A ceremony launching the first ever Masters Programme in Nuclear Security was held on 18 April 2013 at the Reactor Institute of the Delft University of Technology in the Netherlands, marking the growing importance of security on the global nuclear agenda. Five other European universities are also taking part in the programme: the University of Oslo, the Technical University of Vienna, the Brandenburg University of Applied Sciences, the National Centre for Scientific Research "Demokritos" in Greece, and the University of Manchester Dalton Nuclear Institute.
Ten students are currently enrolled in the programme, under which they will spend time or attend lectures at the participating universities in the next 20 months. The syllabus is based on the 12 modules defined in the IAEA's Educational Programme in Nuclear Security, which is a publication under the IAEA Nuclear Security Series. The course includes prevention and planning; detection of, and response to, unauthorized access; theft; sabotage; and illegal transfer or other malicious acts involving nuclear material, other radioactive substances or their associated facilities. The Masters Programme aims to provide nuclear security managers with the ability to effectively build strategies and tactics within organizations to manage security hazards and risks.
The Masters course is being launched amid growing international awareness of the threat of malicious acts involving nuclear material. It is the responsibility of governments to ensure that nuclear and other radioactive material and their associated facilities and activities, are managed safely and properly protected by well-trained expert staff. Rapid technological change increases the need for experts with state-of-the-art knowledge.
In his address at the ceremony, IAEA Director General Yukiya Amano commended this effort to train a new generation of experts who can help to improve global nuclear security.
"Strengthening nuclear security throughout the world remains a challenge for all of us," Mr. Amano said. "National governments have primary responsibility for nuclear security, but international cooperation is vital." Mr. Amano also told students and faculty members: "It is clear that we will need a new generation of policy-makers and nuclear professionals - people like you - who will have a proper understanding of the importance of nuclear security."
Read the IAEA Director General's full statement here.
IAEA Collaborating Centre
During his visit, the Director General also re-designated the Reactor Institute Delft as an IAEA Collaborating Centre for a further three years.
"The IAEA's cooperation with the Reactor Institute Delft is a very good example of a mutually beneficial partnership," Mr. Amano said, citing the institute's considerable knowledge and expertise and its key role in scientific research in a number of fields such as health and sustainable energy.
Staff from the Institute have supported the Agency in designing technical cooperation projects to assist nuclear analytical laboratories around the world, and in improving research reactor applications. The Director General expressed his gratitude for the Reactor Institute Delft's help in hosting training courses, taking part in expert missions, and organising fellowships, regional courses and scientific visits.
For the future, strengthened collaboration is planned in areas such as fostering and enhancing research reactor operations; advancing neutron-activation based methodologies, and improving neutron-activation analysis; application of the radiotracer technique in applied sciences; and using small research reactors for medical radioisotope production.