Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) and the James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies (CNS) at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies (MIIS) held the annual Department of Energy National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) sponsored International Nuclear Safeguards Policy and Information Analysis Course from June 3-7 in Monterey.
Thirty-seven graduate students and young professionals from the U.S. and 12 foreign countries spent a week at MIIS. Students came from MIIS and various colleges and university programs where they currently study a wide range of subjects, but have a common interest in safeguards, nonproliferation, and disarmament. They attended lectures and were involved in exercises provided by current and former safeguards professionals from LLNL, CNS/MIIS, and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). Course participants explored the history of safeguards, the legal bases of safeguards, and current problems of safeguarding nuclear materials under the safeguarding system established by the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT). They also addressed other safeguards-related issues such as the Joint Plan of Action (JCPOA) with Iran, issues with the Democratic Republic of Korea (DPRK), and movement toward nuclear disarmament.
In addition to lectures, attendees were able to participate in hands-on use of radiation detection equipment and in environmental sampling techniques used by IAEA inspectors. They also broke into teams to study the application of controlling IAEA safeguards directives to analyze hypothetical scenarios involving countries attempting to divert nuclear materials from peaceful uses to nuclear weapons programs.
One of the significant values to the participants was the opportunity to network among themselves and with professionals in safeguards and nonproliferation. Following the week-long course, a small group of the course participants began a ten-week paid internship at LLNL where they will further explore safeguards-related issues on a concentrated basis.
MIIS students interested in participation in next year’s tuition free program should contact MIIS Scientist-in-Residence Dr. George Moore.