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FAQsFrequently asked questions about WINS’ policies, activities and membership

Following are answers to some frequently asked questions about WINS’ policies, activities and membership.

Establishing WINS

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WINS was established to provide an international forum where organisations and individuals who are accountable for nuclear security can learn, share and promote the implementation of Best Security Practices.

WINS Vision:

All nuclear and other radiological materials and facilities are effectively secured by demonstrably competent professionals applying best practice to achieve operational excellence.

WINS Mission:

To be the leader in professional development and certification for nuclear security management.

Nuclear and radiological materials provide a vital contribution to modern society, from meeting energy demands and addressing sustainable climate change to advancing modern medicine and providing economic wellbeing, to name a few. Any misuse of nuclear and radiological materials anywhere can limit these roles and cause psychological, economical and societal harms. Thus, WINS seeks to collaborate with stakeholders to strengthen the security of nuclear and radiological sources to help ensure the peaceful use of nuclear technology and the security of materials worldwide.

The security of nuclear and radiological materials is greatly increased when Nuclear Security Leaders can learn, discuss and share Best Practices with each other. As the only membership organisation in the world dedicated to Nuclear Security Leadership, WINS provides its members with this opportunity by offering expertise through a library of best practices created by industry insiders. We provide training and qualifications for people who will have responsibilities for the management of nuclear security and by arranging workshops, seminars and evaluations that allow nuclear security personnel to work together towards a common goal of Nuclear Security Excellence.

WINS was established with foundation grants from the Nuclear Threat Initiative, the U.S. Department of Energy and the Norwegian Royal Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade. Additional governments and various organisations have provided financial support for specific projects such as WINS’ workshops or for corporate development. These include:

  • British Foreign & Commonwealth Office
  • British Department of Energy and Climate Change
  • Bruce Power
  • Cameco Corporation
  • Carnegie Corporation of New York
  • Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs
  • Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada
  • GE Foundation
  • Japan Atomic Energy Agency
  • Johns Hopkins University
  • Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory
  • Los Alamos National Laboratory
  • MacArthur Foundation
  • New Zealand Foreign Affairs & Trade
  • Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs
  • Nuclear Threat Initiative
  • Pacific Northwest National Laboratory
  • URENCO Enrichment Company
  • US Department of Defense
  • US Department of Energy / National Nuclear Security Administration
  • US Department of State / Partnership For Nuclear Security

WINS has a Board of Directors that provides strategic direction and corporate governance. We are led by an Executive Director, who is supported by a small staff chosen for their experience.

We currently have 10+ full-time staff, plus an internship programme. We are also supported by specialist consultants, who are either contracted by WINS, or seconded to WINS as cost-free experts by their home organisation. More information on WINS staff can be found in the staff section of this website.

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Each of the following questions is a link. Clicking on a particular question will open up its answer.

The principles behind the management of WINS are governed solely by policies that contribute to its success and the achievement of its mission. The WINS Board of Directors is responsible for providing strategic guidance and oversight.

WINS is an ISO 9001:2008 Standards certified organisation and abide by the WINS’ Quality Management System (QMS).

By identifying and sharing best practices in nuclear security management and by promoting demonstrable competence, WINS helps practitioners and other nuclear security stakeholders learn from operational experience and achieve nuclear security excellence. In this way, we play a complementary role to the IAEA.

WINS promotes the objectives of the IAEA Nuclear Security Plan and whenever possible actively contributes to its implementation by helping  to bridge the gap between national and international undertakings in nuclear security and in the practical implementation of security measures. WINS’ publications (i.e. Academy Modules, Best Practice Guides, workshop transcripts, white papers and more) foster awareness of, and adherence to, the IAEA’s key messages. Wherever possible, our publications use the same terminology as that found in the Nuclear Security Series (NSS).

In fact, we play the role of observer in the IAEA Nuclear Security Guidance Committee (NSGC), which is composed of representatives from each IAEA Member State. NSGC’s  purpose is to oversee the publication and review of all Nuclear Security Series publications.

WINS attends the annual IAEA General Conference (as an observer), as well as in many other IAEA conferences, where our staff often deliver papers and participate in discussion panels. We are also an active member of the IAEA International Nuclear Security Education Network (INSEN) and of the IAEA International Network for Nuclear Security Training and Support Centres (NSSC). Furthermore, we participate in Information Exchange meetings organised by the IAEA Division of Nuclear Security, and we actively contribute to the IAEA Nuclear Security Information (NUSEC) portal.

In turn, IAEA representatives regularly attend WINS workshops and roundtables, where they make presentations on their activities and achievements. WINS also holds regular meetings with IAEA management and staff—especially those from the Nuclear Security Division—to share our respective work programmes and discuss concrete actions we can take together to foster cooperation.

No. WINS is a nonpartisan, independent organisation with one goal: helping to secure nuclear and radioactive materials. WINS is transparent in all of its operations, which are detailed in its publicly-available Annual Reports.

No. WINS was established as a legal entity that is separate from any other nuclear-related advocacy organisation. Our only role is to advocate for Best Security Practices at facilities with nuclear and radioactive materials.

