“Opening of the IAEA’s Nuclear Security Training and Demonstration Center”
Remarks as Prepared for Ambassador Laura S. H. Holgate, Tuesday, October 3, 2023, Seibersdorf Laboratories
Good afternoon, Director General Grossi, Deputy Director General Evrard, Director Buglova, and your Excellencies.
Today, we come together to mark an important occasion—the opening of the IAEA’s Nuclear Security Training and Demonstration Center. This center represents a significant milestone — the world’s first truly international and multilateral nuclear security training facility of its kind.
We appreciate the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia’s generous initial contribution and role in co-leading the Friends group, which made this endeavor possible. And we were also pleased to contribute more than $5 million in direct and in-kind support to this center.
Over the past three years, IAEA staff, particularly Laboratory Coordinator Andy Garner, Director of the Division of Nuclear Security Elena Buglova, and her team, have dedicated themselves to planning, developing, designing, and equipping this center. They did all this despite formidable challenges posed by a global pandemic, supply chain disruptions, record-high inflation, and increased energy costs. Completing this project on time and within budget was an impressive feat and underscores the IAEA’s commitment to responsible stewardship of Member States’ contributions.
The creation of this center and the comprehensive training it will offer reaffirm the IAEA’s enduring commitment to nuclear security. Its location, nestled between the safeguards laboratories and the original nuclear applications laboratories, serves as an important reminder of the pivotal role nuclear security plays alongside safeguards and nuclear applications. In concert, these activities build public trust in, and safe and secure access to, nuclear technology, enabling the IAEA to address the most pressing challenges of our time.
Just last week, we gathered in Vienna for the 67th IAEA General Conference, where we marked the 70th Anniversary of President Eisenhower’s historic “Atoms for Peace” speech—the very proclamation that gave birth to the IAEA. At the dawn of the Cold War, an unstable world and a new manner of warfare challenged the fragile peace following two world wars. The IAEA brought the international community together to prevent nuclear proliferation and, with other multilateral organizations, reduce the risks posed by nuclear weapons and nuclear technology.
Just as the world came together nearly seven decades ago to respond to the threats posed by nuclear war, we did so again to promote peace and the peaceful uses of nuclear science and technology.
Twenty-one years ago, the IAEA established a dedicated office to address the emerging threat of nuclear terrorism. That office has grown into the Division of Nuclear Security.
Since then, the risks have evolved, but the fundamental solution remains the same—international cooperation, continued vigilance, and the realization that nuclear security is a collective ongoing commitment. Over the years, through cooperative efforts, the global community has effectively tackled nuclear security threats, reduced risks, and cultivated the expertise necessary to prevent nuclear terrorist attacks.
As we inaugurate this center today, we take a significant step toward expanding access to nuclear security training and capacity building. More importantly, we reaffirm our shared commitment to addressing the global challenge of nuclear terrorism together as a united community of nations.
Congratulations DG Grossi, DDG Evrard, and Director Buglova. We look forward to continuing to work with you for the success of this project.