IAEA chief highlights political commitment to nuclear security

16 January 2020

Rafael Mariano Grossi, director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), has pledged to build on the political impetus seen in international cooperation in nuclear security in recent years. "It is vital that we remain ahead of the curve in guarding against nuclear terrorism," he told delegates at an event in Vienna yesterday.

Rafael Mariano Grossi addressing the VCDNP event (Image: D Calma / IAEA)

The event - Building Bridges and Facilitating Consensus for a Successful ICONS 2020 - was organised by the Vienna Centre for Disarmament and Non-Proliferation (VCDNP).

Grossi said: "The need for international cooperation to guard against nuclear terrorism is universally recognised. The IAEA is the inclusive global platform for that cooperation."

The event was focussed on the forthcoming IAEA ministerial conference on nuclear security, the International Conference on Nuclear Security: Sustaining and Strengthening Efforts (ICONS 2020). The conference - to be held in Vienna on 10-14 February - will be the third IAEA ministerial conference on the subject. The conference will feature a ministerial segment during which ministers will deliver national statements and adopt a ministerial declaration. It will also feature a scientific and technical programme comprising high-level policy discussions on the overall themes central to nuclear security, and parallel technical sessions on related specialised scientific and technical, legal and regulatory issues.

Grossi said he expected IAEA Member States to use the event to underline their political commitment to nuclear security. He noted that nuclear security is now recognised as an important field in its own right and not just an offshoot of nuclear safety. International cooperation in nuclear security has greatly increased over recent years, with countries making increasing use of the IAEA's services to help guard against nuclear terrorism.

Since the last ICONS conference in 2016, the IAEA has provided face-to-face training in nuclear security to nearly 7000 people, including police and border guards, and e-learning courses to more than 6000 other officials. It has also donated radiation detection equipment to 33 countries and provided practical advice on nuclear security for 17 major public events. The IAEA has also led 15 expert missions that have advised countries on improving security at nuclear facilities, hospitals and other places where nuclear material is held.

Researched and written by World Nuclear News