The IAEA in cooperation with Russia´s Interdepartmental Special Training Centre (ISTC) of Rosatom recently held a pilot practical training course for students specializing in nuclear security.
During the week of 26 October 2009, a group of students from the National Nuclear Research University (MEPhI) and Tomsk Polytechnic University (TPU) in the Russian Federation, and the Sevastopol National University of Nuclear Energy and Industry (SNUNEI) in Ukraine, had the opportunity to use the ISTC´s state-of-the-art training facilities in Obninsk, Russia, which were recently upgraded with support of the IAEA Nuclear Security Fund. The week-long practical training programme allowed students to familiarize themselves with the latest security technology in use at the nuclear facilities.
The practical training is a continuation of a curriculum introduced by the three universities in recent years. MEPhI and TPU are graduating students with a specialization in nuclear security. The first group of Ukrainian students to receive their nuclear engineer diplomas with a specialization in nuclear security graduated in 2007 after completing a new academic programme established at SNUNEI with support of the IAEA.
"To date, the three technical universities are the only institutions of this type to adopt such a programme," says Jerzy Knapik, Physical Protection Specialist, Office of Nuclear Security, IAEA.
"However, we continue to research other academic establishments that could offer nuclear security programmes in the hope that the IAEA curriculum can be expanded in the future."
The addition of practical training is to be offered as a permanent installment to the specialized of nuclear security university diploma. So far, the curriculum is only offered in the Russian Federation and Ukraine and is done in Russian. The IAEA, however, is currently working with the ISTC and partner universities to offer the practical training also in English.
The university partners are supporting this project that allows students to use the ISTC and exposes them to the most modern technologies. This is a unique opportunity for students to use such equipment not usually accessible at the universities´ own facilities and research laboratories.
Equipment for ISTC was procured by IAEA from countries as disparate as Canada, Israel, Italy, Japan, France, Germany, Russia, UK and the US. It is used to train specialists from Russia and other IAEA Member States in the field of physical protection of nuclear power plants and other related facilities.
The ISTC is situated in Obninsk, Russian Federation, 100 km from Moscow and was created in 1993. During its 16 years of existence, it has had more than 12 000 Russian security specialists who have completed training courses. The ISTC is also certified as a National Certification Centre and Testing Laboratory for physical protection equipment for Russian power plants and engineering structures.
ISTC cooperation with the IAEA began in 2001, when it introduced an international course on the practical training on operation of physical protection systems. The IAEA organizes training courses and workshops for physical protection specialists from IAEA Member States in the ISTC annually.
In 2004, a decision was taken to create new Physical Protection training facilities at the ISTC. These facilities would be used for further training of specialists. The government of Canada funded curriculum development, training, and equipment for this project through the IAEA Nuclear Security Fund. The new facilities were inaugurated in May 2009.