Michele Kearney's Nuclear Wire

Major Energy and Environmental News and Commentary affecting the Nuclear Industry.

Thursday, September 21, 2017

U.S. to Allies: The U.S. Believes in Diplomacy, Despite Trump's Words - NBC News

U.S. to Allies: The U.S. Believes in Diplomacy, Despite Trump's Words - NBC News

Moscow's Nuclear Energy Advantage - Stratfor Worldview

Moscow's Nuclear Energy Advantage - Stratfor Worldview

Nuclear fusion: A clean source of energy? | Watch News Videos Online

Nuclear fusion: A clean source of energy? | Watch News Videos Online

US and Other Nuclear Powers Refuse to Sign Historic UN Treaty to Ban Atomic Weapons | Common Dreams

US and Other Nuclear Powers Refuse to Sign Historic UN Treaty to Ban Atomic Weapons | Common Dreams

Cuba signs at UN the Treaty against Nuclear Weapons

Cuba signs at UN the Treaty against Nuclear Weapons

TASS: Business & Economy - China made offer to Rosatom on new nuclear power plant site

TASS: Business & Economy - China made offer to Rosatom on new nuclear power plant site

United Nations options exhausted on Korean Peninsula nuclear issue

United Nations options exhausted on Korean Peninsula nuclear issue

Rosatom outlines future of nuclear in IAEA address

Rosatom outlines future of nuclear in IAEA address

Valuing nuclear power in the USA

Valuing nuclear power in the USA

Tribes seek voice in nuclear plant cleanup, land restoration | The News Tribune

Tribes seek voice in nuclear plant cleanup, land restoration | The News Tribune

Hawaii prepares for North Korean nuclear attack, trying not to terrify residents - The Washington Post

Hawaii prepares for North Korean nuclear attack, trying not to terrify residents - The Washington Post

Nuclear arms give a false sense of security: archbishop Gallagher Statement at the UN – ZENIT – English

Nuclear arms give a false sense of security: archbishop Gallagher Statement at the UN – ZENIT – English

'Pak developed short-range nuclear weapons to counter 'Cold Start' doctrine'

'Pak developed short-range nuclear weapons to counter 'Cold Start' doctrine'

China’s Nuclear Power Appetite to Offset Western Decline - Bloomberg

China’s Nuclear Power Appetite to Offset Western Decline - Bloomberg

Indonesia Considers Thorium Molten Salt Reactors

Indonesia Considers Thorium Molten Salt Reactors

Russia and Paraguay forge closer nuclear power ties

Russia and Paraguay forge closer nuclear power ties

Milton Eaton: Defending Vermont Yankee decommissioning - VTDigger

Milton Eaton: Defending Vermont Yankee decommissioning - VTDigger

U.S. nuclear reactors face uphill challenge, despite lower emissions

U.S. nuclear reactors face uphill challenge, despite lower emissions

US Strategic Command chief: Iran adhering to nuclear deal | TheHill

US Strategic Command chief: Iran adhering to nuclear deal | TheHill

Russian Nuclear Giant Joins Scramble to Supply Electric-Car Boom - Bloomberg

Russian Nuclear Giant Joins Scramble to Supply Electric-Car Boom - Bloomberg

Why Iran's nuclear program is a greater threat than North Korea's

Why Iran's nuclear program is a greater threat than North Korea's

Trump Leaning Toward Decertifying Iran Nuclear Deal, Sources Say - NBC News

Trump Leaning Toward Decertifying Iran Nuclear Deal, Sources Say - NBC News

CNCNEWS - Iranian president slams trump over nuclear deal

CNCNEWS - Iranian president slams trump over nuclear deal

Global Nuclear Waste Management Market size is set to witness substantial growth during the forecast timeline – satPRnews

Global Nuclear Waste Management Market size is set to witness substantial growth during the forecast timeline – satPRnews

No commercial demand for nuclear power: PM

No commercial demand for nuclear power: PM

25 years after the last U.S. nuclear test - The Independent: News

25 years after the last U.S. nuclear test - The Independent: News

Russia and Cambodia sign an Intergovernmental Agreement on cooperation in nuclear energy // Nuclear power // Новости | Neftegaz.RU

