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The international community meets to discuss the future of nuclear security

The international community meets to discuss the future of nuclear security


Over 2,000 ministers, senior officials, experts and delegates from around the world will gather at the International Conference on Nuclear Security: Shaping the Future (ICONS 2024), hosted by the IAEA, next week in Vienna. Taking place from May 20 to 24, the focus of the conference will be on how to further strengthen global nuclear security and address the challenges associated with new risks, threats and emerging technologies.

Nuclear security is about more than preventing nuclear terrorism. It is about providing clean energy, modern medicine, nutritious food and hope for a better tomorrow, says IAEA Director General Rafael Mariano Grossi. The IAEA is where the world comes together to make sure we continue to make this possible.

As the world's only international conference on nuclear security with a ministerial and scientific component, ICONS 2024: Shaping the Future will provide a global forum to discuss the future of nuclear security, while providing opportunities for information exchange, sharing of practices the best and the promotion of international cooperation.

The conference will consist of two segments: a two-day ministerial segment featuring national statements, interactive sessions and high-level policy discussions for Ministers. The four-day scientific and technical program will run parallel to the second day of the ministerial segment and includes daily plenary panels with invited speakers, high-level policy discussions and technical side sessions.

“A strong and sustainable nuclear security system has never been more imperative. Co-chaired by Australia and Kazakhstan, ICONS 2024 will bring together ministers, policymakers and technical and legal experts to renew and strengthen collective nuclear security commitments. I excited to see countries come together to advance the nuclear security agenda and address the challenges ahead, says Tim Watts, Australia's Assistant Minister for Foreign Affairs and Co-President of ICONS.

Immersion in nuclear safety

As part of a comprehensive program, experts will discuss a wide range of technical and scientific topics of nuclear safety. These include global perspectives on nuclear safety regulations for small modular reactors, the role of nuclear forensics in strengthening international nuclear security, the practical uses and potential threats of artificial intelligence, preparing for and defending against cyber-attacks on sensitive infrastructure, and developing national strategies for nuclear security events.

The conference boasts record attendance with over 700 submitted abstracts covering four main thematic areas including policy, technology, capacity building and cross-cutting nuclear security topics such as communication and security-security nexus, among others. The ministerial segment, including national statements, is open to the media and they can also attend all plenary sessions during the week-long conference. Ministerial and plenary sessions will be available on live video streaming.

ICONS 2024 is a major event for the global nuclear security community and comes at a critical time for international nuclear security. Despite several risks and challenges from climate change and natural disasters to global pandemics, artificial intelligence products and advanced computer technologies offer new opportunities to strengthen nuclear safety regimes, says Sungat Yessimkhanov, Deputy Minister of Energy of the Republic of Kazakhstan.

The program includes 52 technical sessions, a ministerial plenary panel on nuclear security and the Sustainable Development Goals, an interactive ministerial session on scenario-based policies and four technical plenary sessions, each on one of the main themes of the conference. 45 side events are planned and organized by Member States, international and other organizations, working groups and networks and the IAEA.

In addition, the inaugural Nuclear Security for the Future Delegation will meet in person, giving 24 delegates selected from more than 200 applicants in the field of nuclear security the opportunity to present the results of their discussions held over the previous weeks. leading up to the conference.

Further, the ICONS 2024 Photo Contest Nuclear Security Through Lenses aligns with the key goals of ICONS 2024, aiming to raise awareness of nuclear security initiatives globally and foster creative engagement with a wide audience. Eight finalists will have their photographs on display, along with a narrative explaining their perspectives on nuclear security.

ICONS 2024 is the fourth conference in this series. Previous ICONS were hosted by the IAEA in 2013, 2016 and 2020. The conference is supported by funding from Australia, Canada, the Republic of Korea, Pakistan, Switzerland, the United Kingdom and the United States of America.




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