Global Leaders Convene in Vienna for ICONS 2024 to Shape the Future of Nuclear Security

by nuclearafrica

The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) host the highly anticipated International Conference on Nuclear Security: Shaping the Future (ICONS 2024) from today May 20-24. The event gathered over 2,000 ministers, high-ranking officials, experts, and delegates from around the world to discuss and strengthen global nuclear security in the face of evolving risks and emerging technologies.”Nuclear security extends beyond the prevention of nuclear terrorism. It is crucial for providing clean energy, advancing medical treatments, ensuring nutritious food, and fostering hope for a better future,” said IAEA Director General Rafael Mariano Grossi. “The IAEA facilitates global collaboration to maintain these essential services.”As the world’s only international conference on nuclear security with both ministerial and scientific components, ICONS 2024 offers a unique forum for dialogue on the future of nuclear security. The event will provide opportunities for information exchange, sharing best practices, and fostering international cooperation.

Key Features of ICONS 2024

The conference will feature two main segments. The first is a two-day ministerial segment, including national statements, interactive sessions, and high-level policy discussions. Concurrently, a four-day scientific and technical program will commence on the second day, featuring daily plenary panels, high-level policy discussions, and parallel technical sessions.Tim Watts, Assistant Minister for Foreign Affairs of Australia and ICONS Co-President, emphasized the urgency of a robust and sustainable nuclear security system. “ICONS 2024, co-chaired by Australia and Kazakhstan, will unite ministers, policymakers, and technical and legal experts to renew and strengthen collective nuclear security commitments,” he said. “I’m excited to see countries collaborate to advance the nuclear security agenda and tackle future challenges.”

Diverse Topics and Record Participation

ICONS 2024 promises a comprehensive program addressing a wide range of nuclear security topics. Experts will discuss regulations for small modular reactors, the role of nuclear forensics, the implications of artificial intelligence, cybersecurity for sensitive infrastructure, and strategies for managing nuclear security events.With over 700 abstracts submitted, the conference will explore four key thematic areas: policy, technology, capacity building, and cross-cutting nuclear security topics, including communication and the safety-security interface. Media access will be granted for the ministerial segment and all plenary sessions, with live video streaming available.Sungat Yessimkhanov, Vice-Minister of Energy of Kazakhstan, highlighted the conference’s significance. “ICONS 2024 is crucial for the global nuclear security community, especially given contemporary challenges like climate change and global pandemics. Innovations in artificial intelligence and advanced computing present new opportunities to enhance nuclear security regimes,” he said.

Engaging Events and Initiatives

The program features 52 technical sessions, a ministerial plenary panel on nuclear security and Sustainable Development Goals, a scenario-based policy session, and four technical plenary sessions. Additionally, 45 side events organized by member states, international organizations, and working groups will complement the main program.A notable highlight is the inaugural “Nuclear Security Delegation for the Future,” where 24 selected delegates from over 200 applicants will present their deliberations. Moreover, the ICONS 2024 Photography Contest, “Nuclear Security Through the Lens,” aims to raise awareness and engage a broad audience, with eight finalists showcasing their work and perspectives on nuclear security.

Continuing a Tradition of Excellence

ICONS 2024 marks the fourth installment in this significant series, with previous conferences held in 2013, 2016, and 2020. The event is supported by funding from several nations, including Australia, Canada, South Korea, Pakistan, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom.As global leaders converge in Vienna, ICONS 2024 stands as a testament to international commitment and collaboration in safeguarding our future through enhanced nuclear security.

opening Ceremony

In his opening remark, the Director General of the IAEA, Rafael Mariano Grossi – emphasised the importance of Nuclear Security globally and called for global efforts to address the threats faced by the world.

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