Russia and Cambodia sign an Intergovernmental Agreement on cooperation in nuclear energy // Nuclear power // Новости | Neftegaz.RU

Macron: Iranian nuclear deal is not enough - Egypt Today

Macron: Iranian nuclear deal is not enough - Egypt Today

Hurricane Update: Refinery Restarts, Fuel Supplies Rise


Hurricane Update: Refinery Restarts, Fuel Supplies Rise

By By Energy Tomorrow Blog,   /  Wednesday, September 20, 2017 10:00 AM
Much of the energy-related news from hurricane-recovery areas of Texas and Florida continues to be encouraging. Shell said it was restarting its Deer Park refinery in the Houston area that was shut down three weeks ago with the approach of Hurricane Harvey. ExxonMobil said it could start most of the production units at its Beaumont, Texas, refinerylater this

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

China’s Nuclear Power Appetite to Offset Western Decline - Bloomberg

China’s Nuclear Power Appetite to Offset Western Decline - Bloomberg

Russia and Paraguay forge closer nuclear power ties

Russia and Paraguay forge closer nuclear power ties

Atomic Energy Commission: India collaborating with Russia for nuclear power plant in Bangladesh - The Economic Times

Atomic Energy Commission: India collaborating with Russia for nuclear power plant in Bangladesh - The Economic Times

Bulletin of Atomic Scientists Nuclear Roundup September 20, 2017

Nuclear Roundup
September 20, 2017
A daily roundup of quality nuclear policy news.

North Korea

Trump blames Clintons for nuclear North Korea

http://www.politico.com/story/2017/09/20/trump-north-korea-hillary-bill-clinton-242918

Jitters and surprise in South Korea and Japan over Trump’s speech to the U.N.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/russia-calls-trumps-korea-remarks-a-dangerous-step-toward-instability/2017/09/19/1a6d9b56-9d69-11e7-b2a7-bc70b6f98089_story.html?utm_term=.69c0ddbf2462

Why China Won’t Pressure North Korea as Much as Trump Wants

https://www.newyorker.com/news/news-desk/why-china-isnt-ready-to-put-pressure-on-north-korea

Russia can profit from North Korea’s missile tests

https://www.ft.com/content/e1231efe-9a32-11e7-a652-cde3f882dd7b

'This Is All We Can Do': How the Japanese Are Preparing for a North Korean Nuclear Attack

http://time.com/4949262/north-korea-japan-nuclear-missiles-drills/

There Is a Precedent for North Korea's Nuclear Threats—the Euromissiles Crisis

http://www.weeklystandard.com/there-is-a-precedent-for-north-koreas-nuclear-threatsthe-euromissiles-crisis/article/2009741

United States

After Trump's U.N. Speech, Some Senators Look To Reinforce War Powers

http://www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-way/2017/09/19/552201844/senator-mulls-nuclear-limits-on-trump

The U.S. Air Force's Built a Mach 2 Nuclear Super Bomber to Destroy Russia

http://nationalinterest.org/blog/the-buzz/the-us-air-forces-built-mach-2-nuclear-super-bomber-destroy-22352

FY18 NDAA Summary

https://www.armed-services.senate.gov/imo/media/doc/FY18%20NDAA%20Summary6.pdf

Senate bill keeps MOX funding intact

http://www.aikenstandard.com/news/senate-bill-keeps-mox-funding-intact/article_10ea2b42-9d66-11e7-88a0-0faccfe7f15f.html

Heinrich Secures Amendments In Defense Authorization Bill To Benefit Military Bases, National Labs In N.M.

http://www.ladailypost.com/content/heinrich-secures-amendments-defense-authorization-bill-benefit-military-bases-national-labs

NNSA partners with Kazakhstan Research Institute to Remove All of its Highly Enriched Uranium

https://nnsa.energy.gov/mediaroom/pressreleases/nnsa-partners-kazakhstan-research-institute-remove-all-its-highly-enriched

