IAEA issues incident-tracking database fact sheet

May 21, 2024, 7:00AMNuclear News

Last year, 168 incidents of illegal or unauthorized activities involving nuclear and other radioactive materials were reported to the International Atomic Energy Agency’s Incident and Trafficking Database (ITDB). According to the agency, this number is in line with historical averages. These incidents were reported by 31 IAEA member states; as of 2023, a total of 145 member states have participated in the ITDB.

Reducing global radiological risk, moving alternative technologies forward

May 15, 2024, 9:28AMNuclear NewsKristin Hirsch

Kristin Hirsch

Radioactive materials are used in medical, research, and commercial facilities to treat cancer, irradiate blood, sterilize food and equipment, and build economies worldwide. In the wrong hands, however, even a small amount of radioactive material can do a great deal of harm. A radiological dispersal device (RDD), otherwise known as a “dirty bomb,” is believed to be an attractive weapon for terrorist groups due to its scale of impact—panic, physical contamination, costly remediation, and denial of access to facilities and locations.

The Department of Energy’s National Nuclear Security Administration Office of Radiological Security (ORS) enhances global security by preventing high-activity radioactive materials from being used in acts of terrorism. ORS implements its mission through three strategies: protecting radioactive sources used for vital medical, research, and commercial purposes by securing facilities that utilize radioactive isotopes; removing and disposing of disused sources; and encouraging the adoption and development of nonradioisotopic alternative technologies such as X-ray and electron beam irradiators.

Industry experts at ANS virtual event discuss strategies for safe and secure nuclear power expansion

February 9, 2024, 7:02AMANS News
From left: Piercy, Hart, Iyengar, Tobey

The latest virtual event produced by the American Nuclear Society brought together experts from the forefront of the global nuclear industry to discuss strategies for ensuring a safe, secure, and healthy expansion in the face of a rapidly changing energy and geopolitical landscape.

The webinar, moderated by ANS Executive Director/CEO Craig Piercy, featured J’Tia Hart, chief science officer for the National and Homeland Security Directorate at Idaho National Laboratory; Anagha Iyengar, deputy program director for analytics and innovation at the National Nuclear Security Administration’s Office of International Nuclear Security; and William Tobey, former NNSA deputy administrator for defense nuclear nonproliferation.

Cambodia makes progress in nuclear security, IAEA finds

January 2, 2024, 3:00PMNuclear News
Members of the IAEA’s INSServ team visit the Sihanoukville Autonomous Port in Cambodia. (Photo: IAEA)

The International Atomic Energy Agency completed an advisory service mission to Cambodia on December 11–22 that focused on assessing the country's security regime for nuclear and other radioactive material out of regulatory control (MORC).

IAEA unveils training center for nuclear security

October 9, 2023, 7:00AMNuclear News
The IAEA’s new nuclear security training center. (Photo: Katy Laffan/IAEA)

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.

Kerry announces more U.S.-backed nuclear plans for Europe

September 11, 2023, 12:01PMNuclear News

Kerry

During a side event held at last week’s Three Seas Initiative Summit in Bucharest, Romania, special presidential envoy for climate John Kerry announced U.S. actions to further the role of new nuclear technologies in accelerating the clean energy transition in Europe.

These actions, according to a September 7 media note from the U.S. State Department, expand on Romania’s leadership role in deploying the first small modular reactor in Europe and in converting a former Romanian coal plant to an SMR facility.

Building on his rollout of the Project Phoenix initiative at last year’s COP27 climate change conference in Egypt, Kerry said that proposals from the Czech Republic, Poland, and Slovakia have been selected to participate in the project and will receive support for coal-to-SMR feasibility studies.

