Abstract Under the Atomic Energy Licensing Act 1984, Atomic Energy Licensing Board (AELB) is the nuclear regulatory authority in Malaysia that ensures the safe and peaceful use of nuclear technology. One of AELB’s key functions is to perform obligations arising from conventions or treaties relating to nuclear matters or atomic energy to which Malaysia is a party to; hence obligations under the Comprehensive Safeguards Agreement (CSA) signed by Malaysia with the IAEA in 1972 falls under the responsibility of AELB. To effectively carry out its function of maintaining the State System of Accounting for and Control of Nuclear Material (SSAC) in Malaysia, AELB needs to develop and sustain qualified and competent staff. Currently AELB does not have a formal certification programme for inspectors in safeguards. New officers responsible for safeguards implementation in AELB are given basic training through classroom lectures and on the job training by senior officers at Safeguards Section, Nuclear Installation Division. IAEA SSAC training courses are the main source of training platform for AELB officers in safeguards. With the aim of developing a self-sustaining training programme for inspectors in safeguards, AELB has been cooperating with NNSA-USDOE under the International Nuclear Safeguards Engagement Program (INSEP) in organising training courses tailored for national inspectors in Malaysia. Two such workshops were held in 2015 and 2017 which involved expert trainers from IAEA and USDOE. These workshops covered all phases in an inspection from planning to report writing which were given through lectures and hands on exercises; a mock safeguards inspection exercise was conducted during the workshops to allow the participants to apply what they have learnt immediately. With lessons learnt from the workshops, AELB is working towards developing a more structured training module in safeguards inspection that will include the fundamental concepts in safeguards and common inspection techniques.
Atomic Energy Licensing Board (AELB) was established in 1 February 1985 under Section 3, the Atomic Energy Licensing Act 1984 . It consists of a Board that has one chairman and four members, they are appointed by the Minister responsible for matters under the Atomic Energy Licensing Act 1984. The Director General of AELB serves as the executive secretary to the Board of AELB. The Board has five main functions in which two of those functions are related to exercising and supervising over the production, application and use of atomic energy in Malaysia and also to perform and fulfil where directed by the Government of Malaysia, obligations arising from agreements, conventions or treaties relating to nuclear matters or atomic energy to which Malaysia is a party where such agreements, conventions or treaties relate to the purpose of the Atomic Energy Licensing Act 1984.
Malaysia concluded the Comprehensive Safeguards Agreement with the International Atomic Energy Agency IAEA on 29 February 1972. The Director General of AELB is tasked by the Board to ensure that obligations arising from this agreement are fulfilled and to maintain the State System of Accounting for and Control of Nuclear Material (SSAC) in Malaysia. There are six divisions under the Director General of AELB, each division is headed by a Director; the Nuclear Installation Division is responsible for ensuring regulatory compliance with regard to safety, security and safeguards aspects of nuclear material and nuclear facilities.
HUMAN RESOURCE DEVELOPMENT (HRD) POLICY
The Human Resource Development policy for AELB  was formulated in line with the Public Sector Human Resource Training Policy . Both policies emphasise on providing qualified, able and competent workforce, they also stress the need for the personnel to have the right attitude, knowledge and skills to carry out their respective duties. The HRD policy for AELB has six objectives:
The HRD Section, Policy and External Affairs Division is responsible for the coordination of the training operation plan within AELB. The HRD Panel Meeting is held regularly in AELB to discuss HRD matters and to decide on candidates for local or overseas training.
