An International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) team of experts completed today a nuclear security advisory mission in Belgium, which was carried out at the request of the Belgian Government.
The two-week International Physical Protection Advisory Service (IPPAS) follow-up mission included a review of Belgium’s responses to recommendations of an IPPAS mission which took place in 2014. The mission evaluated the general legal and regulatory framework for the security of nuclear and other radioactive material, including the implementation of the 2005 Amendment to the Convention on the Physical Protection of Nuclear Material (CPPNM). The mission’s scope was broader than in 2014, covering also computer security and regulations for facilities holding radioactive sources. The team visited the Tihange Nuclear Power Plant and the SCK-CEN Nuclear Research Centre.
The team saw significant enhancements since 2014, observing that the nuclear security regime in Belgium is robust and incorporates the fundamental principles of the amended CPPNM. The team provided recommendations and suggestions to support Belgium in further enhancing and sustaining nuclear security. The team also identified several good practices.
The team was led by Steve Skelton, Principal Inspector at the Office for Nuclear Regulation of the United Kingdom, and included seven other experts from Finland, France, Hungary, Lithuania, Switzerland, the United States of America and the IAEA. They met in Brussels with experts from Belgium’s nuclear regulator, the Federal Agency for Nuclear Control (FANC), and its technical branch BelV, officials of the National Security Authority and the Coordination Unit for Threat Analysis (CUTA), the Federal and local Police, the Ministry of Defence, the Centre for Cyber Security Belgium (CCB) and the National Crisis Centre.
“By hosting a follow-up IPPAS mission and expanding its scope to security of radioactive sources and computer security, the Government of Belgium has demonstrated a strong continuous commitment to strengthen its measures in nuclear security,” Muhammad Khaliq, Head of Nuclear Security of Materials and Facilities Section of the IAEA’s Division of Nuclear Security, said during the closing of the mission.
“Although Belgium’s nuclear security is already considered to be robust, we greatly appreciate the input of the experts in the IPPAS mission, providing their recommendations and suggestions for further improvement,” said Frank Hardeman, Director General of FANC. “For our country, continuous improvement, strong cooperation, and sharing good practices between all stakeholders involved, are key in striving to improve the nuclear security regime. We will also strive to strengthen nuclear security on the international level in close cooperation with the IAEA.”
The mission was the 87th IPPAS mission conducted by the IAEA since the programme began in 1995.
IPPAS missions are intended to assist States in strengthening their national nuclear security regime. The missions provide peer advice on implementing international instruments, along with IAEA guidance on the protection of nuclear and other radioactive material and associated facilities.
During missions, a team of international experts observes a nation’s system of physical protection, compares it with international good practices and makes recommendations for improvement. IPPAS missions are conducted both on a nationwide and facility-specific basis.