Säteilyturvakeskus (STUK)

Radioactive substances can be found through cooperation between authorities

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The Radiation and Nuclear Safety Authority has published a report “Finnish nuclear security detection architecture for nuclear and other radioactive material out of regulatory control”. The report describes the cooperation between public authorities and other organisations in detecting and finding radioactive substances that have been accidentally or intentionally released.

Activities related to the security of nuclear and other radioactive substances in Finland involve cooperation between the Police, Rescue services, Customs and, depending on the situation, many other organisations. Deep expertise in radiation safety, security and safeguards is available in the Radiation and Nuclear Safety Authority (STUK).

The report of national detection architecture has been done in co-operation of different authorities. Kari Peräjärvi, Principal Advisor at STUK and editor of the report, says that a good detection architecture ensures successful and cost-effective authority operations, and avoids duplication of work and gaps between the activities of different authorities.

According to Peräjärvi, things are quite good in Finland. “The mere fact that we have a collaborative architecture that can be described is a good thing,” he says.

He also says that the published report shows that cooperation between authorities still has room for improvement and that the resource allocation of activities needs constant attention. The report will also be useful when research in this area is planned.

Finland's detection architecture for nuclear and other radioactive materials is based on the national CBRNE strategy. CBRNE stands for chemical, biological, radiological/nuclear, explosives. The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) recommendation also calls for the establishment of a national architecture.

Information travels faster than an expert

Principal Advisor Kari Peräjärvi mentions security arrangements related to major international sporting events, as an example of cooperation between different actors. Another example is the 24-hour surveillance at Finland's borders, which also covers radioactive substances. Radiation monitoring is an integral part of operational authority activities, which STUK supports with its expertise.

The technical solutions introduced in Finland in recent years in the areas of surveillance and data transfer have considerably improved the effectiveness of regulatory control and the detection of radioactive substances. A STUK expert goes on-site to take measurements increasingly rarely, as other authorities are able to take care of the observation and measurement in its entirety. Measurement information pass quickly and reliably to STUK's expert, who is able to provide recommendations remotely for handling the situation.

Safety, Security, Safeguards

Nuclear and radiation safety means that nuclear power plants and radiation sources in industry and health care can be operated and used safely. Safeguards means that the responsible authorities have information about where nuclear materials are located. Nuclear security covers prevention, detection, and response actions to illegal activities. If dangerous radioactive materials are lost or fall into the wrong hands, they must be found and brought back under control.

STUK's report "National detection architecture for nuclear and other radioactive materials" deals specifically with the security component of preparedness for unlawful activities.

Contacts

Principal Advisor Kari Peräjärvi, tel. +358 9 759 88 705

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