NNSA stays prepared with world-class response units

https://nnsa.energy.gov/blog/nnsa-stays-prepared-world-class-response-units-0

The Zen Buddhist Nuclear Weapons Expert in Trump's White House

http://www.thedailybeast.com/the-zen-buddhist-nuclear-weapons-expert-in-trumps-white-house

International

Trump made decision on Iran nuclear deal but does not reveal it

http://www.reuters.com/article/us-iran-nuclear-un/trump-made-decision-on-iran-nuclear-deal-but-does-not-reveal-it-idUSKCN1BV1OC

Russia rebukes Trump over Iran, North Korea, accuses U.S. of missile treaty breach

https://www.reuters.com/article/us-un-assembly-trump-russia/russia-rebukes-trump-over-iran-north-korea-accuses-u-s-of-missile-treaty-breach-idUSKCN1BV1QE

Anxious world lobbies Trump on Iran nuclear deal

http://www.politico.com/story/2017/09/19/trump-iran-nuclear-deal-242906

Iran nuclear deal must change if U.S. to stay: Tillerson

https://www.reuters.com/article/us-un-assembly-france/iran-nuclear-deal-must-change-if-u-s-to-stay-tillerson-idUSKCN1BU2DB

Iran nuclear deal drives wedge between US and France

http://www.foxnews.com/world/2017/09/19/iran-nuclear-deal-drives-wedge-between-us-and-france.html

U.N. chief: Nuclear threat at highest level since Cold War

http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/nationworld/ct-un-guterres-nuclear-threat-20170919-story.html

How Much Longer Will the Iran Deal Last Under Trump?

https://www.theatlantic.com/international/archive/2017/09/the-future-of-the-iran-nuclear-deal-is-in-trumps-hands/540348/

Dozens of states sign nuclear weapons ban treaty at United Nations

http://www.reuters.com/article/us-nuclear-un/dozens-of-states-sign-nuclear-weapons-ban-treaty-at-united-nations-idUSKCN1BV1QJ

North Atlantic Council Statement on the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons

http://www.nato.int/cps/en/natolive/news_146954.htm?selectedLocale=en

The UN is launching an unprecedented ban on nuclear weapons today, but there’s a catch

https://qz.com/1082141/the-un-is-launching-an-unprecedented-ban-on-nuclear-weapons-today-but-theres-a-catch/

Belgian and US Research Reactors to Become International Centres for R&D under IAEA Label

https://www.iaea.org/newscenter/news/belgian-and-us-research-reactors-to-become-international-centres-for-rd-under-iaea-label

New Application Increases Efficiency and Effectiveness of Safeguards Verification

https://www.iaea.org/newscenter/news/new-application-increases-efficiency-and-effectiveness-of-safeguards-verification

IAEA Announces Concept of Qualified Technical Centres for the Management of Disused Sealed Radioactive Sources

https://www.iaea.org/newscenter/news/iaea-announces-concept-of-qualified-technical-centres-for-the-management-of-disused-sealed-radioactive-sources

Step into the World of Nuclear Security Training — Online, Mobile and in 3-D

https://www.iaea.org/newscenter/news/step-into-the-world-of-nuclear-security-training-online-mobile-and-in-3-d


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Regulators vote to move forward on Vogtle nuclear plant | SavannahNow

Regulators vote to move forward on Vogtle nuclear plant | SavannahNow

S. Korea eyes Saudi Arabia's nuclear plant deal

S. Korea eyes Saudi Arabia's nuclear plant deal

S.Korea to cooperate with U.S. over peaceful resolution of Korean Peninsula nuclear issue - China.org.cn

S.Korea to cooperate with U.S. over peaceful resolution of Korean Peninsula nuclear issue - China.org.cn

US nuclear reactors at risk of early retirement despite lower emissions | Business Standard News

US nuclear reactors at risk of early retirement despite lower emissions | Business Standard News

Russia to start construction of first nuclear power plant in Bangladesh this autumn | OANA NEWS

Russia to start construction of first nuclear power plant in Bangladesh this autumn | OANA NEWS

