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IAEA updates nuclear security training

IAEA updates nuclear security training

A virtual reality simulation of a nuclear facility is one of the new training tools presented at the 61st IAEA General Conference in September. Training specialists will be using it to navigate through realistic scenarios, threats and risks. The 3D tool is focused on preventative and protective measures against insider threats, and there are plans to cover other areas of nuclear security in the future.

“This virtual environment helps specialists deepen their understanding of nuclear security and get real-life skills without involving sensitive information or real facilities,” said Robert Larsen, a senior nuclear security officer at the IAEA. “It’s one thing to learn about scenarios in theory, but it’s quite another to see and work through them in 3-D.”

“One of the IAEA’s jobs is to help strengthen nuclear security across the world,” said Raja Abdul Aziz Raja Adnan, Director of the IAEA’s Division of Nuclear Security. “The tools presented today were created to help States develop their capacities to further strengthen nuclear security globally.”

The IAEA also announced new e-Learning modules to be added to its existing e-training catalog.

“These modules are designed to develop a learner’s understanding of nuclear security threats and risks,” said Ricky Hyungmin Seo, a nuclear security officer at the IAEA. “Users get an in-depth, comprehensive understanding of nuclear security to help them build their skills and prepare to handle nuclear security responsibilities in a range of contexts.”

And they unveiled a new mobile app called TRACE (Tool for Radiation Alarm and Commodity Evaluation), which helps security officers to distinguish between alarms triggered by naturally-occurring radiation from hundreds of catalogued commodities and potentially suspicious alarms that require further investigation.

“Officers have a lot of data available, but the challenge is converting that into useful information,” said Charles Massey, a nuclear security officer at the IAEA. “That’s what the TRACE app does.”

It has proven useful, for example, to customs officers in Cambodia, where radiation detectors are frequently triggered by containers passing through the Pnom Penh Autonomous Port containing commodities such as tiles, construction materials and fertilisers. The app helps to improve allocation of resources to searching containers with handheld radionuclide detectors by helping workers to distinguish between natural, harmless radiation and that which presents a possible security risk.

So now we can say ‘There’s an app for that’. And yes, it can be downloaded from iTunes and Google Play.