Washington, D.C. – The Department of Energy’s National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA), with the Department of State and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), jointly held the 24th International Training Course (ITC) on the Physical Protection of Nuclear Material and Nuclear Facilities from Oct. 20 to Nov. 8. The course, held at Sandia National Laboratories in Albuquerque, N.M., brought together 45 participants from 39 different countries.
“This training strengthens awareness of the need for an integrated system of physical protection of nuclear material and facilities that is effective against theft and sabotage,” said NNSA Deputy Administrator for Defense Nuclear Nonproliferation Anne Harrington, “This course is one of the world’s preeminent courses on physical protection and provides a dynamic environment in which participants can explore the key concepts and practices that form the basis for meeting the highest standards of nuclear security.”
Since 1978, NNSA, the Department of State and the IAEA have sponsored the ITC every 18 months. Through formal classroom training, hands-on experiments and sub-group exercises, the ITC coursework familiarizes participants with international legal instruments and IAEA guidance on current physical protection concepts and technology. The course also enables participants to initiate and operate effective security programs in their respective countries that are in line with the physical protection requirements established in the Convention on the Physical Protection of Nuclear Material, as amended, and in Nuclear Security Recommendations on Physical Protection of Nuclear Material and Nuclear Facilities (INFCIRC/225/Revision 5 - IAEA Nuclear Security Series No. 13).
The ITC emphasizes a performance-based approach to the design and evaluation of physical protection systems. It also provides information and builds capacity that assists international partners with developing and implementing their own physical protection systems, with reference to systems engineering, state-of-the-art technology and facility analysis. The landmark course helps countries measure the effectiveness of their security systems for both nuclear material and nuclear facilities against country-specific threats.
Implementing the ITC is a vital component of NNSA’s International Nuclear Security Program, which is mandated under the 1978 Nuclear Nonproliferation Act to provide physical security training to persons in states or groups of states that have or are expected to receive nuclear materials for peaceful purposes.
Established by Congress in 2000, NNSA is a semi-autonomous agency within the U.S. Department of Energy responsible for enhancing national security through the military application of nuclear science. NNSA maintains and enhances the safety, security, reliability and performance of the U.S. nuclear weapons stockpile without nuclear testing; works to reduce global danger from weapons of mass destruction; provides the U.S. Navy with safe and effective nuclear propulsion; and responds to nuclear and radiological emergencies in the U.S. and abroad.