International Training Course garners 45 participants from 39 countries

The 24th International Training Course on the Physical Protection of Nuclear Material and Nuclear Facilities was held from Oct. 20 to Nov. 8 at Sandia National Laboratories in Albuquerque, N.M.

The National Nuclear Security Administration, a branch of the Department of Energy, held the training session with the State Department and the International Atomic Energy Agency. The training session had 45 participants from 39 countries.

"This training strengthens awareness of the need for an integrated system of physical protection of nuclear material and facilities that is effective against theft and sabotage," NNSA Deputy Administrator for Defense Nuclear Nonproliferation Anne Harrington said.

The NNSA, State Department and the IAEA sponsor the training session every 18 months. It involves classroom training, hands-on experiments and group exercises. Participants become familiar with international legal instruments and IAEA guidance on physical protection concepts and technology.

The course also helps countries determine the effectiveness of nuclear material and facility security systems, and make sure systems in place are in compliance with requirements of the Convention on the Physical Protection of Nuclear Material.

"This course is one of the world's preeminent courses on physical protection and provides a dynamic environment in which participants can explore the key concepts and practices that form the basis for meeting the highest standards of nuclear security," Harrington said.

The ITC is a component of the NNSA's International Nuclear Security Program and is mandated by the 1978 Nuclear Nonproliferation Act.