NSSPI helps lead workshop on nuclear security design vulnerability assessment in India

February 14, 2019
| By: Kelley Ragusa

From Jan. 29 through Feb. 1, the Center for Nuclear Security Science and Policy Initiatives (NSSPI) of the Texas A&M Engineering Experiment Station at Texas A&M University collaborated with Amity University in India, Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) and the U.S. Defense Threat Reduction Agency to conduct a nuclear security workshop on the topic of nuclear security design vulnerability assessments and battle board table top exercise for Indian academics. 

The workshop was hosted by Amity University at their campus in Noida, which is in the Uttar Pradesh region near New Delhi. Fifty-five students, technical staff and faculty members from nine different universities and academic institutions, one non-governmental organization and two governmental institutes across India participated in the workshop. NSSPI and ORNL developed the instructional materials and provided the instructors, which included Dr. Sunil Chirayath, NSSPI director and associate professor in the Department of Nuclear Engineering, and Dr. Evans Kitcher, NSSPI assistant research engineer.

The objective of the workshop was to provide training to Indian university faculty, students and nuclear professionals in the area of comprehensive nuclear security system design, as well as how to perform vulnerability assessments and do hands-on tabletop exercises. After familiarizing the participants with the basic concepts involved in physical protection systems, nuclear security design vulnerability assessment and the calculation of nuclear security risk, the instructors led two different interactive tabletop exercises. 

The first exercise focused on vulnerability assessment, including the creation of an adversary sequence diagram to compute the probability of interruption and probability of neutralization for a typical nuclear research reactor. The second, a battle board exercise, demonstrated physical protection system operations through a turn-based simulation similar to a combat-oriented board game. Both exercises gave the participants practical experience with applying nuclear security vulnerability assessment in a realistic situation.

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