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10-14 February 2020
Europe/Vienna timezone

Considerations for regulatory body: Nuclear security culture self-assessment

Not scheduled
Poster CC: Nuclear security culture in practice with a focus on sustainability


Amira Elabd (Egyptian Nuclear and Radiological Regulatory Authority (ENRRA),)


Security culture self-assessment plays a key role in developing and maintaining an awareness of the strengths and weaknesses of Nuclear security culture (NSC). IAEA recently published technical guidance NSS No. 28-T (Self-assessment of Nuclear Security Culture in Facilities and Activities). Self-assessment is not strictly confined to the operators’ side but also to regulators’ side. However no self-assessment of NSC in regulatory bodies and technical support organizations (TSOs) have been published so far. However the required tools for culture self-assessment can be found in IAEA NSS No. 7 and No. 28-T; they just have to be tailor-fitted to the needs of the regulatory body. The regulatory body plays a central role here, taking his self-reflection about his own role modelling into account. So the paper is focused on some considerations for regulatory body about nuclear security culture self-assessment for the evaluation of the current state of the security culture and for the derivation of an action-plan to strength sustainability and effectiveness of nuclear security regime.

- The main challenge consists in selecting appropriate characteristics from the generic IAEA model to be able to tailor-fit a suitable bunch of indicators in the second step. The next crucial step deals with fitting a bunch of suitable statements with unambiguous and understandable messages. Performing such a campaign should therefore lead to a deeper understanding of the security culture and its importance for an effective security regime.
-The self-assessment for the regulator should be easily understandable and applicable so that it may affect any level of inspector in an effective and efficient way. In addition the self-assessment survey should be limited and focused to appropriate topics and not try to cover all the indicators in the above mentioned IAEA publications.
-Some characteristics are playing a central role for the regulator, such as work environment, training and qualification, effective communication, motivation, professional conduct and adherence to procedure whereas other areas seem to be of minor importance for the regulator himself, e.g. improving performance, expectations or performance measurement.
-The special challenges of regulatory body are including the limited control regulatory body have over their goals, the presence of subcultures, and the nature of the interaction between the regulator’s organizational culture and those of the nuclear facilities and associated activities. One key task of a regulator is to influence and shape the cultures of the nuclear facilities and associated activities so that they better advance policy goals. As a result, regulatory leaders interrelated challenge of trying to manage their own organizational culture in ways that enable them to both infer and influence the cultures of the nuclear facilities and associated activities cultures.
-As in the area of nuclear safety assessment, security culture assessment must balance between self-assessment with and without the involvement of outside specialists, as both modes have their advantages and disadvantages. Self-assessment team members possess in-depth knowledge of the organization, its people, its processes, and key influences. They are insiders and therefore have a stake in, and are more accountable for, improvement. Safety and security must reinforce one another in pursuing the common objective of protecting people and the environment.
-It’s important to understand the distinct differences between security and non-security personnel are vital to a balanced and accurate assessment as well as to corrective management arrangements.
-Nuclear security culture training of competent authority representatives may enable them to better observe and identify indicators of a strong nuclear security culture and assess gaps that need to be addressed.

-A self-assessment may be conducted at the beginning of implementing a programme for the enhancement of nuclear security culture and may be regularly repeated in order to assess the current nuclear security culture within an organization.
-Quality assurance can contribute to a strong nuclear security culture. Nuclear security needs a high degree of rigor, control and assessment to remain effective. Therefore, well-documented and applied quality assurance practices for nuclear security will help ensure its effectiveness.
- Continuously developing a common understanding of security culture and establishing a positive dialogue with the licensee is of primary importance for performing effective regulatory oversight of security culture.
-Implementation of National capacity building programs for nuclear security, that need the involvement of all stakeholders, including regulatory bodies, nuclear operators, technical support organizations, law enforcement agencies, and organizations responsible for responding to nuclear security events. The cooperation and coordination of these stakeholders are critical for the optimization of the program to be effective in meeting national needs of nuclear security capacity building. National knowledge networks for nuclear security are the basis for such cooperation, coordination and sustainability.

Gender Female
State Egypt

Primary author

Amira Elabd (Egyptian Nuclear and Radiological Regulatory Authority (ENRRA),)

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