEA’s efforts to assist States to establish and maintain an effective nuclear security regime to protect against unauthorised removal of nuclear material and the sabotage of nuclear facilities and materials. Upon request, an international team of experts, under coordination by the IAEA, reviews the country’s nuclear security regime and compares it with international guidelines and best practices, in particular the 2005 Amendment to the Convention on the Physical Protection of Nuclear Material (CPPNM) and the IAEA Nuclear Security Series (NSS) guidance publications. Based on its review, an IPPAS team provides recommendations for improvement of this regime. 

“A significant increase in the use of IPPAS indicates an increased recognition of the value of the service for independent international peer reviews of national nuclear security regimes,” said Raja Raja Adnan, Director of the IAEA Division of Nuclear Security. “We regard IPPAS as going beyond the provision of advice. An essential feature of IPPAS is the availability, upon request, of IAEA follow-up assistance, such as training, technical support and more targeted assessments of various elements of the national nuclear security regime.”

IPPAS: 73 reviews in 46 countries

Since 1996, the IAEA has conducted 73 IPPAS missions in 46 countries and at the IAEA Laboratories in Seibersdorf, with the participation of more than 140 experts from around the world. States that have recently hosted IPPAS missions include Albania, Canada, Japan, Malaysia, New Zealand, Norway, Poland and the United Kingdom. Several others, including Australia, China, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Germany, Hungary, Jamaica, Lithuania, Madagascar, Sweden, Turkey and the United Arab Emirates have requested IPPAS missions for 2016 and 2017.

 “IPPAS recommendations and suggestions helped significantly improve the regulatory framework in the field of nuclear security,” said Latchezar Kostov, Chairman of the Nuclear Regulatory Agency of Bulgaria, the first Member State to receive an IPPAS mission back in 1996. “The discussions between our physical protection experts and IPPAS team members were an important source of nuclear security knowledge and resulted in a number of improvements in the protection of our nuclear facilities.”

The United Kingdom was the first country with a large nuclear programme to host an IPPAS mission in 2011, with a follow-up mission in 2016.

“The missions have been valuable in allowing the UK to draw upon the expertise of the IAEA and other Member States in a range of disciplines across nuclear security,”  said Robin Grimes, Chief Scientific Advisor to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office. “The missions have provided valuable validation of the UK's approach and have identified a number of areas of good security practice that the UK can share with others.”

The IAEA is prepared to meet the increasing demand for IPPAS missions, Adnan said.

“We invite States to consider hosting an IPPAS mission in the future and benefitting from the advice and assistance that a mission brings. I would also emphasis that the recently amended CPPNM demonstrates the continued determination of the international community to act together to strengthen nuclear security globally.  IPPAS is an important element of this work.”


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