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IAEA Completes International Physical Protection Advisory Service Mission in Kuwait

Kuwait City, Kuwait

Members of the IPPAS team visited the Kuwait Cancer Control Centre’s Gamma Knife facility. (IAEA)

An International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) team of experts today completed an International Physical Protection Advisory Service (IPPAS) mission in Kuwait. The mission reviewed the current status of Kuwait's national nuclear security regime by comparing its legal and regulatory framework, systems and practices for nuclear security to the relevant international instruments and IAEA nuclear security guidance, with the focus on the security of radioactive sources.

The IPPAS mission, conducted from 28 May to 8 June 2023, was the first such mission in Kuwait. It was carried out at the request of the Government of Kuwait and hosted by the Radiation Protection Department (RPD) of the Ministry of Health.

The scope of the twelve day mission included a review of the legislative and regulatory framework for the security of radioactive material; regulatory practices in licensing, inspections and enforcement; and coordination between stakeholders involved in nuclear security. The review also covered security measures and practices at selected facilities and activities using radioactive material.

In April 2016, Kuwait ratified the 2005 Amendment to the Convention on the Physical Protection of Nuclear Material (CPPNM), and a review of its implementation was also included in the scope of the mission.

At the end of the mission, the team reported that Kuwait has established a nuclear security regime. The team made recommendations and suggestions aimed at supporting the country to further strengthen its nuclear security procedures and practices. Good practices were identified, which may be used by other IAEA Member States to build long term improvement in global nuclear security.

The seven person team was led by Rachid Mellouki, Head of the Physical Protection Unit in the Safety and Security Department of the National Centre for Nuclear Energy, Science and Technology of Morocco. The team – which included experts from Bulgaria, Egypt, Jordan, the United States and the IAEA - met in Kuwait City with officials from the RPD, as well as with the National Liaison Officer to the IAEA from the Kuwait Institute for Scientific Research (KISR). As part of the review, the team visited three facilities where high activity radioactive sources are in use or in storage.

“The Kuwait mission focused on the security of radioactive sources—an important topic for all countries. By seeing first hand Kuwait’s radioactive source facilities and practices, such as for blood irradiation, high precision cancer treatments, and advanced non-destructive testing services for industry, the team was able to identify several good practices in Kuwait that can be shared with other states,” said Heather Looney, Head of the Nuclear Security of Materials and Facilities Section of the IAEA’s Division of Nuclear Security.

“The advice provided by the IPPAS team will facilitate Kuwait’s efforts in establishing priorities and making enhancements to the nuclear security regime,” said Fadhel Ali Haider Ghuloum, Director of the RPD. “The Government of Kuwait looks forward to implementation of the team’s recommendations and suggestions, in close cooperation with the IAEA.”


The mission was the 98th IPPAS mission conducted by the IAEA since the programme began in 1995.

IPPAS missions are intended to assist States in strengthening their national nuclear security regime. The missions provide peer advice on implementing international instruments, along with IAEA guidance on the protection of nuclear and other radioactive material and associated facilities.

During missions, a team of international experts observes a nation's system of physical protection, compares it with international good practices and makes recommendations for improvement. IPPAS missions are conducted both on a nationwide and facility-specific basis.

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