Rafael Mariano Grossi, director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency, officially opened the IAEA Nuclear Security Training and Demonstration Centre during an October 3 ceremony at the agency’s Seibersdorf laboratories in Austria. Representatives of 45 countries and territories were in attendance.
The center, which the IAEA called the first international facility of its type, will provide more than 2000 square meters (about 6500 square feet) of specialized technical infrastructure and equipment for course participants to learn about the physical protection of nuclear and other radioactive material, as well as detection and response to criminal acts involving nuclear material and facilities.
“Nuclear security is one of the most important areas of our work to make sure that nuclear material never falls into the wrong hands,” said Grossi. “The international nuclear security center of excellence-opened today-is where experts on nuclear security and the physical protection of nuclear material from all over the world will be trained to hone their skills.”
The need: The IAEA noted in a press release that requests for training in nuclear security have increased in recent years as more countries embark on nuclear power programs and after the 2016 commencement of the amendment to the Convention on the Physical Protection of Nuclear Material–the only legally binding international instrument in physical protection of nuclear material.
What’s there: Inside the two-story training center are simulated environments, virtual reality tools, and advanced software. It will provide hands-on practice on nuclear security systems for the physical protection of nuclear facilities, information and computer security, nuclear forensics, major public events, and other nuclear security areas of work.
“We are giving countries the tools to do nuclear better, safer, and in a secure way,” Grossi said.
Up next: The center will welcome the first trainees this week for a course on security management of radioactive material, one of the 23 training courses and workshops to be offered.
“By building this new center, the IAEA can offer unique training activities to address existing gaps using specialized up-to-date equipment, computer-based simulation tools and advanced training methods,” said Elena Buglova, director of the IAEA's division of nuclear security.
The training center is part of a multi-purpose building that was constructed with more than €18 million (about US$19 million) in extra-budgetary funding from 15 donors, as well as in-kind contributions. It will bolster the capabilities of the IAEA to respond to countries’ needs in capacity building for nuclear security.