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International Physical Protection Advisory Service (IPPAS)

The International Physical Protection Advisory Service (IPPAS) was created by the IAEA to assist States in strengthening their national nuclear security regime. IPPAS provides peer advice on implementing international instruments, and Agency guidance on the protection of nuclear and other radioactive material and associated facilities.

During the IPPAS mission, the State’s physical protection system is reviewed and compared with international guidelines (INFCIRC/225/Revision 5) and internationally recognized best practices. Based on this review, recommendations for improvements are provided including follow-up activities and assistance. Following IPPAS recommendations, actual upgrades of physical protection systems were initiated in several Member States through bilateral support programmes.

At the request of a Member State, IPPAS assembles a team of international experts who assess the State’s system of physical protection, compare it with international best practices and make recommendations for improvements. IPPAS missions are conducted both on a nation-wide and facility-specific basis.

The mission objectives are two-fold:

  • Help States translate international instruments on nuclear security and IAEA guidance into regulatory requirements for the design and operation of physical protection systems.
  • Provide State bodies and facilities with new concepts and discuss best practices on physical protection with experts from other countries.

IPPAS team members draft a report for the host country during the mission. This highly confidential document details the results, acknowledges good practices and lists recommendations and suggestions for improvement at the state and operational level. The report is shared only with the host State. It addresses the following key issues:

  • Government organization: competent authorities and their security responsibilities;
  • Physical protection legislation;
  • Regulations;
  • Licensing and inspections;
  • Integration of other organizations; and
  • Facility implementation of physical protection measures.

On the basis of host inputs, the IAEA assembles an international expert team and outlines the conduct of mission. The State assembles nuclear security documents for IPPAS team review (legislations, regulations, guidance and nuclear security plans).

The team meets with appropriate government and facility personnel and gathers, discusses and shares information about physical protection. A draft report is presented to the host at the exit briefing outlining the results and recommendations of the expert team.

The host’s comments are incorporated, and a final confidential report is issued.

Agreed follow-up activities are undertaken by the host and the IAEA, as soon as is practical. At the request of the
host, follow-up activities may include:

  • Staff training and related human resources development;
  • Development of physical protection regulations and laws; and
  • Improvement of physical protection systems.

A follow-up mission reviews implementation of IPPAS recommendations and advice concerning physical protection for a facility. This follow-up mission would usually be within five years.

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| Last update: Tuesday, 09 December, 2014.