While a world free of nuclear weapons remains a goal for governments around the world, nuclear security constitutes a major challenge for the 21st century, as recognised at the 2010 nuclear security summit in Washington. Citizens are generally aware of international efforts to prevent the proliferation of nuclear weapons, but they are often unaware of nuclear security research and the important role science in this field. A new European nuclear security training centre and enhanced international collaboration are good examples.
A recent survey on the EUs radiological vulnerability identified the need to train first responders at the European level as a priority. Following this finding, the European Commission's Joint Research Centre (JRC) was tasked by the Directorate-General for Home Affairs to create a European nuclear security training centre (EUSECTRA) in order to meet this priority and complement national training efforts.
Implementation of the training centre commenced in 2010 and JRC experts are in charge of training on prevention and detection in nuclear security and responding to nuclear incident modules. In the field of detection, the JRC has jointly developed the syllabus, together with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) office for Nuclear Security, and the US Department of Energy (DOE), on two levels: one directly for front-line officers and one for their trainers and other experts. Specific sessions were already held for participants from Asia, Middle East, Africa and Europe.
The training courses have a balanced approach between theoretical lectures and hands-on sessions, where participants have the opportunity to face realistic smuggling scenarios using real nuclear materials. Future training will also cover management of radiological crime scenes. In the forensics area, in particular, the focus of the training will be on nuclear forensic awareness, on establishing core capabilities in nuclear forensics and o
|Contact: Elena Gonzalez Verdesoto|
European Commission Joint Research Centre