1.2. SAFEGUARDS TRAINING FOR INSPECTORS
The Safeguards Section, Nuclear Installation Division is responsible for safeguards implementation in Malaysia. It consists of one Section Head and two Science Officers, the minimum academic qualification to become a Science Officer in AELB is a degree in science. Currently AELB does not have a formal certification programme for inspectors in safeguards. New officers responsible for safeguards implementation in AELB are given basic training through classroom lectures and on the job training by senior officers at Safeguards Section, Nuclear Installation Division. IAEA SSAC training courses are the main source of training platform for AELB officers in safeguards. A number of AELB officers have attended training courses organised by IAEA, Japan Atomic Energy Agency/Integrated Support Centre for Nuclear Nonproliferation and Nuclear Security (JAEA/ISCN) and Korea Institute of Nuclear Nonproliferation and Control/International Nuclear Security Academy (KINAC/INSA). On the job training is implemented through annual inspections at Reaktor TRIGA PUSPATI (RTP) Research Reactor operated by Malaysian Nuclear Agency.
3.1 Domestic inspection workshops
With the aim of developing a self-sustaining training programme for inspectors in safeguards, AELB has been cooperating with National Nuclear Security Administration, US Department of Energy (NNSA-USDOE) under the International Nuclear Safeguards Engagement Program (INSEP) in organising training courses tailored for national inspectors in Malaysia. Two such workshops were held in 2015 and 2017 which involved expert trainers from IAEA and USDOE.
The first of these workshops is the Fundamentals of Domestic Inspections held from 3 – 7 August 2015 in AELB. Sixteen participants from AELB and Malaysian Nuclear Agency joined this workshop. In addition, five invited expert trainers from USDOE and IAEA took part in this workshop. The goal of this workshop is to introduce the fundamental concepts for conducting domestic inspections, as well as various approaches to the development of inspection programs and the inspection process. During the five-day workshop, participants went through hours of lectures, hands on exercises and a simple mock safeguards inspection exercise, illustrated in Figures 1 and 2. Participants were able to experience various stages in inspection for example inspection planning, inspection techniques, conducting an inspection and report writing.
FIG. 2. Participants observing an active length measurement procedure.
FIG. . Participants observing a nuclear material transfer procedure.
The second workshop: Conduct of Inspection was held from 3 – 7 April 2017 in AELB. There were eleven participants from AELB and Malaysian Nuclear Agency, most of these participants had attended the first workshop. The five expert trainers from the first workshop also returned, thus making the second workshop a kind of reunion for the instructors and students. The goal of this workshop is to demonstrate concepts for conducting effective national inspections and to strengthen the knowledge and skills already acquired during the first workshop. Participants attended classroom lectures that aimed to reinforce their knowledge obtained from the first workshop. Hands on exercises during the second workshop involved document review, physical inventory taking (PIT) and performance testing. In order to facilitate the hands-on exercises during the workshop, NNSA-USDOE sent a Material Balance Area (MBA) kit and training materials to AELB in advance. By using the MBA kit and materials designed for document review exercise, participants were able to get a realistic picture on how to review document and observing PIT during an inspection as shown in Figures 3 and 4.
FIG. 3. Discussion among participants during a document review exercise.
FIG. 4. Participants observing a PIT performed by role players
3.1.1. Lessons learnt from the workshops The two workshops organised in 2015 and 2017 were important in assisting the development of fundamental knowledge and skills in safeguards inspections. Participants from AELB acknowledged that the hands-on exercises were extremely useful and deepened their understanding in safeguards concept. In addition, training materials from both workshops provided excellent reference for AELB officers to develop a suitable inspection programme for safeguards in Malaysia. Lessons and experience gained from both workshops were applied by Inspectors from the Nuclear Installation Division, AELB during the annual inspection on RTP Research Reactor conducted in August 2017. One of the important outcomes from both workshops is the gradual shift in the approach for safeguards inspection by AELB, from pure compliance-based inspections as practised in the past to a combination of performance and compliance-based inspection.
With lessons learnt from the workshops, AELB is working towards developing a more structured training module in safeguards inspection that will include the fundamental concepts in safeguards and common inspection techniques. This proposed module may be further developed into a certification programme for safeguards inspectors. AELB also plans to revise inspection procedures to reflect the current needs and changes in safeguards inspections.