The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), European Commission and National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) co-sponsored a training course in Livingstone, Zambia this week focusing on good management practices for uranium ore concentrate (UOC). The Zambia Radiation Protection Authority hosted the IAEA training event, entitled “Regional Workshop on Security in Practice for the Uranium Ore Concentrate Industry, Including during Transport.” More than 35 government officials from 12 countries attended along with representatives from the uranium mining industry.
Over the past several years, NNSA has supported the IAEA in its efforts to raise awareness of the need for prudent management of UOC. “UOC is the first step in uranium processing. It is a valuable commodity and a potential target for proliferators and requires an active management approach during production, storage and transport,” said Anne Harrington, NNSA Deputy Administrator for Defense Nuclear Nonproliferation. “This course is an important forum for national regulators and industry representatives to deepen their understanding of the management best practices in the IAEA’s forthcoming guidance. Our goal for this event was for participants to leave with concrete ideas about how to modify or enhance their regulations or operations in order to comply with the guidance.”
This workshop introduced and reviewed the IAEA guidance for nuclear security in the uranium extraction industry which is scheduled for publication later this year. Workshop participants engaged in interactive exercises designed to reinforce the application of good management practices to various hypothetical scenarios. Additionally, the workshop addressed the interface between safety, security and safeguards for the production, storage, and transport of UOC.
In addition to the host country of Zambia, participating countries included Benin, Botswana, Central African Republic, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Malawi, Mali, Mauritania, Namibia, Niger, United Republic of Tanzania and Zimbabwe. U.S. experts from the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission and Brookhaven National Laboratory supported the event, as well as experts from the European Commission’s Joint Research Centre, the Australian Safeguards and Nonproliferation Office, and the Danish Institute of International Studies.
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Established by Congress in 2000, NNSA is a semi-autonomous agency within the U.S. Department of Energy responsible for enhancing national security through the military application of nuclear science. NNSA maintains and enhances the safety, security, reliability and performance of the U.S. nuclear weapons stockpile without nuclear testing; works to reduce global danger from weapons of mass destruction; provides the U.S. Navy with safe and effective nuclear propulsion; and responds to nuclear and radiological emergencies in the U.S. and abroad. Visit www.nnsa.energy.gov for more information.