No. Our only policy position on fuel cycle choices is to observe that international custom requires higher standards of security on direct-use materials, such as separated plutonium and highly-enriched uranium.

WANO’s mission is to promote best practices for Nuclear Safety. WINS’ mission is to promote best practices for Nuclear Security. WINS’ and WANO’s collaboration is part of a mutual effort to integrate nuclear safety and security.

Yes, however restrictions apply. Donations to WINS from only US-based corporate and private donors are recognised as 501(c)(3) charity and therefore tax-deductible.

WINS is not registered in the US because we are an Austrian-based organisation. However, we are eligible to receive grants from NGO source/techsoup (, which is an intermediary grant-making organisation registered as a 501(c)(3) public charity in the US. Therefore, any donations made to NGO source/techsoup with WINS as the grant recipient is qualified as a tax-deductible donation for US donors.

Please note that WINS eligibility period is from October 2015 to October 2017, so any donations made outside of this time period are not applicable for tax-deduction.

Please click here to find out whether or not you are eligible to receive tax-deductions on your donation to WINS. For further assistance, please email or call +43 1 23060 6081.

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Each of the following questions is a link. Clicking on a particular question will open up its answer.

We provide a forum in which our members can learn, share and promote the implementation of Best Security Practices. Our major emphasis in our first 3-year development phase has been on producing a variety of Best Practice Guides on important topics relevant to Nuclear Security. To date, over 30 Guides have been published in 10 different languages.

We also facilitate workshops around the world that focus on the topics covered in the Guides, as well as Roundtables that focus on specific issues.

As we enter our second 3-year development phase, we are working to establish the WINS Academy, whose mission is to provide world-class, accredited, competency-based training materials for managers with nuclear security responsibilities.

Because we are a dynamic organisation that adjusts to the needs of its members, we may expand our scope of activities in the future—as the need arises and if such activities fit our mission.

Our Best Practice Guides provide practical, hands-on information for Nuclear Security Managers that covers a wide range of topics. Examples include:

  • An Integrated Approach to Nuclear Safety and Nuclear Security
  • Nuclear Security Culture
  • Communicating Nuclear Security Information
  • Performance Metrics
  • Managing Internal Threats
  • Security by Design
  • Nuclear Security Guard Force Training and Motivation
  • Security Equipment Maintenance

Many of our workshops are intended for an international audience. However, we are also happy to customise our workshops to meet the needs of a single country or region.

Because we are responsive to the needs of our members, we welcome their feedback and suggestions and will do the best we can to accommodate their specific areas of interest.

We measure success in a variety of ways. The most important is how many benefits our members derive from being part of our organisation. We create a detailed strategic plan annually, along with specific goals and milestones, that enable us to measure our performance. We publish the results in our Annual Report.

Because we promote best security practice, we never take any actions that could undermine the security of nuclear material. Our experience in creating Best Practice Guides and workshops has demonstrated that it is possible to share best practices while protecting sensitive information. The appendices in the Guides enable individuals and organisations to assess themselves in private; details are never shared with WINS and members at large. Nor do we ever store or access sensitive or classified information.

Comparing best practices could lead to the identification of poor practices, but it is not WINS’ responsibility to notify the relevant authorities or to enforce security standards. WINS’ role is to work with its members to promote and encourage improvements, but accountabilities for performance do not rest with us. If we were to be alerted to the possibility of an attack on a facility, however, we would obviously take action to alert those with a responsibility for taking preventative measures.

No. We do not view detailed, sensitive databases as the most effective method by which we can benefit our members. Our emphasis is on workshops and other events that enable our members to interact with each other and discuss subjects of benefit to them. We protect all member information in accordance with our own stringent data handling policies and the requirements of members that contribute information to WINS.

We are happy to consider proposals from members who would like us to attend a technical meeting at their facility or to conduct a benchmarking exercise, but we never do so without an invitation.

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Each of the following questions is a link. Clicking on a particular question will open up its answer.

Individuals can apply for membership online by clicking here. Organisations should write a letter of application on letterhead stationery and address their application to Dr. Roger Howsley.

No. Only organisations and individuals with a demonstrable involvement in the security of nuclear and radioactive materials can become members. Although membership is free, members are expected to support WINS’ mission by actively contributing their knowledge and experience to the development of our Best Practice Guides and by participating in our workshops and programmes.

Join WINS and become a Member today.

Members receive priority access to WINS Best Practice Guides and invitations to workshops on Nuclear Security Best Practices. Those who find it financially difficult to attend workshops may be able to receive financial support in certain situations.

Yes. WINS encourages dialogue between different stakeholders and believes that national regulators not only want to promote best practice, but that they have much to contribute to other members.

No. Members decide for themselves the level of involvement, sharing and participation they wish to contribute to WINS and their fellow members.

This is an important issue, particularly in the context of workshops and the exchange of information and knowledge. WINS translates its Best Practice Guides into Arabic, Chinese, French, German, Japanese, Korean, Portuguese, Russian and Spanish. Although workshops are mainly held in English, interpretation may be provided. This depends on the needs of workshop participants, the location of the workshop, and the availability of funds.