On 25 – 27 January, EUBAM organized a practical exercise to enhance the response of Ukrainian border guard and customs officers to a threat of radioactive materials smuggling. Together with European experts, specialists of the Ukrainian State Border Guard Service, State Customs Service as well as Ukrainian national agencies and bodies involved in nuclear regulation built up their operational capacities to detect and interrupt the hazardous radiological materials trafficking. Representatives from the Moldovan Border Police, Customs Service and National Agency on Regulating the Nuclear Activities also took part in the exercise providing their insights as observers.
Operational phase of the exercise was held at the Kuchurhan-Pervomaisc international border crossing point. Following the elaborated three-stage scenario, the Ukrainian specialists demonstrated their expertise in handling radiological threats. The participants successfully detected radioactive materials when they were “smuggled” both in and out of the territory of Ukraine by various types of transport. Throughout all exercise stages, EUBAM experts shared best European practices that will enhance both detection and post-detection procedures of its Partner Services. Moreover, as a result of the exercise, the participants were able to outline legislative gaps, which when amended, would streamline better interagency cooperation in nuclear and radiological safety.
Commenting on the practical exercise results, Slawomir Pichor, Head of the European Union Border Assistance Mission to Moldova and Ukraine, stated: “Given the danger posed by nuclear materials, it is of the greatest importance for EUBAM to continuously enhance the strategic and operational response of our Partner Services to such threats. Exercises, like this one, not only provide an excellent training ground but also indicate a room for improvement, which, I trust, would be addressed. As for the exercise itself, it was fruitful in many aspects, but most importantly I would like to highlight a good level of coordination between national stakeholders involved in nuclear security.”