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Implementation of Nuclear Security at major public events

The organization of a major public event (MPE) – such as a sports, political or religious gathering – involving large numbers of spectators and participants, presents important security challenges for any State. Malevolent acts involving the use of nuclear and other radioactive material at MPEs could result in severe consequences, depending upon the nature and quantity of the material, the location and the number of people involved.

These considerations have led several States hosting MPEs to implement strategies to deal with attacks using conventional explosives and those involving the malicious use of nuclear or other radioactive material. Since MPEs are planned well in advance, potential adversaries have ample time to prepare their own actions to disrupt them.

The IAEA at work

The IAEA has developed concepts and procedures for dealing effectively with nuclear and radiological threats. The document on 'Implementation of Nuclear Security at Major Public Events' will provide guidance on the enhancement of a nuclear security system to State authorities involved in the organization and security management of an MPE. The proposed concepts are designed to prevent, detect and respond to an incident involving the potential or actual malicious use of nuclear and other radioactive material. These form an integral part of the overall security system for the event since it protects the public and the first responders effectively from the consequences.

Planning

The IAEA assists Member States in the development of an infrastructure for the implementation of nuclear security at MPEs. Expert missions are convened to assist in the development of strategies and concepts for prevention, detection and response to malicious acts. The scope includes developing and updating the threat analysis, outlining prevention measures, developing a deployment strategy for various radiation detection systems, developing or adjusting the infrastructure for responding to radiation detection or relevant incidents and establishing a work plan for the implementation of nuclear security measures.The IAEA has been involved in ensuring the security at events like the Olympic Games, the Pan American Games, and the Football World Cups among others.

Training

The IAEA assists Member States in the development of training programmes for policy makers and event organizers. It also provides training for operating organizations, such as law enforcement officials, emergency response officials and staff of the relevant technical organizations involved in the implementation of security at MPEs. In particular, the IAEA provides specific training on the updating of the design basis threat, physical protection measures, detection techniques and instruments and response to criminal or unauthorized acts involving nuclear and other radioactive material. Specific training courses are also offered for the collection and analysis of information on threat analysis, detection techniques and instruments and response measures.

Equipment

The IAEA supports Member States with the acquisition of proper equipment for prevention, detection and response to malicious acts involving nuclear and other radioactive material. In accordance with the deployment strategies, this includes providing procurement specifications and an initial set of equipment for implementation during MPEs.

Guidance/publications

The IAEA is preparing a publication on MPEs based on the experience acquired in assisting Greece in implementing an effective nuclear security system for the 2004 Olympic Games. Drawing on the experience from other States, this new publication will provide guidance to State authorities on implementing or enhancing a nuclear security system for an MPE. The system aims at the prevention and detection of the response to criminal/unauthorized acts, and should be an integral part of the overall security system for any MPE.

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| Last update: Thursday, June 20, 2013.