WINS FAQs

What is the World Institute for Nuclear Security (WINS)?

We are a non-governmental membership organisation committed to building an international community of Certified Nuclear Security Professionals and Radioactive Source Security Professionals who are demonstrably competent and willing to work together to strengthen the security of nuclear and other radioactive materials. Our headquarters are in Vienna, Austria.

When and why was WINS established?

We were established in September 2008 during the General Conference of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). The objective was to create an international forum where organisations and individuals with accountabilities for nuclear and other radioactive materials could learn, share and promote the implementation of best security practices.

What is WINS’ purpose?

Our primary purpose is to improve the professionalism and competence of all those involved in nuclear security so nuclear and other radioactive materials are not used for terrorist or other criminal purposes. This requires confidence that the management and regulatory systems that support nuclear security are effective against the postulated threats to nuclear materials and facilities, including physical, cyber and insiders, as well as combinations of them. We support this objective by sharing best security practices and advocating for the professional certification of all personnel with responsibilities for nuclear security and radioactive source security.

What kind of services does WINS provide?

WINS hosts numerous workshops, training courses, round tables and webinars in locations around the world. WINS also conducts events remotely as well to ensure full engagement with its members, especially during times when in person events are not possible. All our events are professionally facilitated and use innovative methods that actively engage participants in their own learning.

In 2014, we launched the WINS Academy, which is the world’s first international certification programme for nuclear security management and radioactive source security management. The programme is based on a core philosophy that security is a fundamental aspect of risk management and enhances corporate reputation.

Our Knowledge Centre gives our members access to an extensive collection of information on nuclear security and radioactive source security, including all WINS International Best Practice Guides, Special Reports, marketing materials, strategy papers, webinars, podcasts and videos. Members also gain access to reports and materials from our events.

Our evaluation services give organisations the tools they need to assess the maturity of their security arrangements, measure the effectiveness of their security culture, and identify areas needing improvement.

Who can join WINS?

We welcome both individuals and organisations to apply for membership. Our members come from industry, regulatory bodies, non-profit organisations, academia, law enforcement, government agencies, national laboratories and more. Their roles range from security director and regulator to scientist, safety officer and student. Our members are united by a passion for quality and innovation, a commitment to professional competence and certification, and the knowledge that by working together we can combat the threats and reduce the risks facing nuclear and other radioactive material.

What are the benefits of WINS membership?

Individuals who become WINS members obtain access to innovative, interactive and practical workshops, round tables and web-based seminars that bring professionals together from around the world. They also gain access to the WINS Knowledge Centre, which includes all WINS International Best Practice Guides, videos, webinars and more.

In addition, members receive a brief, informative newsletter each month that keeps them up-to-date about our activities, as well as important news and updates from other nuclear security stakeholders. In addition, members gain the ability to enrol in the WINS Academy. To enrol in the WINS Academy Programme, a learner must be a member of WINS.

Corporate members of WINS also experience specific benefits which are offered by WINS from time to time. With permission, we will display their logo on our website, which is the major way our global network of members interacts with us.

How much does it cost to join WINS?

Membership is free. In addition, we do not charge any fee for attendance at our events.

Is it possible to discuss security arrangements and issues in an international forum without compromising confidential information?

Yes. Our experience in creating WINS Academy modules, Best Practice Guides and workshops has demonstrated that it is possible to share best practices while protecting sensitive information. WINS never acquires, stores or shares sensitive information about our members, and members themselves decide the level of involvement, sharing and participation they wish to contribute to WINS and their fellow members. Furthermore, all members are required to adhere to the WINS Code of Conduct.

What is the WINS Code of Conduct?

The WINS Code of Conduct defines the obligations and responsibilities that WINS members are expected to adhere to. This Code promotes the process of sharing best practices, encourages trust, and helps to avoid the inappropriate disclosure of information that could potentially harm or compromise security arrangements. The Code consists of the following stipulations:

Sensitive or proprietary information exchanged with other WINS members during WINS workshops, training courses, round tables, private communications, website forums and similar activities should be treated as private. No such information should be communicated to others without the prior consent of the individual(s) who shared the information.

