A team of International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) experts today completed a mission to review national nuclear security practices in the Republic of Korea.
At the request of the Government of the ROK, the IAEA conducted a two-week International Physical Protection Advisory Service (IPPAS) mission that reviewed the nation's nuclear security-related legislative and regulatory framework for nuclear and other radioactive material and associated facilities, as well as security arrangements applied to the transport of nuclear material and radioactive sources, and to computer systems. In addition, the team reviewed physical protection systems at the Hanbit Nuclear Power Plant (NPP), operated by Korea Hydro and Nuclear Power Company (KHNP), and at the High-Flux Advanced Neutron Application Reactor (HANARO), operated by the Korea Atomic Energy Research Institute (KAERI).
The IPPAS team concluded that Korea is working well to conduct strong and sustainable nuclear security activities. Moreover, the team identified a number of good practices in the national nuclear security regime, and at the visited facilities. The team also made recommendations and suggestions for continuous improvement in nuclear security.
The IAEA team was led by Joseph Sandoval, a staff member at the Sandia National Laboratories in the United States, and it included eight experts from six nations and the IAEA. The team met in Daejeon with officials from the Nuclear Safety and Security Commission (NSSC), representatives of the Korea Institute of Nuclear Non-Proliferation and Control (KINAC), the Korea Institute of Nuclear Safety (KINS), KAERI, and the Korea Electric Power Corporation Nuclear Fuel (KEPCO NF). They conducted site visits to the Hanbit NPP, the HANARO research reactor, the irradiation facility at KAERI's Advanced Radiation Technology Institute (ARTI), and the KHNP Cyber Security Center.
"Successful development of a nuclear power programme necessitates a strong commitment to security, and the example given by the ROK strengthens the message about the value of applying the IAEA Security Guidance and the use of its advisory services," said Carlos Torres Vidal, Head of the IAEA Nuclear Security of Materials and Facilities Section.
"The IPPAS mission was very useful in improving the ROK's nuclear security regime. The Republic of Korea will implement the recommendations and suggestions in the near future, and we intend to invite a follow-up mission afterwards," said Kim Yong-Hwan, the Secretary General of NSSC.
The mission was the 62nd IPPAS mission conducted by the IAEA since the programme began in 1995. The ROK was the 40th country which hosted an IPPAS mission.
IPPAS missions are intended to help States strengthen their national nuclear security regime. The missions provide peer advice on implementing international instruments, and IAEA guidance on the protection of nuclear and other radioactive material and associated facilities.
The missions call upon a team of international experts to assess a nation's system of physical protection, compare it with international best practices and make recommendations for improvement. IPPAS missions are conducted both on a nationwide and facility-specific basis.