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Workshop on Insider Threat Mitigation in the Nuclear Sector

Dates to be confirmed Vienna, Austria
Workshop on autonomous and remotely operated systems: Benefits and challenges to nuclear security


Thank you for your interest in this event. Due to on-going COVID-19 health concerns, we decided to postpone the workshop till mid 2022. We will accept applications on a rolling basis and will notify all registrants about the new dates in Q4, 2021.  

Nuclear operators seek to employ personnel who can be trusted with sensitive information, critical technology, and hazardous nuclear and radioactive materials. This requires employees who are honest, dependable and mentally and physically stable. Social backgrounds and external influences, as well as a host of other influential factors, can create undue levels of vulnerability, altering a person’s dependability, moral character, motivations and allegiances. History has repeatedly shown how such changes have catalysed insider threats and weaknesses in nuclear safety and security, sometimes leading to serious consequences.

Past incidents have clearly demonstrated that insiders can take advantage of their access rights and knowledge of a certain facility, as well as their authority over staff, to bypass dedicated security measures. They can also threaten cyber security, safety measures, and material control and accountancy (MC&A). Insiders are likely to have the time to plan their actions; in addition, they may work with others who share their objectives. Employees may sometimes also cause harm unintentionally, particularly in the cyber realm.

States around the world have faced a number of terrorist attacks perpetrated by individuals claiming to having been inspired by, amongst others, religiously oriented groups like the Islamic State (IS) and Al Qaeda, and by right- wing anti-government militias and white supremacist groups. These attacks have led to the death of innocent civilians and shocked society by their indiscriminate violence. Often referred to as violent extremists (VEs), such individuals are often lone actors who might have been radicalised by passively consuming violent extremist material online. They tend to have few, or no, connections to radical groups or individuals in other countries before they engage in solo acts of violence. From the perspective of the nuclear sector, one of the most serious security concerns is that employees could become radicalised—or that already radicalised individuals are hired—and subsequently use their positions of trust and authority to carry out a malicious act.

Nuclear operators, with the support of other stakeholders such as specialised law enforcement agencies, can take concrete actions to protect their materials and facilities from insiders, including violent extremists. For example, they can develop a comprehensive insider threat mitigation strategy that provides the foundation for effective implementation of plans and procedures. This includes implementing specific measures for pre-employment vetting, as well as during-employment behaviour observation and aftercare. Effective insider mitigation programmes should also include measures to reduce the risk of an unwitting insider who unknowingly assists an adversary in performing a malicious act.

Countering the insider threat requires that all individuals within the nuclear organisation play their part, not simply the Security Department. This begins with the commitment of leadership. Both executive and line management must demonstrate their belief that a credible threat exists and that nuclear security is important. They must lead by example. The Human Resources Department also plays a crucial role by creating employment policies, procedures and programmes that support a security-aware culture amongst staff.

Objectives of the Workshop

The event will aim at highlighting insider threats in the nuclear sector, the effectiveness of employee vetting best practices, and the impact of insider threat mitigation programmes that help reduce risks at sensitive nuclear facilities. Specifically, the workshop will identify the motivation, intentions, and capabilities of insiders and assess the impact of the threat on security at nuclear facilities as well as emphasize the use of vetting programs as a best practice to reduce this insider threat. It will finally explore the role of different stakeholders involved in the identification of internal threats and will assess their current contribution to mitigate them.

Expert speakers from the nuclear industry and other critical infrastructures will be invited to share their experiences and lessons learned from implementing security arrangements against insiders and violent extremists. Participants will be encouraged to identify immediate steps that can be taken to strengthen nuclear security programmes and mitigate insider threats in their organisations and countries.

The workshop will build on the discussions held during previous international events run by WINS, such as the workshop on Countering Violent Extremism and the Insider Threat in the Nuclear Sector in London, UK from 03-05 December 2019.

The key objectives of the workshop are:

  • To discuss how the insider threat landscape has evolved in the last few years and to describe the processes leading to radicalisation and violent extremism;
  • To review the process for identifying the motivation, intention and capabilities of insiders and to discuss real life examples and applicable case studies;
  • To Identify and explore the role of different stakeholders involved in the identification and mitigation of insider threats with specific reference to the nuclear sector.
  • To review the key components of insider mitigation programmes, with a focus on human reliability and employee satisfaction programmes
  • To identify methodologies and metrics for measuring the performance of the insider mitigation programme and to share practices for reporting it to Senior Management levels
  • To highlight the importance of involving all departments of an organisation in identifying and responding to all credible threats.
  • To learn from other sectors and to provide participants with the opportunity to network and share experiences and best practices utilised across the nuclear and other industries

Finally, the workshop will also provide an opportunity for participants to learn more about the WINS publications dealing with insider threat mitigation and human reliability.

  • BPG 3.2 on Human Reliability as a factor of nuclear security
  • BPG 3.4 on Managing Internal Threats
  • BPG 3.8 on Countering Violent Extremism and Insider Threats in the Nuclear Sector: Mitigation Strategies

In line with WINS’ innovative approach to best practice workshops, this event will be interactive and professionally facilitated. The workshop will be built around a number of presentations from invited expert speakers, as well as breakout sessions that enable participants to further explore the topic and share their experience and lessons learned. An instant electronic voting system will allow participants to provide their views on questions put to the workshop by anonymously registering their opinions using a keypad. The workshop will be held in English. As with all WINS events, the discussions will be unclassified but subject to Chatham House rules (what was said can be reported, but not attributed).

Targeted Audience

The workshop will target security managers and other security professionals from nuclear operators and regulatory bodies as well as human resources managers, psychologists and other experts in human factors. It will also target senior officers from law enforcement agencies and representatives of international organisations. Academic experts and representatives from other industries will be invited to present their experience and lessons learned.

WINS is promoting gender diversity in its events and female delegates are highly encouraged to apply this workshop. Participation will be limited to 50 individuals.

Application Process

CRDF Global will support WINS with the application and logistical processes. Application will only be accepted through the CRDF Global registration page.

CRDF Global will inform applicants who have been selected.

Attendees will be expected to meet their own costs for travel and accommodation. No registration fee is required. Please note that CRDF Global is in a position to cover travel and accommodation cost for some selected individuals. Participants will be responsible for obtaining a visa for travelling to Austria.


The workshop will be conducted in Vienna, Austria.

Contact Information (WINS):

If you need more information, please contact: Ms. Mehri Avlyakulova Administrative Assistant World Institute for Nuclear Security mehri.avlyakulova@wins.org

Contact Information

Pierre Legoux   Pierre Legoux
Head of Programmes
+43 1710651912

Mehri Avlyakulova   Mehri Avlyakulova
Administrative Assistant
+43 6763958136