On-Site Inspection Introductory Course kicks off third traninig cycle

Lassina Zerbo, Executive Secretary address course trainees at the IC-3TC course opening

An On-Site Inspection Training Introductory Course (IC-3TC) hosted by Slovakia in October 2016 marked the opening of the third On-Site Inspection (OSI) training cycle. With activities taking place in Zvolen and at Lest Military Centre, the course aimed to provide participants with a solid foundation for acquiring the competencies needed to participate in an on-site inspection and operate in the field.

Building up on the first two OSI training cycles, the objective of the third training cycle  is to add at least 50 surrogate inspectors to the roster and to provide refresher training to the 100 surrogate inspectors on the current roster. The third training cycle  inspector trainees will participate in a series of training courses, exercises and other activities starting in 2016 and lasting for approximately 3½ years. Those who successfully complete the training cycle will be added to the roster of OSI surrogate inspectors.

“On-Site Inspections are a vital component of this verification regime. Upon entry into force, we must be ready to go. That is why we conducted an almost full-scale simulation in Jordan two years ago – IFE14 – and that is why we continue to ensure that new inspectors, such as you, are brought on board. So let me welcome you all to the OSI family.” CTBTO Executive Secretary Lassina Zerbo
Miuklas Turner, Director General, Department of Regulatory Activities and International Relations, Nuclear Regulatory Commission of the Slovak Republic, welcomes trainees during the course opening.

The course was organized in close collaboration with the Government of Slovakia, in particular the Slovak Republic Nuclear Regulatory Authority and is a further example of that country’s  commitment to ending nuclear testing and its readiness to provide  very practical support to achieving this goal. The conclusion of the Agreement on Mutual Cooperation for Training and Exercise Activities related to On-Site Inspections was signed together with Deputy Prime Minister Lajcák in November last year.

“Slovakia is committed to contribute actively to building up the verification regime. We see our particular role through hosting various exercises on our territory. Busy cooperation between Slovakia and the [CTBTO] has started already in 2001 and has since then resulted in a number of exercises and courses being conducted within the territory of our country.”State Secretary of the Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs of the Slovak Republic Lukas Parízek
The course venue shifted to the Lest Military Training Centre at the halfway point and a briefing was delivered on the safety and security rules and guidelines of the centre.

Under the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT), an On-Site Inspection is the final measure to verify compliance with the Treaty and can be launched to establish whether or not a suspicious event was in fact a nuclear explosion. During an OSI, up to 40 experts are deployed to search on the ground for signs of a fresh nuclear explosion, using up to 17 different OSI techniques. Such an Inspection can be requested by any Member State and will be possible once the CTBT enters into force. In anticipation of entry-into-force, the CTBTO maintains a roster of trained on-site inspectors and regularly tests procedures and techniques in field experiments and simulation exercises.

Seventy-four successful candidates representing 46 nominating Member States from all regions participated in IC-3TC, extending the OSI capability both in terms of overall numbers of inspectors and in terms of geographical representation. Twenty-two of the 74 candidates, almost one third, were women reflecting the desire to improve gender balance in CTBTO activities.

The two week training course was carried out in an interactive manner. It made use of multiple pedagogical and training mechanisms to provide trainees with a comprehensive, effective and rewarding hands-on training experience. The methodology included preparatory e-learning modules, brief presentations, quizzes, tabletop exercises, equipment demonstrations, and station rotations. The activities gradually became more specialized as the course progressed and culminated in a two day field training exercise in which participants were able actively to apply their newly acquired expertise. The field training exercise highlighted the particular tasks carried out by an integrated field team in the course of an OSI mission, as well as the potential challenges that might arise.

“I found the interactive exercises (group work, role plays, field exercise) to be a fantastic way of becoming familiar with the Treaty, as well as getting to know the other participants and developing team work and leadership skills.” IC-3TC participant Katie Freeman, UK