Russia to defend nuclear deal at P5+1 meeting with Tehran - Lavrov | OANA NEWS

Russia to defend nuclear deal at P5+1 meeting with Tehran - Lavrov | OANA NEWS

Seoul denies report of agreement with US on nuclear submarines

Seoul denies report of agreement with US on nuclear submarines

Generator For Nuclear Power Market 2017: Industry Research, Review, Growth, Segmentation, Key Players Analysis And Forecast To 2021 - openPR

Generator For Nuclear Power Market 2017: Industry Research, Review, Growth, Segmentation, Key Players Analysis And Forecast To 2021 - openPR

Armenian nuclear plant safety complies with international standards – minister - Panorama | Armenian news

Armenian nuclear plant safety complies with international standards – minister - Panorama | Armenian news

Emergence of DPRK as Nuclear Power Welcomed Abroad | OANA NEWS

Emergence of DPRK as Nuclear Power Welcomed Abroad | OANA NEWS

Experts talk nuclear reactors | SA News

Experts talk nuclear reactors | SA News

[Justin Fendos] The human cost of nuclear testing

[Justin Fendos] The human cost of nuclear testing

Facebook And Voters See The Benefit Of Clean Energy In Ohio


Facebook And Voters See The Benefit Of Clean Energy In Ohio

By By Environmental Defense Fund Energy Exchange Blog,   /  Tuesday, September 19, 2017 10:00 AM
Last month, Facebook announced its new $750 million data center will be located in New Albany, Ohio, just north of Columbus. Why did the social media giant choose this particular spot? Apparently, Facebook likes clean energy, stating, “The availability of renewable energy sources, including wind, solar and hydro, was critical to the decision.” And Facebook isn’t

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Utility CEO: Don't sell off failed nuclear project for parts | Business | siouxcityjournal.com

Utility CEO: Don't sell off failed nuclear project for parts | Business | siouxcityjournal.com

Westinghouse, Largest Nuclear Reactor Builder, Announces Its Exit From Construction Business – InsideSources

Westinghouse, Largest Nuclear Reactor Builder, Announces Its Exit From Construction Business – InsideSources

