Practical Approach to Ensuring the Security of Nuclear and Other Radioactive Material in Transport


The movement of nuclear and other radioactive material from one facility to another can be a challenging and vulnerable activity.


The IAEA’s transport security programme assists Members States, upon request, in strengthening transport security arrangements by implementing the necessary recommendations into their national frameworks, as well as their practical implementation.



The IAEA’s activities in the field of nuclear transport security and its future plans to strengthen this area worldwide were presented at a side event held as part of the 59th IAEA General Conference. (Photo: J. Castillo/IAEA)


The IAEA’s activities in this field and the Agency’s future plans to strengthen nuclear transport security worldwide were presented at a side event held today as part of the IAEA General Conference.


Stig Isaksson, a senior nuclear security officer, presented ‘Nuclear Transport Security, the IAEA Practical Approach’.  IAEA activities in this area cover the entire spectrum of transport security, he said.


These activities include the development of relevant nuclear security guidance, peer review missions, like the International Physical Protection Advisory Service (IPPAS); training courses and workshops, coordinated research projects and table top and field exercises.


“The ultimate goal of IAEA nuclear transport security activities is to assist Member States to ensure that nuclear and other radioactive material has appropriate and effective protection to avoid that the material fall in the wrong hands,” Isaksson said. 


The IAEA has developed model exercises, including an exercise guide on planning, conducting and evaluating transport security exercises, to assist countries to test and validate the practical implementation of their transport security arrangements, including preparations for transport, transport security plans, interagency coordination and cooperation in response to malicious acts.


Presentations from officials in Brazil, Morocco, Spain and Sweden highlighted recent experiences from exercises that were held in these countries. Lessons learned and findings were shared with the audience.


The Swedish field exercise held last May was, for example, designed following IAEA nuclear transport security exercise guidelines. The scenario was a simulated hijacking of a purpose-built vessel carrying a shipment of spent nuclear fuel and was played out from initial departure at port  to hijack and then recovery at open sea.


“The IAEA guidelines were a great way to check that all your careful planning was working,” said Tommy Nielsen from the Swedish Radiation Safety Authority, who presented the exercise and lessons learned from organizing it.