Nuclear threats are on-going concerns for States, which have to ensure that nuclear materials are not stolen, or used maliciously, as well as to prevent sabotage at nuclear facilities, among other threats.
The IAEA and its Member States are working to strengthen the international nuclear security framework to secure nuclear and other radioactive material in use, storage and transport, as well as the associated facilities. Highly qualified individuals are need to ensure that framework's effectiveness.
"Unless States have a sufficient number of well-educated and trained staff with the right competence and skills, nuclear security cannot be sustainable," says Khammar Mrabit, Director of the IAEA's Nuclear Security Office.
The International School on Nuclear Security, which opened this week in Trieste, Italy, plays an important role in supporting Member States' nuclear security programmes. Jointly organized by the IAEA and the Abdus Salam International Centre for Theoretical Physics (ICTP) in collaboration with the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Partnership for Nuclear Security (PNS), the two-week School combines IAEA technical expertise with the ICTP's international network of researchers in developing countries. Focused primarily on young professionals from developing countries involved in some aspect of nuclear security, the School provides them with the knowledge they can use to improve national nuclear security.
The School opened officially on Monday, 8 April with Giovanni Brauzzi, Deputy Director General/Principal Director for Security, Disarmament and Non-Proliferation at the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, in attendance. An opening message from Khammar Mrabit, Director of the IAEA's Office of Nuclear Security, will be delivered by video.
The Italian Government announced the School's establishment at the 2010 Nuclear Security Summit in Washington, DC, as part of its national commitment to strengthen global nuclear security. Since then, two Schools have successfully concluded, reaching more than 100 young nuclear security professionals from some 50 countries. This year, there are 47 participants from 39 States.
IAEA experts will lecture at the school covering the international legal framework; identification of, and remedies to threats against nuclear security; instruments and methods for access control and alarm; illicit trafficking in nuclear and other radioactive material; responses to incidents involving nuclear and other radioactive material; nuclear security culture; measures for systematic nuclear security human resource development, among other topics.
Practical exercises will also be held to help incorporate this knowledge into actual plans and procedures to protect against threats to nuclear security. A visit to the Seaport of Kopr in nearby Slovenia will allow participants to see radiation monitoring equipment in operation. A one-day exercise demonstrating the value of nuclear forensics is also planned.