North Korea crisis: Kim Jong-un is 'NOT CRAZY' | World | News | Express.co.uk

North Korea crisis: Kim Jong-un is 'NOT CRAZY' | World | News | Express.co.uk

IAEA reaffirms safety as top priority in nuclear technologies

IAEA reaffirms safety as top priority in nuclear technologies

Advanced Nuclear Technologies can Help Achieve a Carbon-Free Energy Future

Advanced Nuclear Technologies can Help Achieve a Carbon-Free Energy Future

IAEA Director General Yukiya Amano at the side event 'Nuclear Energy Innovation and the Paris Agreement'. (Photo: D. Popovich/IAEA)
Innovation in the nuclear sector is vital to fulfil its potential in combatting climate change, agreed panellists at a side event held on the margins of the IAEA General Conference today. The side event ‘Nuclear Energy Innovation and the Paris Agreement’ identified the linkage between the future of nuclear power and how it can be incorporated into national climate action plans to support the reduction of carbon emissions worldwide.
Ambassadors, Member States representatives, senior officials from international organizations and industry experts took a closer look at deployment of nuclear energy innovations that can support the reporting of countries’ five-year Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) under the Paris Agreement on Climate Change.
Adopted in 2015 by world leaders, the Paris Agreement has set a new course at holding the increase in global temperature to below 2°C. All low-carbon energy technologies, including nuclear power, are needed to meet the Paris Agreement goal.
“It is timely that we highlight the role of nuclear power in reducing environmental impacts, particularly CO2 emissions,” said Yukiya Amano, IAEA Director General, at the event. “Innovations in nuclear technologies can significantly help global climate efforts. When countries update their NDCs, they should consider the evolving role of nuclear power in their low-carbon energy mix to replace high-carbon sources.”
Delegates at the side event discussed how countries can accelerate the development and deployment of nuclear energy. Speakers introduced delegations to some nuclear technology innovations currently under development.
“There are a number of advanced nuclear power technologies such as accident tolerant fuels, High Temperature Reactors, Small Modular Reactors (SMRs), non-electric nuclear applications and innovative nuclear systems with great potential for enhanced competiveness and sustainability, as well as make substantial contributions to greenhouse gas emission reduction,” said Stefano Monti, Head of the IAEA Nuclear Power Technology Development Section.
“Some are ready or almost available for deployment, while others are at very different stages of development, from pre-conceptual design to detailed design and demonstration,” he explained.
Participants learned that innovations in nuclear energy can help maintain nuclear’s low-carbon energy share and support new roles in the replacement of high-carbon energy sources.
Once they are commercially available, these technologies can be incorporated into country updates of their NDCs.
While looking closely into conditions for advanced nuclear technologies to be accelerated, industry leaders emphasized the importance of investment in research and innovation. Further corresponding conditions were identified as simplification of the regulatory framework, enhanced infrastructure, public perception and support.
“These key factors are imperative to meet the increased levels of ambition needed to achieve the Paris Agreement goal,” said William Magwood, Director General of the Nuclear Energy Agency (NEA). He presented NEA’s initiative known as ‘Nuclear Innovation 2050.’
As the global need for the development of next-generation advanced technologies grows, the NI2050 focuses on the potential of nuclear fission technology defining main priority areas and topics where the R&D is necessary to push for innovation.
“Multilateral approaches can create the confidence needed for a worldwide deployment of innovative technologies,” he said in his keynote speech. “All stakeholders, in particular the science, industry and regulatory communities – each with their specific competencies and responsibilities – need to be part of a renewed innovation process through early involvement and continued interaction,” he outlined.
In this regard, the Agency has capacity to help Member States evaluate their energy plans and inform them of innovative nuclear energy technologies that can mitigate carbon. The Head of the IAEA's Planning and Economic Studies Section, David Shropshire explained that carbon reduction can be achieved by extending the operation of existing nuclear power plants, filling growing country energy demands by using increasingly efficient nuclear reactor designs.
With this knowledge, Member States may choose to include new nuclear technologies in the updates of their NDCs. The Paris Agreement stipulates that NDCs will be progressively revised every five years starting from 2020.
In 2018, countries will begin taking stock of their collective efforts in relation to the progress made towards the goal set out in the Agreement. The Paris Agreement stipulates that NDCs will be progressively revised every five years starting from 2020. In 2018, countries will begin taking stock of their collective efforts in relation to the progress made towards the goal set out in the Agreement.

UN atomic chief praises China's CAP1400 nuclear reactor - Xinhua | English.news.cn

UN atomic chief praises China's CAP1400 nuclear reactor - Xinhua | English.news.cn

NuScale highlights non-power uses of its SMR

NuScale highlights non-power uses of its SMR

Widow Can't Sue UPenn Over Scientist's Brain Cancer | The Legal Intelligencer

Widow Can't Sue UPenn Over Scientist's Brain Cancer | The Legal Intelligencer

Memorandum to President Trump on the Iran Nuclear Deal - Defense One

Memorandum to President Trump on the Iran Nuclear Deal - Defense One

Bulletin of Atomic Scientists Nuclear Roundup September 19, 2017

Nuclear Roundup
September 19, 2017
A compilation of quality nuclear policy news published on the Web, around the world.

North Korea

In U.N. speech, Trump threatens to ‘totally destroy North Korea’ and calls Kim Jong Un ‘Rocket Man’

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/post-politics/wp/2017/09/19/in-u-n-speech-trump-warns-that-the-world-faces-great-peril-from-rogue-regimes-in-north-korea-iran/?utm_term=.2e1a6ac9607c

Trump Threatens to ‘Totally Destroy’ North Korea

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/09/19/world/americas/united-nations-general-assembly.html

Pentagon chief says he was asked about reintroducing tactical nuclear weapons in South Korea

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/checkpoint/wp/2017/09/18

Xi and Trump discuss sanctions pressure on North Korea: White House

http://www.reuters.com/article/us-northkorea-missiles-china-usa/xi-and-trump-discuss-sanctions-pressure-on-north-korea-white-house-idUSKCN1BT1R3

N Korea says sanctions will speed up nuclear programme

http://www.aljazeera.com/news/2017/09/korea-sanctions

Spain becomes fourth country to expel North Korean envoy over nuclear program

https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/spain-becomes-fourth-country-to-expel-north-korean-envoy

