Understanding Nuclear Security Guidance

The 23rd Meeting of the Nuclear Security Guidance Committee (NSGC)


13 July 2023

The 23rd Meeting of the Nuclear Security Guidance Committee (NSGC) was held in Vienna, Austria from the 13 – 16 Jun 2023.

The Nuclear Security Guidance Committee (NSGC) is open to all Member States and selected NGOs. Its purpose is to make recommendations on the development and review of the IAEA Nuclear Security Series publications, for which WNTI provides an expert opinion on the transport aspects.

WNTI was represented by Aileen Harris, NTS Security Officer. Aileen tells us about her experience below:

I was recently given the opportunity to attend the 23rd Meeting of the Nuclear Security Guidance Committee (NSGC) at the Vienna International Centre, home of the IAEA, on behalf of the World Nuclear Transport Institute (WNTI), alongside my colleague James Crabtree.

Having only joined NTS in January, I am grateful for any opportunity to build on my knowledge of the nuclear transport sector so was more than willing to attend the meeting and gain an insight into the guidance we work to…especially if it involved travelling to the beautiful city of Vienna!

The format of the NSGC meeting is designed around progressing NuclearSecurity Standards currently under review to the next step in the journey to publication. Each document is presented, the scope explained, and any comments already received discussed. An agreement is then reached on whether the document can be progressed. The meeting was held across four days, with representatives in attendance from member state governments including France, Japan, Ukraine, Brazil, Spain, Switzerland,US, Russia, Finland, Armenia, Sweden and more.

The NSGC also takes the opportunity of all member states coming together to invite any relevant presentations on publications or events that may be of interest to the committee, which provided insight for me into other committees such as EPReSC (Emergency Preparedness andResponse Standards Committee) and NUSSC (Nuclear Safety StandardsCommittee)

During the week I learned about the structure of Safety Standards and Nuclear Security Standards and the journey of one of these documents from draft to publishing – which is a long one, with some of the documents being discussed having expected publish dates in 2026 and 2028!

Other than the startlingly long time it takes to write and publish a Nuclear Security Standard, my other key observation from the week was the importance of the interface between security and safety. I found this an interesting discussion as in the six years I’ve worked in Security I haven’t explored this connection much, other than the obvious communication required in responding to emergency situations.

I was also interested to learn about the intended development of a new Technical Document for Nuclear Security during a Pandemic Situation which the Nuclear Material Security Unit (NSNS) are currently researching via a questionnaire.

I thoroughly enjoyed my time in Vienna and am grateful for the opportunity. I learned so much that I will take with me in my career in Security and look forward to learning more in my time as a WNTI rep!

– Aileen Harris, NTS Security Officer (People)