Enhancing the safe and secure applications of nuclear science and technology takes an array of expertise. Madalina Man, an international compliance analyst at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL), recently lent her legal expertise to an International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) International Physical Protection Advisory Service Mission (IPPAS) in Zambia. IPPAS provides an in-depth review of a country’s nuclear security regime for nuclear material and facilities and for radioactive material and radiological installations.
“In my role at PNNL, I have supported many countries over the past years in the development of nuclear security laws and regulations. My familiarity with different legal frameworks and with the IAEA nuclear security guidance allowed me to quickly identify relevant recommendations and formulate them in a manner that I thought would tailor best to the host country,” said Man.
The IPPAS peer-review team comprised an IAEA technical officer and five other experts from Egypt, Ghana, Niger, and Zimbabwe, each with a different area of nuclear security expertise. The mission team spent long hours discussing with all the relevant stakeholders in Zambia who had responsibilities for nuclear security, comparing notes, and reviewing legal documents and facility procedures.
Because much of the discussions focused on the country’s legal and regulatory infrastructure for nuclear security, Man’s legal expertise played a central role in facilitating the conversations, providing advice and examples of good practices to government representatives in Zambia, and driving conclusions and recommendations of the mission report.
“On such peer-review missions, it is essential to not only cite international best practice, but also provide practical solutions as to how some of that guidance would fit the circumstances of the host country,” she said.
Over the course of two weeks, the team reviewed Zambia’s nuclear security regime for radioactive material and facilities by interviewing national agencies, conducting visits at four facilities, and reviewing over 30 laws, regulations, guidelines, procedures, policies, and memoranda of understanding. By the end of the mission, the team produced a detailed report on the status of nuclear security in Zambia, identifying a number of recommendations, suggestions, and good practices for both national-level agencies and the facilities based on international conventions and IAEA nuclear security guidance.
“I had the opportunity to discuss with legal advisors in the government about existing legislation or documents under development. I was able to offer concrete advice on how certain laws and regulations could be improved for a more robust adherence to international guidance,” Man said.
The mission in Zambia held particular significance because it was IAEA’s 100th IPPAS since its launch in 1995. Over the past 25 years, the IAEA has conducted IPPAS missions in over 60 countries. The missions help identify good practices, which the IAEA has collected in a database since 2016 and that have the potential of generating new international guidance documents toward the improvement of nuclear security worldwide. The IAEA has published a list of 100 good practices that can be accessed online.
To learn more, see “IAEA Concludes International Physical Protection Advisory Service Mission in Zambia.”