On 28 June - 01 July 2021, the Jordanian National Center for Nuclear and Radiological Security (NCNRS) with the support of UNICRI held a four-days national training entitled “Combating Illicit Trafficking and Smuggling of Radiological and Nuclear Materials and Response Mechanisms”. The training was addressed to the Jordanian officers in charge of responding to nuclear security accidents and illicit trafficking operations.
The initiative was conducted within the framework of the project “CONTACT – Enhancing capacities to prevent the trafficking of radiological and nuclear material in the Middle East”, funded by Global Affairs Canada. The organization of the event was facilitated by the Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear (CBRN) National Focal Point, Colonel Saleh – Al-Sheyyab from the National Centre for Security and Crisis management (NCSCM).
A total of sixteen participants from the Jordanian security agencies attended the training, including officers from the General Intelligence Directorate (GID), the Jordanian Armed Forces (JAF), the Public Security Directorate (PSD), the Energy and Minerals Regulatory Commission (EMRC), the Jordanian Customs, the NCSCM, and the NCNRS. The aim of the training was to enhance knowledge of radioactive and nuclear materials subject to potential smuggling operations and unauthorized use. In addition, the training aimed to enhance the participants’ skills in prevention and detection of illicit trafficking operations involving radiological and nuclear materials.
Over the course of four days, the threat of illicit trafficking and the role of relevant intelligence operations were discussed. In addition, basic information about ionizing radiation and radiation protection was acquired by the participants. At the end of the training, the participants acquired a sound knowledge of the detection equipment needed during search operations and how to properly use it. Furthermore, the training focused on the importance of intelligence information in supporting the identification of those involved in illicit trafficking of radiological and nuclear material.
“After months of intense preparations, I am happy to see the successful outcome of the CONTACT National training that was held this week in Amman. The National Centre for Security and Crisis Management is pleased to have led the process of coordination and communication between the relevant ministries and national agencies during the organization of the training. I extend my gratitude to the National Center for Nuclear and Radiological security for hosting the event and to our colleagues in UNICRI for their constant support and guidance throughout the whole process. I would like to also thank the national team of trainers for their commitment, dedication, and hard work,” said Colonel Saleh Al-Sheyyab, CBRN National Focal Point.
Col. Al-Sheyyab added that “The National training represented a good example of coordination between the Jordanian national stakeholders working in the field of nuclear security. I am also glad to see that the training achieved the intended objective of enhancing the knowledge of Jordanian participants about radioactive and nuclear materials subject to potential smuggling operations, and unauthorized use.”
Mr. Francesco Marelli, UNICRI’s Head of Programme, CBRN Risk Mitigation and Security Governance, said: “I commend the outstanding work conducted by the Jordanian Team of Trainers. They have demonstrated great skills in delivering the training to the Jordanian trainees.”
The CONTACT – Middle East project is aimed at enhancing capacities of state security, law enforcement and nuclear regulatory authority officials of Iraq, Lebanon and Jordan to carry out intelligence and law enforcement operations aimed at thwarting RN trafficking attempts. The project is generously funded by Global Affairs Canada’s Weapons Threat Reduction Bureau.
“Canada values our excellent partnership with both UNICRI and Jordan on combatting the illicit trafficking of nuclear and radiological material in the Middle East. The success of this national training exercise is a great example of this partnership and will enhance national and regional capabilities by equipping Jordanian participants with the knowledge and abilities to effectively manage intelligence operations to counter nuclear smuggling”, said Ms. Julia Gibson, Project Leader at the Weapons Threat Reduction Bureau – Global Affairs Canada.
CONTACT is the first project in the Middle East that focuses on intelligence operations to counter the illicit trafficking of RN material. Previous international projects have concentrated efforts on the provision and use of radiation detection equipment to identify illicit trafficking. However, the “human factor” is of equal importance, as demonstrated by the fact that the majority of successful seizures of radiological and nuclear material is attributable to soundly planned and executed intelligence operations. With the CONTACT project, UNICRI is working with countries in the Middle East to share good practices and reinforce capabilities to effectively and carefully plan intelligence and law enforcement operations as well as to promote the exchange of information at the national, regional and international levels.