Information shared by members should only be used for the purposes for which it was intended.

If sensitive or proprietary information is exchanged, the member providing the information should indicate the content of the material that needs to be protected, the duration of the period of protection, the conditions for permitting access to the material, and the specific handling requirements that are necessary for that material.

Members must not make improper use of information they have obtained.

Members should not use the contact information of other members for commercial or marketing purposes.

Members must not seek or ascribe to WINS responsibility for the views they express or the actions they take unless WINS has expressly authorised them to do so.

Members should act honestly and with integrity in matters pertaining to WINS.

Members should respect WINS’ copyrights and intellectual property rights.

A breach of this Code by any WINS member could render that member liable for exclusion from WINS membership.

What is WINS’ relationship to the IAEA?

WINS is completely independent from the IAEA; however, we strongly support the IAEA’s mission and work closely with them to improve nuclear security.

Our work differs from the IAEA in two important ways. The first is that we focus only on nuclear security, whereas the IAEA focuses on the entire nuclear spectrum—from safeguards and safety to security. The second is that the IAEA focuses on Member States, whereas we focus on industry and other practitioners (e.g. operator/licensee, regulator, transporter, supplier), including the use of radioactive sources in various non-nuclear sectors. By identifying and sharing best practices in nuclear security management and by promoting demonstrable competence, we help our members learn from operational experience and achieve nuclear security excellence. In this way, we play a complementary role to the IAEA.

Who funds WINS?

WINS was established with foundation grants from the Nuclear Threat Initiative, the US Department of Energy, Global Affairs Canada, and the Kingdom of Norway Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade. Since then, many other governments and nongovernmental organisations have provided us with financial support for specific projects.

How is WINS structured?

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

How does WINS ensure the quality of its programmes, policies and overall management?

We are committed to providing the highest quality services to our members and to careful stewardship of the funding that we receive. We also believe that excellence and quality should be determined by external measurements, not simply by self-assessment. This is why we use external auditors (currently Deloitte Austria) to ensure the accuracy and adequacy of our financial management and control and why we value feedback from our members and other stakeholders so highly.

In addition, WINS’ quality management system has been certified compliant to ISO 9001:2015 (and its earlier version ISO 2001:2008) since 2012. (In September 2015 our compliance transitioned to the ISO 9001:2015 standard.) In 2014, WINS’ learning services are certified compliant to ISO 29990:2010, which is an ISO standard that specifies basic requirements for providers of learning services in non-formal education and training. This standard has now been replaced by ISO 29993: 2017 and WINS will transition to the new standard in 2020.

We also run regular surveys of our membership to establish their views on WINS and the services we provide and publish the results each year

We detail all of our operations, annual targets and achievements in our annual reports, which are publicly available on our website.

Does WINS have a political agenda?

No. We are a nonpartisan, independent organisation with just one goal: promoting the effective protection and security of nuclear and other radioactive materials.

Does WINS accept financial donations?

Yes, however restrictions apply. (For further assistance, please email Przemyslaw Michalski.) In the United States, WINS has a status that is equivalent to a 501(c)(3) charity; therefore, any donations made by a US organisation are tax-deductible. This equivalency has been verified by NGOsource.

FAQs about the WINS Academy

Why did we establish the WINS Academy?

Professional certifications earned through accredited testing services are one of the best ways to assess an individual’s level of knowledge, skill and experience. Consequently, the requirement to undergo professional development and certification has long played a crucial role in such professions as law, medicine, insurance and information technology.

Professional societies use certification to benchmark and improve the quality and relevance of a profession, employers seek out credentialed professionals, and government agencies and licensing bodies often mandate certification to practice.

In the nuclear industry, certifications are often required of individuals employed in nuclear safety; until now, however, the same has not been true of nuclear security management. We created the WINS Academy to address this need.

What gives WINS the credibility to establish the Academy?

Since our founding in September 2008, we have established ourselves as a vital contributor in the international effort to implement effective nuclear security practices.

