Waste Technology Section

IAEA's Assistance on Disused Sealed Source Management

The IAEA provides assistance to Member States to build their own capacity to manage disused sealed radioactive sources (DSRS) by transferring technologies and know-how through staff training, expert advice and procurement of designs and equipment. In case of urgency and/or lack of adequate local infrastructure and human resources, the IAEA also provides direct assistance by sending qualified expert teams and mobile eqipment to the country and solves the actual problems. Some examples of both capacity building and direct assistance are shown below.

Building Capacity in Member States to Manage DSRS

To establish or upgrade Member State’s capacity to manage DSRS, the IAEA provides generic designs for source conditioning/storage facilities. The designs can be modified to meet the specific needs of the Member State.

The IAEA also offers staff training and technical procedures for handling, conditioning and storage of DSRS.

Direct Assistance

The IAEA provides direct assistance to Member States for the recovery, characterization, conditioning and transportation of high activity sources. The assistance can also include conditioning of sources into a long term storage container. After conditioning, the sources or devices could be placed in a secure national storage facility in the country, repatriated to the country of origin or sent to another country for recycling.

As an example, a mobile hot cell and a long term storage shield have been developed for handling and conditioning of high activity DSRS in countries and sites lacking relevant infrastructure. These tools have worked very effectively as shown in recent deployments in Member States.

Slideshows illustrating conditioning of high activity DSRS

Using a mobile hot cell and long term
storage shield for conditioning and
long term storage of high activity DSRS
(12 slides, 2009)
Recovery, packaging and repatriation
of a disused teletherapy source
(4 slides, 2011)

The IAEA advises and assists Member States in the safe management and conditioning disused Radium-226 sources. Since the conditioning program has been so successful in Member States, the conditioning of national inventories of radium sources is almost completed. The emphasis is now shifting to the conditioning of other low activity sources such as industrial gauges and medical equipment.

A slideshow illustrating conditioning of low activity DSRS:

Encapsulation, packaging, and
conditioning of radium for long
term storage
(8 slides, 2011)
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