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IAEA completes nuclear security review mission in Korea
- IAEA team conducts two-week review of physical protection systems,significant improvements expected

The Nuclear Safety and Security Commission (NSSC) held a concluding meeting on March 7 for the International Physical Protection Advisory Service (IPPAS) mission conducted by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). The IPPAS mission reviewed Korea’s physical protection systems from February 24 to March 7.

※ Physical protection: Measures set out to minimize damage through prevention, detection, and counteraction to risks involving radioactive materials and nuclear facilities

The IPPAS team, comprised of 10 leading experts from around the world including the United States and the United Kingdom, reviewed physical protection systems at the Hanbit Nuclear Power Plant, operated by Korea Hydro & Nuclear Power, and the HANARO reactor, operated by the Korea Atomic Energy Research Institute (KAERI). In addition, the inspection covered transport of nuclear materials, radioactive sources, and cyber security. During the inspection, the team visited nuclear sites such as the Hanbit Nuclear Power Plant, the HANARO reactor, and the Advanced Radiation Technology Laboratory in Jeongeup for briefing sessions on the present condition of physical protection. They also attended the emergency response training conducted at Hanbit Nuclear Power Plant.

Joseph Sandoval (Sandia National Laboratories), who led the IPPAS team, applauded Korea’s commitment to nuclear security and found that recent efforts have been made in strengthening the nation’s physical protection systems. This review is especially meaningful as it is the first IPPAS mission in Asia.

Carlos Torres Vidal, head of the IAEA Nuclear Security of Materials and Facilities Section, said, “Successful development of a nuclear power programme necessitates a strong commitment to security, and the example given by the ROK strengthens the message about the value of applying the IAEA Security Guidance and the use of its advisory services.”

In response, Yong-hwan Kim, the Secretary General of NSSC, said, “The IPPAS mission was very useful in improving the ROK's nuclear security regime. The Republic of Korea will implement the recommendations and suggestions in the near future.”

IAEA plans to publish official results in May. Based on the report, NSSC expects to implement IAEA’s recommendations and invite follow-up missions.
[Source:Nuclear Safety and Security Commission (NSSC)]

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