Did Pakistan help North Korea develop nuclear weapons? India-US-Japan want to know

https://qz.com/1080927/did-pakistan-help-north-korea-develop-nuclear-weapons-india-us-japan-want-to-know/

Three reasons China will not accept a nuclear armed North Korea

http://www.scmp.com/news/china/diplomacy-defence/article/2111788/three-reasons-china-will-not-accept-nuclear-armed-north

GOP rep: North Korea wants Iran-type nuclear deal

http://thehill.com/homenews/house/351286-gop-rep-north-korea-wants-an-iran-type-deal

There’s no easy living with a nuclear-armed North Korea

http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2017/sep/18/nuclear-armed-north-korea-is-a-worldwide-problem/

North Korea: The Full Transcript

http://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2017/09/18/north-korea-the-full-transcript-215615

Op-Ed: How to neutralize North Korea's nuclear threat without starting a world war

http://abcnews.go.com/International/op-ed

United States

Trump to hail Iranian people as a threat to regime's status quo

http://www.politico.com/story/2017/09/18

Sonoma County radiation-detector maker sees uptick in business amid nuclear worries

http://www.northbaybusinessjournal.com/northbay/

Is America About to Dump the INF Treaty?

http://nationalinterest.org/blog/the-buzz/america-about-dump-the-inf-treaty-22355

U.S. Senate Passes Bill To Fund New Cruise Missile, Fight Russian Propaganda

https://www.rferl.org/a/us-senate-passes-bill-fund-new-cruise-missile

International

France tells Trump that quitting Iran nuclear deal risks 'spiral of proliferation'

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/sep/18/france-trump-iran-nuclear-deal-jean-yves-le-drian

Why Iran's nuclear program is a greater threat than North Korea's

http://www.washingtonexaminer.com/why-irans-nuclear-program-is-a-greater-threat-than-north-koreas/article/2634754

Memorandum to President Trump on the Iran Nuclear Deal

http://www.defenseone.com/ideas/2017/09/memorandum

Government has no plans to close aging Dimona nuclear facility

https://www.timesofisrael.com/government-has-no-plans-to-close-aging-dimona-nuclear-facility/

Revisiting India’s Nuclear Exceptionalism

http://nation.com.pk/columns/19-Sep-2017/revisiting-india-s-nuclear-exceptionalism

Russian-built nuclear plant revives Chernobyl fears

https://www.ft.com/content/a98322de-96f7-11e7-b83c-9588e51488a0

General Conference Day 1 Highlights

https://www.iaea.org/newscenter/news/general-conference-day-1-highlights-18-september-2017

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Nuclear News Roundup Sep 18, 2017 | Nucleotidings

Nuclear News Roundup Sep 18, 2017 | Nucleotidings

Nuclear Reactors 302 - Finland Having Problems Completing It's Two New Nuclear Power Reactors | Nucleotidings

Nuclear Reactors 302 - Finland Having Problems Completing It's Two New Nuclear Power Reactors | Nucleotidings

Anti-missiles shooting down at North Korea could intercept | NextBigFuture.com

Anti-missiles shooting down at North Korea could intercept | NextBigFuture.com

Saudi Arabia says still examining options for nuclear power plants

Saudi Arabia says still examining options for nuclear power plants

Russia's use and stockpiles of highly enriched uranium pose significant nuclear risks

Russia's use and stockpiles of highly enriched uranium pose significant nuclear risks