NNSA officials visit country of Georgia in support of nuclear safeguards

July 19, 2023, 12:00PMNuclear News
NNSA administrator Jill Hruby surveys the Administrative Boundary Line at South Ossetia. Russia occupies Georgian territory on the other side of the line. (Photo: NNSA)

National Nuclear Security Administration administrator Jill Hruby and deputy administrator for defense nuclear nonproliferation Corey Hinderstein visited the country of Georgia in southeastern Europe last month to discuss the NNSA’s bilateral partnerships, seek areas of cooperation, and get a closer look at how nuclear security is implemented at active border crossings in the region.

New members for NRC’s ACRS needed

July 10, 2023, 3:02PMNuclear News

There are two open positions on the Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s Advisory Committee on Reactor Safeguards (ACRS). To fill these positions, the NRC is looking for candidates who have extensive experience in nuclear reactor safety issues—especially in the engineering and safety aspects of new light water and non–light water reactor designs and technologies, or in similar areas of nuclear reactor and fuel cycle safety.

National labs targeted in Russia-based phishing scheme, Reuters reports

January 9, 2023, 12:01PMANS Nuclear Cafe

Reuters broke an “exclusive” story on January 6 that, “according to Internet records reviewed by Reuters and five cyber security experts, a Russian hacking team known as Cold River targeted three Department of Energy laboratoriesArgonne, Brookhaven, and Lawrence Livermore—with a phishing scheme in the summer of 2022.

U.S.-Japan Nuclear Security Working Group resumes meetings

November 16, 2022, 7:00AMANS Nuclear Cafe

The U.S.-Japan Nuclear Security Working Group (NSWG) convened for its 11th meeting in early November in Tokyo. The group continued its efforts, begun in 2011, to strengthen global nuclear security and enhance international cooperation in peaceful nuclear activities. The meeting was originally scheduled for 2020 but was postponed because of restrictions related to the COVID-19 pandemic.

IAEA’s Nuclear Security Training and Demonstration Centre nears completion

August 22, 2022, 12:00PMANS Nuclear Cafe
Construction of the IAEA’s international training center for nuclear security is expected to be completed by the end of this year. (Photo: C. Daniels/IAEA)

Construction of the International Atomic Energy Agency’s new Nuclear Security Training and Demonstration Centre (NSTDC) is nearing completion in the town of Seibersdorf, Austria, near the capital city of Vienna. The IAEA expects construction to be finished by the end of the year, allowing for the facility to open and be operational by late 2023.

Accusations and dire warnings swirl over Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant

August 15, 2022, 12:00PMANS Nuclear Cafe
Rafael Mariano Grossi, the IAEA's director general, addresses the UN Security Council via video link on August 11. (Photo: IAEA)

Contradictory accusations concerning the artillery shelling of the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant in war-torn Ukraine continue to be made by the Ukrainians and Russians. Both sides have acknowledged several hits on the facility, including 10 artillery strikes on the plant’s administrative office and fire station on August 11. As the two countries blame each other for the attacks, independent authorities have been unable to verify the opposing claims.

Meanwhile, at a meeting of the UN Security Council, Rafael Mariano Grossi, director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency, warned that the situation was in “a serious hour, a grave hour.” UN secretary general António Guterres added that it could “lead to disaster.”

Safety concerns grow regarding Ukraine’s Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant

August 5, 2022, 6:50AMANS Nuclear Cafe

Concerns regarding the safety and security of the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant in war-torn Ukraine have been heightened in recent weeks, with reports of Russian forces using the gigantic facility as a cover from which to launch artillery attacks on Ukrainian forces. On Tuesday, Rafael Mariano Grossi, director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency, appealed to both Ukraine and Russia to allow IAEA inspectors to visit the plant to examine its condition, make any necessary repairs, and ensure that its nuclear material is being appropriately safeguarded. Grossi said that the situation at Europe’s largest nuclear plant, in which, according to various reports, either two or three of six reactors are currently operating, is “completely out of control” and that the plant’s equipment supply chain has been interrupted.

