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Detection of and response

Detection of and response

The authorities have created a common detection architecture, for nuclear and other radioactive material (RN materials) out of regulatory control, thereby laying a foundation for combating unlawful action (

This detection architecture seeks to find a comprehensive way of dealing with the security related problems concerning RN materials out of regulatory control, while taking into account the viewpoints of all the involved authorities. A common detection architecture will lead to a new kind of procurement process. In this process, the needs of the various authorities are first specified, after which companies are contacted for solutions instead of arranging a competitive tendering on the basis of existing technology alone.

The detection architecture will improve the various authorities’ ability to cooperate. Shared use of information is the cornerstone of cooperation between the authorities. The right information for the right users at the right time is of vital importance. For example, the right information on hazardous substances must be communicated promptly to the first-response units.

National security arrangements also make provisions for intercepting attempts of unauthorized transport of nuclear or other radioactive materials across national borders. Such cases may involve a smuggling attempt or, alternatively, a radiation source that has been placed among recycled metal by accident or due to negligence.

STUK has a 24-hour on-call system  and is prepared to act in connection with abnormal incidents related to nuclear facilities, nuclear materials and radiation sources, including nuclear security events. Response at STUK in an abnormal incident refers to situation assessment,  assessment of potential  radiological consequences, and to recommendations for radiation protection measures. STUK maintains response preparedness in cooperation with other relevant authorities.

In abnormal incidents involving a nuclear facility or a radiation source (including nuclear security events), STUK is the expert authority, providing support to the authority in charge of the situation as part of a joint command-and-control structure formed by the authorities involved. In situations involving unlawful action, the command-and-control structure is led by the Police. At a nuclear facility, the security organisation is in charge of the situation until the Police takes the lead at the incident site. STUK makes an assessment of the incident from the viewpoint of nuclear and radiation safety and with regard to the protection of the population and the first response staff, analyses and interprets any radiation measurements made by the first response in the field, carries out supplemental measurements at the incident site if necessary, and issues recommendations in matters related to radiation protection.

Border control

The border monitoring of radioactive materials constitutes part of the activities aimed at preventing, detecting and responding to nuclear terrorism and other unlawful action related to radioactive materials. Finland is responsible for guarding the long north-eastern border of the European Union, and a busy transit point  of people and cargo from Asia to Europe. The strategy used in this context – one based on threat scenarios and risk assessment – is the appropriate monitoring of radioactive materials at the borders carried out in such a manner that the technical surveillance meets all the international recommendations and the static technical surveillance capability can be enhanced through the introduction of a mobile measurement capability that can be adapted to varying situations. Monitoring at the boarders is part of Finland’s national detection architecture.

The decision 1540 (UNSC 1540, 2004) by the United Nations Security Council obliges the member states to put in place appropriate and effective border controls for the detection and prevention of unauthorized transports that could promote the proliferation of nuclear, chemical or biological weapons. This decision also obliges the member states to organise monitoring of exports, imports and transits of such products. Furthermore, the European Council Directive 2003/122/Euratom and the IAEA Code of conduct on the safety and security of radioactive sources recommend that measures for the monitoring of radiation be put in place at transit and border crossing points.

A cooperation project between STUK and the Customs on the monitoring of radioactive materials at the borders (RADAR) 2009–2014 seeks to maintain and develop an operational cooperation model, detection systems used at crossing points and the training of the Customs officials. This operational information-flow model aims at ensuring that any radiation observations made by the Customs are submitted to STUK for analysis without delay, thereby enabling appropriate response for the situation. The same concept is suitable for providing expert support (reach-back) for other detection activities by first responders.