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Argentina, IAEA Review Work on Radiation Safety

IAEA Deputy Director General Juan Carlos Lentijo (left) and Nestor Alejandro Masriera, President of the Board of Directors of Argentina's Nuclear Regulatory Authority (right) at a meeting reviewing the interim results of the IAEA’s support to work done in Argentina to bolster the country’s nuclear regulatory framework in two areas. (Photo: F. Nassif/IAEA)

Officials from the IAEA and Argentina’s Nuclear Regulatory Authority reviewed the interim results of the IAEA’s support to work done in Argentina to bolster the country’s nuclear regulatory framework in two areas:

  • Establishing radiation protection criteria and regulatory guidance on radiological protection in radiotherapy, addressing in particular the potential increase in the risk of secondary cancers and
  • Developing criteria for the regulation of radionuclide concentrations in food and non-food commodities in non-emergency situations.

“The work identifies some key issues in the area of radiation safety and monitoring and summarize considerations on potential regulatory actions,” said Juan Carlos Lentijo, IAEA Deputy Director General and Head of the Department of Nuclear Safety and Security.

Ambassador Rafael Mariano Grossi of Argentina said: “We hope that the scientific papers will prove useful to the members of the Agency and the international community as a whole. We are very proud of the results of the analysis that Argentinean scientists and experts have carried out.”

Patient protection

The proposal for enhancing radiation protection in radiotherapy is centred on two main concepts: unwanted radiation exposure in radiotherapy and prospective increase of primary malignancies attributable to radiotherapy. Improvements in cancer treatment in general and in radiotherapy in particular have increased the life expectancy of many cancer patients in Argentina. As patients now live longer, delayed side effects of radiotherapy treatment affecting other organs are an increasing concern.

Determining acceptable radionuclide levels

The other proposal discusses the need for standards on acceptable radionuclide levels in food, drinking water and other products. While addressing the needs of Argentina, once finalized, the benchmarks established can also be used by regulators in other countries.