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NRA hosts National Training Course on Insider Threats to Nuclear Material

2023-12-04 11:31:03


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Blog Post By

Nuclear Regulatory Authority.


About 25 participants from the nuclear industry, some regulated facilities and activities, and security services attended the National Training Course on Preventive and Protective Measures against Insider Threats to Nuclear Material, at the Grand Star Hotel in Accra last month from the 13-17 November 2023

"Protecting against malicious insiders is a difficult job. Complacency leads an organisation to downplay the insider threat and fail to take appropriate action," said Kim Convent, standing in for Robert Larsen, the scientific secretary responsible for the course at the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) in her opening remarks. "Security measures are often shrouded in secrecy, making information sharing and learning from each other impossible," she said.

Participants from the regulatory body with associated regulations preparation provided information on some of the ongoing activities to tackling insider threats, whilst participants who had designing, operating, or assessing nuclear security systems, physical protection systems, nuclear security management and computer security at nuclear facilities also shares their experiences on insider threats.

Throughout the training course, participants were taken through presentations and working exercises on nuclear security measures that address insider threats, including unauthorised removal of nuclear materials (theft) and sabotage, as well as cyber security at facilities containing nuclear material. During the working exercises, participants were put into small groups so they could apply the concepts covered in the presentations to a hypothetical facility.

The course introduced the concepts that underlie the evaluation of preventive and protective measures and explained how these should be applied to enhance nuclear security regarding insider threats. This was an important aspect because employees with authorised access and malicious intent can easily bypass many of the security measures put in place within nuclear and other organisations to cause damage.

The Nuclear Security Department of the NRA is responsible for ensuring the secured operations of nuclear materials, nuclear facilities, and associated activities in Ghana. The department is currently revising the Nuclear Security Support Centre (NSSC) Policy which will further help strengthen the sustainability of the nuclear security in the country.

What is Insider Threat?

According to the IAEA, an insider threat is described as an adversary or attacker with authorised access to a nuclear facility, a transport operation or sensitive information. This means that individuals like employees or third parties, having authorised access  and with positions of trust, have unlimited opportunities to select the most vulnerable target and the best time to perform or attempt to perform a malicious act with the intent to cause harm to people, damage to property or harm to the environment using radioactive sources or small amounts of nuclear material.

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