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The IAEA Nuclear Security Training and Demonstration Centre is Set to Open


NSTDC will soon open its doors to host training courses for participants from all over the world. (Photo: IAEA)

A sneak preview of the first ever international Nuclear Security Training and Demonstration Centre (NSTDC) and the training activities planned to start in October 2023 was given today during a side event held at the margins of the 67th IAEA General Conference.  

Lydie Evrard, IAEA Deputy Director General and Head of the Department of Nuclear Safety and Security, highlighted the unique nature of the new IAEA facility, noting that “the NSTDC is built to respond to growing requests by countries for capacity building in the field of nuclear security that could not be met elsewhere.”  

“The IAEA has developed a training programme that will complement the existing national and international mechanisms of nuclear security capacity building,” said in her remarks.  

The NSTDC is housed in a new multipurpose building (MPB) located at the IAEA’s laboratories in Seibersdorf, 30 km south of Vienna, Austria. The MPB construction work started in July 2021, after the Director General of the IAEA, Rafael Mariano Grossi, broke ground for the new facility

Under the NSTDC training programme, there are currently 23 training courses and workshops. All of them address training needs in the area of physical protection of nuclear and other radioactive material and associated facilities; and in the area of detection and response to criminal or intentional unauthorized acts involving or directed at nuclear or other radioactive material, associated facilities or associated activities.  

Considering the IAEA work for cancer care, the NSTDC training programme includes a course for countries anticipating in or planning to join the Rays of Hope titled “Introduction to life cycle security of radioactive material and associated facilities in cancer care”. The course aims to familiarize participants with key considerations towards ensuring life cycle security and sustainability of radioactive material and associated facilities used for cancer care, including information and computer security aspects of nuclear security. 

“The NSTDC is a modern, specialized training facility, supported by state-of-the-art technical infrastructure,” said Marina Labyntseva, Head of the Education and Training Development Unit in the IAEA Division of Nuclear Security. “Through a training programme designed to address identified needs and gaps, the NSTDC will offer access to hands-on training, advanced technology and equipment to thousands of experts.” 

During a live demonstration from the new Centre, the audience saw the two areas where hands-on training for physical protection will be conducted: the Physical Protection Laboratory (PPL) and the Demonstration Control Centre (DCC). PPL is both a demonstration area, as well as a workspace which will allow trainees to configure, manipulate and test different physical protection components, such as access controls and surveillance cameras. DCC will serve to train participants on central alarm station operations. It is equipped with multiple workstations that can be configured for alarm monitoring, access control, and video monitoring, as well as for training on computer security.  

“The IAEA applied a systematic approach to the establishment and operation of the NSTDC with a focus on sustainability,” said Elena Buglova, Director of the IAEA Division of Nuclear Security, presenting the milestones in the implementation of this IAEA flagship project. “NSTDC is a success story and a proof of what we can achieve through international cooperation.”Buglova acknowledged, praising the key role of the fifteen donors in its timely completion. The NSTDC and the MPB are funded by donor support pledges and /or in-kind contributions from Armenia, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, China, Denmark, Germany, Italy, Republic of Korea, Russian Federation, Saudi Arabia, Switzerland, United Kingdom, United States of America, as well as the European Union.  

The Friends of the NSTDC, a forum established by Member States in the end of 2021, also helps to coordinate planned areas of support, mobilize resources and increase the awareness about NSTDC. As the MPB will serve the entire Agency’s Seibersdorf Laboratories, it also houses a new cafeteria for staff and visitors  and aims to host in the future a visitors’ Welcome Centre with interactive exhibits about nuclear science and technology applications.  

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