Training Tool Tried Out at IAEA Conference

DOE's Pacific Northwest National Laboratory developed the virtual reality tool. The Vienna conference had 700 participants sharing ideas, experiences, and best practices to strengthen the physical protection of nuclear material and facilities against theft or sabotage.

Participants in an IAEA conference this month on protecting nuclear material and nuclear facilities had the opportunity to try out a 3D virtual reality tool developed by DOE's Pacific Northwest National Laboratory. It put them in the shoes of a would-be criminal so they could simulate an attempt to break into a nuclear power plant.

"The idea of this tool is to train people about the interaction between physical and cyber security," said Scott Godwin, general manager of the National Security Directorate at PNNL, where the new Immersive Training Platform was developed. "It allows you to go through the different security barriers, both physical and digital, in a realistic environment, and explore weaknesses that might exist in the security regime. During the experience, we are able to pause the virtual reality training and outline common defensive mechanisms to stop the threat."

The conference had 700 participants sharing ideas, experiences, and best practices to strengthen the physical protection of nuclear material and facilities against theft or sabotage. IAEA plans to reflect the ideas in future guidance, IAEA Director General Yukiya Amano said at the closing of the conference in Vienna, Austria. "Physical protection of nuclear material and nuclear facilities is a key element of national nuclear security regimes. All countries, and organizations such as the IAEA, must work together to ensure that physical protection is sufficient to meet evolving threats," he said.

He said the International Conference on the Physical Protection of Nuclear Material and Nuclear Facilities was an excellent example of needed cooperation among the participants and member states, thanking them for doing their part to strengthen nuclear security.

Participants also discussed the status of the Convention on the Physical Protection of Nuclear Material and its Amendment, which entered into force last year.

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