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International course on Nuclear Safeguards and non-Proliferation

The course aims at giving the students an insight into proliferation aspects of the nuclear fuel cycle and stimulates their interest in nuclear safeguards.

The course identifies proliferation-sensitive installations and the efforts to hinder the use of nuclear material and nuclear technology for manufacturing military nuclear devices.


The course presents the system for preventing proliferation of nuclear materials. It includes nuclear safeguards principles, nuclear safeguards technology and inspection methodologies including export control. It addresses both the global and regional nuclear non-proliferation systems, based on the Treaty on Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT), EURATOM or ABACC (Brazilian-Argentine Agency for Accounting and Control of Nuclear Materials).

The course deals in particular with technical aspects and application of safeguards. It teaches how to implement the safeguards principles and methodologies within various nuclear facilities. It provides an overview of inspection techniques, ranging from neutron/gamma radiation detections, design information verification, to environmental sampling.  Some major technical means and inspection tools are highlighted through examples.

More detailed information on the scope can be found in the generic course content.


The evolution of the Non Proliferation Treaty —regime, safeguards, international control regimes in theory and practice, and present trends in the nuclear non-proliferation efforts.

What is safeguarded

Definition of nuclear material that is subject to nuclear safeguards and related safeguards goals (significant quantity, timeliness and detection probabilities).

Where is it found

Description of the nuclear fuel cycle from mining to final repository, focussing on enrichment in the front-end and reprocessing in the back-end.

Which legal protection means exist

Overview on international and regional Non-Proliferation Treaties and established Institutions and Organisations.

What is the methodology to verify

Nuclear material accountancy principles and statistics of auditing.

How are inspections performed

Overview on inspector tools and their use to verify the nuclear activities as declared under the safeguards agreements (Non Destructive Assay, Monitoring, Containment / Surveillance); additional safeguards measures under the Additional Protocol (complementary access, satellite imagery, environmental sampling) and how they are applied in field (storage facility, process facility, enrichment facility, research institute, spent fuel transfer).

How to control Import / Export

Guidelines of the Nuclear Suppliers Group, trigger list and dual-use list. Means to combat illicit trafficking, inclusive nuclear forensics.

What additional information is available

Collection of open source data and demonstration of some case studies (Iraq, 1993).


Course organisation:

The course takes place annually in JRC Ispra (Italy) either end of March or beginning of April.

The course features a full five-day program with 1h lectures by experts in the field of nuclear safeguards, visit to five safeguards laboratories and classroom exercises.

The course materials, consisting of a syllabus, a complete set of presentations and literatures, are provided to the participants. The students are advised to prepare themselves in advance reading the documents available on the course website.


The course is organized by the EC Joint Research Centre in collaboration with the European Safeguards Research an Development Association (ESARDA). The course is recognized by the European Nuclear higher Education Network (ENEN) as a standard component of a Master of Science in engineering programme.

Target groups:

The course aims at complementing nuclear engineering studies by including nuclear safeguards in the academic curriculum. It is open to master's degree students but also to young professionals and International Relations/ law students interested in nuclear safeguards related issues. 

Course language:


Fees and charges:

There is no course fee; lunches are offered free of charge. University students can request support for accommodation and the local transport. However, a limited number of places per university are available. Travel costs are not reimbursed by the organiser.

Other requirements/suggestions:

All participants are encouraged to make an essay on a given topic selected from the list, which is handed out at the end of the course. 1-2 best essays can be published in the ESARDA Scientific Journal or presented in the poster session in an ESARDA Symposium, which is organised every two years.


For further information: ABBAS Kamel (JRC-ISPRA),