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Workshop for Nuclear Security Support Centres Focuses on Security of Radioactive Material


Ukraine’s and Egypt’s NSSC’s discuss maintenance of radiation detection equipment. (Photo: IAEA/Q. Rose)

At a recent workshop in Vienna, representatives of national Nuclear Security Support Centres (NSSCs) and the IAEA engaged in scenario-based exercises and analyzed data gathered on NSSC training courses and other activities to better understand how such centres can help to sustain the security of radioactive material and facilities.

The Centres provide staff development and technical as well as scientific support services. They aim to strengthen the sustainability of nuclear security by supporting authorities, operators, and other organizations with nuclear security responsibilities.

During the 22-25 July workshop, organized by the IAEA’s International Network for Nuclear Security Training and Support Centres (NSSC Network), 33 participants from 26 countries worked collaboratively, in particular through group discussions using a hypothetical scenario to explore the challenges that countries may face in setting up an NSSC to support security of radioactive material. The workshop participants used live audience polling to validate data already shared by the Network members on training courses held by NSSCs related to security of radioactive materials and facilities.

“This interactive workshop confirms that States can consider the establishment of an NSSC to help them sustain security systems and measures for radioactive material, including material lost, stolen or that has otherwise fallen out of regulatory control.” said IAEA Nuclear Security Division Director Raja Abdul Aziz Raja Adnan. “But it also clearly demonstrates that for such centres to remain effective over the long-term, they should be developed systematically with sustained coordination among and commitment by all stakeholders and competent authorities within the State.”

The interactive sessions have helped the IAEA and the NSSC Network enhance the Network's toolkit for future activities and helped identify next steps for further work in this area, Raja Adnan added. The participants agreed that more work is needed, for example, to determine how NSSCs can better support authorized users of radioactive sources, including in hospitals and industrial facilities. Many centres already provide such support to regulatory body staff and front line officers, including customs and police officers.

The Network uses data submitted by NSSCs to identify the centres’ capabilities and needs and to plan activities in which centres support each other. One such activity was held in late July, when experts from the Egyptian Nuclear Security Support Centre visited Ukraine’s State Border Guard Service to learn from the country’s experience in establishing an NSSC program for the maintenance of radiation detection equipment. 

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