An International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) team of International Physical Protection Advisory Service (IPPAS) experts on 9 July completed a nuclear security advisory mission in Belarus, which was carried out at the request of its government. The scope of the two-week mission was to review the national security regime for nuclear material and associated facilities and activities. It included a review of physical protection measures implemented at Belarus’s first NPP at the Ostrovets site, security aspects related to the transport of nuclear material, and to computer security in nuclear facilities. The mission compared national nuclear security procedures and practices with the provisions specified in the Convention on Physical Protection of Nuclear Material (CPPNM) and its Amendment as well as with relevant IAEA nuclear security guidance. Belarus is party to the CPPNM but has not yet ratified its 2005 Amendment.
The team observed that Belarus has established a nuclear security regime with essential elements from the IAEA’s guidance on the fundamentals of nuclear security. The team offered recommendations and suggestions to support Belarus in further enhancing and sustaining nuclear security. Good practices were identified that can serve as examples to other IAEA Member States to help strengthen their nuclear security activities.
“By hosting an IPPAS mission, Belarus has demonstrated its strong commitment and continuous efforts to enhance its national nuclear security regime,” said Elena Buglova, Director of the IAEA’s Division of Nuclear Security, at the mission closing ceremony in Minsk. “Belarus has also contributed to refining IPPAS methodologies in recent months, in particular by conducting a pilot self-assessment of its nuclear security regime in preparation for this mission.”
“In a dynamically changing modern world, nuclear security systems must be ready to adequately respond to new challenges and threats. For Belarus, which is implementing the first nuclear power program, the recommendations of international experts are of particular importance for strengthening state nuclear security requirements,” said the Minister for Emergency Situations of the Republic of Belarus Vadim Sinyavsky. “In this regard, we consider the IPPAS mission extremely important, we take seriously all the recommendations received and assure that all of them will be fully implemented.”
The team was led by Joseph Sandoval, Distinguished Member of Technical Staff at the US Sandia National Laboratories, and included eight other experts from Bulgaria, France, Russia, Switzerland, Ukraine, the UK and the IAEA.
The mission is the third IPPAS mission hosted by Belarus, following two which took place in 2000 and 2009 respectively. The team met in the capital Minsk with officials from the Department of Nuclear and Radiation Safety of the Ministry for Emergency Situations of the Republic of Belarus (Gosatomnadzor), the Ministry of Internal Affairs, Belarusian Railway – within the Ministry of Transport and Communications – and the Operational and Analytical Center under the President of the Republic of Belarus. The team also visited the Ostrovets NPP.