European Union opens new anti-trafficking training center

A new European Union training center that will focus on combating illicit trafficking of nuclear and radioactive materials was launched on April 18 in Karlsruhe.

The training center will give front-line officers hands on experience with tools of the trade and the knowledge to deal with CBRN materials. The training facility will come equipped with an area simulating an airport, complete with pedestrian portal monitor and an x-ray conveyor, along with an outdoor training area that will have different types of radiation portal monitors.

"This training center will make emergency personnel much better equipped to prevent and tackle nuclear incidents," Cecilia Malmström, commissioner for home affairs, said. "Rare as they are, such incidents may have terrible consequences. EUSECTRA will not only help to protect European citizens but will also serve as a point of reference for other organizations in this field."

Nuclear security has been a concern in Europe since the fall of the Soviet Union. Training facilities like this are a more and more common sight in places like Karlsruhe.

The center will be at the JRC's Institute for Transuranium Elements. It was initially conceived by the EU's CBRN action plan put into place in 2009. EUSECTRA will also provide other services, like enhancing cross-border cooperation and expert networking.

"Nuclear security is a major global challenge in the 21st century," European Commissioner for Research Maire Geoghegan-Quinn said. "Innovation and Science Training and international cooperation in detection are key elements in our response to the threat of illicit trafficking of radioactive and nuclear materials. This new training center is contributing at the cutting edge of research and technology in this field."