Saudia Arabia Plans Nuclear Energy RFI for 2.8 Gwe - The Energy Collective

Saudia Arabia Plans Nuclear Energy RFI for 2.8 Gwe - The Energy Collective

EIA Projects 28% Increase in World Energy Use by 2040 - The Energy Collective

EIA Projects 28% Increase in World Energy Use by 2040 - The Energy Collective

Where Do Different States Get Their Electricity From? - Core77

Where Do Different States Get Their Electricity From? - Core77

China’s Fuqing-4 Begins Commercial Operation

China’s Fuqing-4 Begins Commercial Operation

Australia Formally Joins Generation IV International Forum

Australia Formally Joins Generation IV International Forum

European group calls for JCPOA support

European group calls for JCPOA support

China plans further high temperature reactor innovation

China plans further high temperature reactor innovation

NuScale highlights non-power uses of its SMR

NuScale highlights non-power uses of its SMR

The Single Biggest Player In The Electric Car Market | OilPrice.com

The Single Biggest Player In The Electric Car Market | OilPrice.com

Step into the World of Nuclear Security Training — Online, Mobile and in 3-D

Step into the World of Nuclear Security Training — Online, Mobile and in 3-D

The virtual world of Shapash Nuclear Research Institute (SNRI) was presented today on the sidelines of the 61st IAEA General Conference. (Photo: F. Nassif/IAEA)
A 3-D fictional nuclear facility, online training courses and a mobile app were on the agenda of a session dedicated to discussing the latest trends in nuclear security training at the 61st IAEA General Conference today.
“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.”
Inside a virtual world
From ‘inside’ the computer simulated grounds of Shapash Nuclear Research Institute (SNRI), delegates saw how specialists in training navigate through realistic scenarios to learn the ins and outs of nuclear security threats and risks.
“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.”
The tool can be tailored to fit countries’ training needs, and users can test and reset the environment to try different kinds of realistic scenarios. This allows users to learn what works well, what needs to be improved, and how to make it all fit within a budget. For now, the tool is focusing on training in preventative and protective measures against insider threats, but there are plans to expand to other nuclear security areas.
Connect to learn
The IAEA has been developing e-learning modules in nuclear security since 2010. There are now 16 modules focusing on four topic areas. They cover cross-cutting information like nuclear security publications and an overview of risks and threats, as well as more specific topic areas, such as nuclear security of materials and facilities, materials outside of regulatory control and information and computer security.
“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.”
The e-learning courses are intended for a wide audience, from professionals and organizations with nuclear security responsibilities. Each course takes between one to four hours to complete. So far more than 5000 people from 145 countries have finished these modules and earned completion certificates.
Going mobile to detect threats
E-learning is not just for nuclear security specialists in training: IAEA experts developed an e-learning module to help front line officers learn how to use sophisticated radiation detection equipment in combination with a new IAEA-developed mobile app called TRACE, the Tool for Radiation Alarm and Commodity Evaluation.
“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.”
TRACE is designed to help officers distinguish between alarms due to harmless amounts of naturally occurring radiation and alarms that might be a cause for concern from a security standpoint and warrant further investigation. It provides information on hundreds of commodities, their uses, and their possible naturally occurring radioactive material content.
“By using the app to quickly determine the radiological characteristics and uses of a material causing an alarm, officers can more effectively filter out innocent alarms and instead concentrate on the remaining unclear cases,” Massey said. Read about how TRACE is being used in Cambodia.
TRACE was the outcome of an IAEA coordinated research project involving experts from 20 countries to improve the assessment of initial radiation alarms.
Keeping computers and information safe
Nuclear security is not only about securing nuclear materials and facilities, but also securing information. Protecting sensitive information, including digital data, and the defence of computer-based systems and networks against malicious acts are critical components of nuclear security, said Donald Dudenhoeffer, Information Technology Security Officer at the IAEA.
“Today everyone uses computers, and each of us is a potential target of cyber-attack.  We all need to build a better awareness of threats, risks, and how to stay protected. The same applies to nuclear security professionals,” Dudenhoeffer said. “With the help of the IAEA’s e-learning modules, all people with nuclear security responsibilities can develop that awareness and learn how to integrate information and computer security into an overall nuclear security plan.”
Two IAEA e-learning courses provide an introduction to computer security for nuclear security practitioners and a comprehensive look at cyber threats. These are complemented by additional online material, such as instructional videos, that, when used together, take users through a range of topics from information sensitivity and classification to cyber threat and risk assessment to incident response.
The IAEA is continuing to expand its repertoire of online training tools, including for computer security professionals in the nuclear sector. Two new courses on security of nuclear information and on conducting computer security assessments are expected to be released by early 2018.