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Nuclear Security at the Summer 2004 Olympic Games

IAEA Press Releases 05-25-04

Vienna, 25 May 2004 | The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) today announced an unprecedented joint action plan to help ensure a high level of nuclear security at the 2004 Olympic Games.

Cooperation between the IAEA, the Greek Atomic Energy Commission and the Greek Olympics Games Security Division to provide expert advice and technical assistance followed a request for assistance from the two Greek authorities to the IAEA last summer.

The action plan is designed to protect facilities and materials, to detect illicit trafficking and malicious use of radioactive materials, and to ensure that emergency response forces are effective and efficient.

Much of the work in Greece has been undertaken in co-operation with some IAEA Member States – with substantial support provided by the United States and France in the fields of equipment, training and technical advice.

The physical protection of the Demokritos nuclear research reactor, in a suburb of Athens, has been upgraded and the security of radioactive sources used at medical and industrial facilities in six Greek cities has been tightened.

Radiation detection equipment has been installed at borders and other entry points into Greece, and mobile detection equipment will be deployed elsewhere. Hand-held radiation monitors are being distributed amongst the thousands of security personnel and customs officials who are involved in the security for the Games. The equipment is being deployed to detect radioactive materials that might be used as a weapon by terrorists in a radiological dispersal device, a so-called "dirty bomb". Detailed information on the steps that have been taken cannot be disclosed for reasons of security.

“There has been good cooperation with the Greek Atomic Energy Commission and with the other international partners in developing and implementing this work” said Mohamed ElBaradei, Director General of the IAEA. “We are collectively striving for a high measure of security and the work being undertaken should enhance the capabilities of the Greek authorities.”

The IAEA from its Vienna headquarters operates a major programme to help its Member States to combat the threat of nuclear terrorism. The IAEA takes a lead role in providing international standards and guidance on both security and related safety issues. And it provides advisory services, training, technical assistance and information support. Since it was established, the IAEA nuclear security programme has provided assistance and support to dozens of States across the globe.

About the IAEA

The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) serves as the world's foremost intergovernmental forum for scientific and technical co-operation in the peaceful use of nuclear technology. Established as an autonomous organization under the United Nations (UN) in 1957, the IAEA carries out programmes to maximize the useful contribution of nuclear technology to society while verifying its peaceful use.