In the process, we have become leaders in the identification and sharing of nuclear security best practices, and tangible improvements to security procedures have already resulted from our efforts. In all of our surveys conducted to date, the vast majority of our members have consistently stated that they have modified their approach to security management because of their interaction with WINS.

How does the WINS Academy programme work?

We have two certification programmes.

  1. Our Certified Nuclear Security Professional (CNSP) programme consists of a Foundation Module plus eight electives. All participants enrol in the Foundation Module plus the elective of their choice. Every module requires approximately 40 hours of self-study and can be completed entirely online. (Participants also receive traditional hardcopy textbooks for each of their courses.) No prior knowledge or prerequisites are required to enrol in the programme except for a working knowledge of English. Some of the modules are also offered in Spanish.

Once participants complete both modules, they sit two exams. Those who successfully pass the examinations for both the Foundation Module and an elective module become WINS CNSPs.

  1. Our Certified Radioactive Source Security Professional (CRSP) programme consists of a single extended module. This certification programme takes approximately 30 hours of self-study and can be completed entirely online.

Once participants have completed the extended module, they sit one exam. Those who successfully pass the examination become WINS Certified Radioactive Source Security Professional.

All of our certification exams are delivered in partnership with Pearson VUE. As the world’s largest testing and assessment provider, Pearson provides over 5,100 accrediting test centres in 180 countries around the world. Learners can also take their examination through the remote proctoring service offered by Pearson Vue, called OnVue. This allows a learner to undertake the proctored examination in their own home or office.

How much does the WINS Academy programme cost?

The CNSP package consists of the Foundation Module and one elective, and currently (May 2020) costs 850 euros. Each module currently costs 425 euros. One complete programme package includes:

  • Online access to the WINS Academy Foundation Module
  • Online access to the WINS Academy elective module of your choice
  • Hardcopy books for both modules
  • Two vouchers for taking the two certification exams at a Pearson test centre of your choice or through on-line remote proctoring

The CRSP programme currently costs 700 euros. This package includes:

  • Online access to the module
  • Hardcopy textbook

A voucher for taking the certification exam at a Pearson test centre of your choice or through online remote proctoring.

Are scholarships available?

Yes, scholarships are available for women as part of the WINS Gender Champions Programme and for selected male participants who come from certain countries and have specific responsibilities for nuclear security or radioactive sources security related to the certification programme. (Note that the selection of eligible participants is entirely at WINS’ discretion and that only WINS members are eligible to apply.)

What are the benefits of WINS certification?

Becoming a CNSP or a CRSP demonstrates your knowledge of nuclear security or radioactive source security, helps prepare you to address professional challenges, and demonstrates your commitment to certified training.

Having the CNSP or CRSP designation will help to distinguish you from your peers. It will give you professional credibility, earn you recognition within the workplace, increase your earning potential, strengthen your job marketability, and give you greater job mobility. Revalidating your CNSP or your CRSP designation will ensure that your knowledge and expertise continue to grow. It will also demonstrate that you have discipline and self-motivation and are dedicated to your profession.

What is the WINS Alumni Network?

All participants who have successfully received their CNSP or CRSP are invited to join the WINS Alumni Network. Those who do so receive their own dashboard page on the WINS website, giving them easy access to all WINS information. This includes their personal information about the modules they have studied and passed, the progress they are making toward recertification, access to the latest news and events, and the complete library of information in the Knowledge Centre. This platform also gives alumni the ability to network with other CNSPs from around the world, contribute their knowledge and expertise to others, and participate in ongoing learning opportunities created especially for them.

What is the WINS Ambassador Programme?

WINS Academy Ambassadors are a group of selected Academy Alumni (both CNSP and CRSP) who have the support of their organisations to promote the WINS Academy Programme within their organisation, their country and their region.

Is recertification required?

Yes. Each certification, whether CNSP or CRSP, requires revalidation every five years.

How can I learn more about the WINS Academy certification programme?

Please see the guidance document for recertification for more information.

If you have questions about the WINS Academy or would like to learn more, please email us at: academy@wins.org.

Other questions?

If you have other questions about WINS that we have not addressed here, please contact us at info@wins.org and we will be pleased to answer them.

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