Second UN-NYG Field Trip to IAEA Seibersdorf Laboratories

On Friday 16 February 2018, 21 UN-NYG members from the IAEA and UN visited the IAEA Seibersdorf Laboratories located 35 kilometers southeast of Vienna. The UN-NYG group visited labs operated by the Department of Safeguards and the Department of Nuclear Sciences and Applications to gain insights on a range of subject areas including safeguards, pest control and disease prevention technologies, and cancer radiation treatment activities.

This was the second tour of the Seibersdorf Laboratories organised by UN-NYG and equally successful to the first. It consisted of a visit to the Insect and Pest Control Lab (IPCL), the Dosimetry Lab (DOL), and the Environmental Sample Lab (ESL). The IPCL and DOL labs have been described in detail here. The Environmental Sample Lab illustrated to the UN-NYG group how dust from cotton swipe samples taken by IAEA inspectors at nuclear facilities can be analysed to discern the presence of select uranium and plutonium isotopes of interest to safeguards analysts. Participants in the tour became more cognisant of the breadth of the IAEA’s work in tandem with Member States on subject areas such as food preservation, cancer equipment calibration and the role of particle sampling and analysis to draw safeguards conclusions of the non-diversion of nuclear material from peaceful activities.

Ms. Julia Vera Araujo, President of the Vienna International Center Intern’s Organisation (VIO) and a participant of the UN-NYG organized event commented: “This tour was highly informative and interactive regarding nuclear application technologies and work done at the IAEA labs. It is always interesting how science keeps brightening us with new solutions to existing problems that undermine people’s quality of life. As we saw today at the IPCL lab, the techniques employed help reduce food waste amongst farmers, and in the dosimetry lab, it ameliorates health standards in developing countries by improving radioactive dose precision in cancer related treatments. These tours offer a valuable opportunity to share among our staff and promote the multitude of applications that nuclear technology has. I am content that UN-NYG organized this field trip and we should keep encouraging these types of initiatives for other areas in Seibersdorf.” Furthermore, Ms Jordan Arnswald, Associate Emergency Preparedness Officer at the IAEA added: “The tour of the Seibersdorf Laboratory was a great learning experience and opportunity to learn about the different work that the IAEA does. I truly believe that I can do my job better if I understand the agency as a whole and this tour allowed us to see some of the work going on in the nuclear application field. Being able to actually see the work being done with insect pest control was a very interesting and unique chance to interact with the experts in this field and ask questions.”

If you would like to read more on the Seibersdorf Laboratories, please click here.

Article written by
Babatunde Adigun
UN-NYG Program Manager