RIYADH: The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and Saudi Arabia have broken ground on the agency’s new nuclear security center near Vienna.
Rafael Grossi, director-general of the IAEA, was joined by Prince Abdullah bin Khalid bin Sultan, the Kingdom’s ambassador to Austria and the permanent representative to international organizations in Vienna for the ceremony on Monday.
The IAEA Nuclear Security Training and Demonstration Center is located in the Seibersdorf district, 30 kilometers south of the Austrian capital.
The center aims to strengthen countries’ capabilities to enhance nuclear security and counter nuclear terrorism.
Saudi Arabia donated €8.3 million ($9.77 million) to establish the center as part of its efforts to combat nuclear terrorism and illicit trafficking in nuclear materials, and protect nuclear and radiological facilities.
“Big day for IAEA as we broke ground for new nuclear security training center that will help strengthen countries’ abilities to tackle nuclear terrorism in areas such as the illegal trafficking of nuclear material and the physical protection of facilities and major public events,” Grossi said.
— Rafael MarianoGrossi (@rafaelmgrossi) July 12, 2021
The 2,000 square meter center is set to begin operating next year.
Practical training will be conducted on platforms for demonstration systems and virtual reality environments that simulate the security systems used in nuclear power plants, research reactors, and border crossings.
“Participants will practice procedures on access and alarm controls, inspect physical protection systems, better understand computer security risks, and learn how to sweep an area for radioactive material during major public events, among other activities. Exercises at the training center will also strengthen capabilities in radiological crime scene management and nuclear forensics,” the IAEA said.
Britain pledged €2 million, while the United States pledged €1 million.
“Thanks to the great generosity of our donor countries this new facility will expand the topic areas covered by the IAEA’s Seibersdorf complex,” Grossi added.
The @iaeaorg Nuclear Security Center has been inaugurated! The Kingdom is proud to have contributed to create this vital organization that will reduce trafficking and enhance physical protection of nuclear materials. Many thanks to DG @rafaelmgrossi for his tireless efforts. pic.twitter.com/rNVy2iUx9m
— عبدالله بن خالد بن سلطان / Abdullah bin Khaled (@aksa_alsaud) July 12, 2021