Building upon the successful International Conference on Advances in Nuclear Forensics: Countering the Evolving Threat of Nuclear and Other Radioactive Material out of Regulatory Control (July 2014), IAEA convened a Technical Meeting on Nuclear Forensics in April 2019, Vienna, Austria. This meeting focused on the implementation of nuclear forensics in response to nuclear security events involving nuclear and other radioactive material out of regulatory control. With attention to human capacity building and the use of existing technical capabilities, the meeting featured shared experiences in the development and sustainability of nuclear forensics, as well as the conduct of a nuclear forensic examination. Over 150 participants from 80 Member States, INTERPOL and the European Commission attended the technical meeting and exchanged experiences involving the successful development of national nuclear forensic programmes and developed a vision for a stronger integration of nuclear forensic capabilities within national nuclear security regimes. Furthermore, the meeting reinforced that nuclear forensic science aims to reveal and establish links among people, places, events, and materials.
In keeping with the “Beyond the Science” theme, participants identified as an ongoing challenge the need to create stronger connections supporting the response to a nuclear security event, including the coupling of nuclear forensics science to the requirements of national legal systems as well as potential cooperation in investigations across borders. Many participants also stressed the need to foster and sustain the technical expertise and cross-disciplinary education of the next generation of nuclear forensic experts within both the scientific and law enforcement communities. Some highlighted the success of bilateral cooperation in applied training programmes and short-term nuclear forensics practitioner exchanges as ongoing efforts to tackle the concern of an aging workforce. Many countries showcased their experiences in establishing and sustaining national nuclear forensics capabilities, demonstrating how nuclear forensics has helped them to fulfill their nuclear security responsibilities and achieve a wide array of national security priorities, including enhanced border protection and stronger physical protection systems for their facilities.
In this presentation, the technical meeting co-chairs will present the “Beyond the Science” key themes and outcomes that will help advance the state-of-practice of nuclear forensics within the international community.