An International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) International Nuclear Security Advisory Service (INSServ) team said Sudan had strengthened its national nuclear security regime by implementing extensive nuclear security systems and measures in relation to materials out of regulatory control. The team encouraged Sudan to further enhance its relevant nuclear security detection and response system. 

The first INSServ mission to Sudan was carried out at the request of the Sudanese government and hosted by the Sudanese Nuclear and Radiological Regulatory Authority (SNRRA) based in Khartoum.

IAEA Director General Rafael Mariano Grossi said: “Sudan’s invitation to the IAEA to conduct the first INSServ mission in the country shows its commitment to improve the national nuclear security infrastructure. Effective national arrangements for the detection of nuclear materials out of regulatory control — whether lost, missing or stolen — are imperative to strengthen the global nuclear security framework.”

INSServ missions focus on nuclear and other radioactive material out of regulatory control (MORC), which can be a result of theft, improper disposal or negligence. The mission team reviewed Sudan’s nuclear security systems and related measures for MORC, including detection and response. Particular topics of focus were roles and responsibilities of competent authorities, sustainability of detection systems and measures, and nuclear forensics.

Sudan uses radioactive sources in an increasing number of applications in medicine, agriculture, industry, and research and education and hundreds of radioactive sources are transported around the country and/or pass through Khartoum International Airport every year. Sudan is also considering the introduction of nuclear power in its energy mix. 

The team, comprising eight senior international experts from Bulgaria, Georgia, Jordan, Morocco, Nigeria, Pakistan and the USA, as well as an IAEA staff member, made recommendations to Sudan, including to further strengthen the national nuclear security detection and response systems and measures related to MORC. Among the good practices noted is that the SNRRA had concluded 11 memoranda of understanding with other national organisations related to cooperation and coordination in nuclear security in terms of technical support, human resources, and scientific research. The team also commended Sudan for establishing dedicated nuclear security units within law enforcement and security agencies.

During the mission, the team conducted interviews with management and staff from SNRRA, General Intelligence Service (GIS), Military Intelligence, Sudan Police General Administration of Forensic Evidence, Institute of Forensics Evidence, Sudan Customs Authority, Civil Aviation Authority and Seaport Corporation. In Khartoum, the team conducted site visits to the SNRRA, General Intelligence Service, Sudan Customs Authority, Khartoum International Airport and the Sudan Police General Administration of Forensics Evidence. The team also visited the Seaport Corporation, Sudan Customs Authority Red Sea Department and the South Seaport in Port Sudan on the Red Sea, 800km northeast of the capital.

“Sudan has in place a legal and regulatory framework that includes an independent regulatory body and a high-level Nuclear Security Committee, coordinating national nuclear security issues in cooperation with national stakeholders,” said Khammar Mrabit, team leader and former Director General, Moroccan Agency for Nuclear and Radiological Safety and Security (AMSSNuR) and a member of the Moroccan Parliament. “The team provided concrete recommendations to the national authorities to further strengthen nuclear security systems and measures relevant to MORC, as part of the nuclear security detection architecture and response framework.”

Image: The INSServ team visited the Sudan Police General Administration of Forensic Evidence as part of the technical visits included in the 10-day mission to Sudan (courtesy of IAEA)