Czech nuclear security regime is robust, says IAEA

23 November 2021

An International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) team of experts last week completed a follow-up nuclear security advisory mission to the Czech Republic. The two-week International Physical Protection Advisory Service (IPPAS) mission included a review of the legislative and regulatory framework for the physical protection of nuclear material and associated facilities and activities, including transport.

The IPPAS mission team met with representatives of Czech authorities in Prague (Image: SÚJB)

IPPAS missions are intended to assist IAEA member states in strengthening their national nuclear security regime, providing advice from peers on implementing international instruments and IAEA guidance on the protection of nuclear and other radioactive materials and facilities. They can be conducted on both a nationwide and facility-specific basis. Two previous IPPAS missions to the Czech Republic took place in 1998 and 2002.

The latest IPPAS mission - conducted 8-19 November - also reviewed information and computer security arrangements; regulatory practices in licensing, inspections and enforcement; coordination between stakeholders involved in nuclear security; and the interface between nuclear material accounting and control and nuclear safety. The team also reviewed the country's implementation of the Convention on Physical Protection of Nuclear Material (CPPNM) and its Amendment, which the Czech Republic accepted in December 2010.

The mission was led by Nancy Fragoyannis, senior level advisor for Non-proliferation and International Nuclear Security at the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission, and included experts from Finland, Germany, Hungary, Poland, Switzerland, the UK and the IAEA.

The team met in Prague with officials from the State Office for Nuclear Safety (SÚJB), as well as with representatives of other relevant ministries and governmental organisations, including the National Security Authority, the National Cyber and Information Security Agency and the Police of the Czech Republic. The IPPAS team visited the country's two nuclear power plants - Dukovany and Temelín - as well as the used nuclear fuel storage facility at the Temelín site. During these visits, the team met with the representatives of ČEZ, the operator of these two plants.

The team observed that the nuclear security regime in the Czech Republic is robust and well-established, and incorporates the fundamental principles of the amended CPPNM. The team provided recommendations and suggestions to support the Czech Republic in enhancing and sustaining nuclear security. Good practices were identified that can serve as examples to other IAEA Member States to help strengthen their nuclear security activities.

"The findings of the international experts' team reflect the Czech Republic's systematic work in enhancing nuclear security procedures and practices in alignment with the provisions specified in the CPPNM and its Amendment, as well as with relevant IAEA nuclear security guidance," said Elena Buglova, director of the IAEA Division of Nuclear Security. "By hosting IPPAS missions and supporting their conduct in other countries with subject matter experts, the Czech Republic reinforces the efforts being made towards a high level of nuclear security globally."

"The positive results of this IPPAS review provide SÚJB with another confirmation of the good direction of our efforts in improving the national safety and security framework," said SÚJB President Dana Drábová.

The Czech Republic has six nuclear reactors - four at Dukovany and two at Temelín - generating about one-third of its electricity. Its first commercial nuclear power reactor - Dukovany unit 1 - began operating in 1985.

Researched and written by World Nuclear News