NRC and GAO seem to clash on urgency of “dirty bomb” danger

July 26, 2022, 12:06PMANS Nuclear Cafe

Source: GAO | GAO-22-103441

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission needs to “add security features to its licenses to make it harder for people to use a fraudulent license to purchase radioactive material,” which could then be used to make a “dirty bomb,” according to a Government Accountability Office report exclusively obtained by NBC News. The recent report was publicly released on the GAO website.

A dirty bomb, also known as a radiological dispersal device, is a bomb made with conventional explosives to spread illicitly obtained radioactive materials, such as materials intended for generating nuclear power, conducting research, treating cancer, or sterilizing medical instruments. Such a weapon in the hands of a terrorist group or other “bad actor” could cause “hundreds of deaths from evacuations and billions of dollars of socioeconomic effects,” according Preventing a Dirty Bomb (GAO-22-103441).

Today! National Atomic Testing Museum hosts panel on women in science

June 30, 2022, 7:02AMANS Nuclear Cafe

The National Atomic Testing Museum is hosting the “Women in Science Panel Discussion” today, June 30, from 12:00 p.m. to 2:00 p.m. (PST). This free event can be attended in person at the museum in Las Vegas, Nev., or online via Zoom. Advance registration is required.

IAEA invites nuclear security students to apply for MSCFP internships

June 2, 2022, 7:00AMANS Nuclear Cafe

The International Atomic Energy Agency’s Division of Nuclear Security is inviting female students who are enrolled in master’s programs in nuclear security to apply for internships in the IAEA Marie Sklodowska-Curie Fellowship Programme (MSCFP). The MSCFP, launched in February 2020, has the objective of increasing the number of women in the nuclear field.

Young Members Group opens the stage for the Nevada Nuclear Security Site

September 3, 2021, 9:29AMANS News

The 11th installment of the ANS Young Members Group's webinar series "Spotlight on National Labs" featured the Nevada National Security Site and went live on August 26. The event, moderated by YMG chair Matthew Jasica, featured 11 speakers from the NNSS describing the various programs under the agency. Kelsey Amundson, who co-organized the webinar, said, “The diversity of the work performed at the NNSS is quite extensive, and the webinar was a great way to show the nuclear community how much work is done at the [organization].”

A recording of the program is available online.

Senate panel seeks a more modest increase in NE funding than House counterparts

August 6, 2021, 12:00PMNuclear News

The Senate Appropriations Committee on Wednesday approved three of the 12 fiscal year 2022 funding measures, including an Energy and Water Development bill that provides the Department of Energy’s Office of Nuclear Energy (NE) with an increase of 5.5 percent over last year’s allocation—half of the boost recommended for NE last month by House appropriators.

The Senate panel advanced the legislation by a vote of 25–5, with all five no votes from GOP members: Sens. Mitch McConnell (R., Ky.), John Kennedy (R., La.), Mike Braun (R., Ind.), Bill Hagerty (R., Tenn.), and Marco Rubio (R., Fla.).

Work begins on training center to thwart nuclear terrorism

July 19, 2021, 9:30AMNuclear News
Rendering of the multipurpose building that will house the Nuclear Security Training and Demonstration Centre. (Photo: IAEA)

The International Atomic Energy Agency has broken ground for a new building designed to help countries combat nuclear terrorism in areas such as illegal material trafficking and physical protection of facilities.

MIT team adapts neutron resonance transmission analysis for portability

June 23, 2021, 7:07AMNuclear News
Left: An experimental setup showing a shielded detector. Right: A DT neutron source showing three disks of 6Li doped glass scintillator mounted on a photomultiplier tube. (Photos: MIT)

Neutron resonance transmission analysis (NRTA) was developed by researchers at Los Alamos National Laboratory to identify unknown materials inside a sealed object using a beam of neutrons from a laboratory-scale apparatus. Recognizing that the potential nuclear security applications of NRTA were limited by the size and location of the apparatus, Areg Danagoulian, an associate professor in the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Department of Nuclear Science and Engineering, began about five years ago to consider how NRTA could be made portable to examine materials on location.