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Enhancing Regulatory Infrastructure for Radiation Safety and Security of Radioactive Material: New IAEA Service


A new IAEA service has been launched to support countries in developing their regulatory infrastructure for the safety of radiation sources and the security of radioactive material used in fields ranging from medical and industry to food and agriculture. The IAEA Advisory Mission on Regulatory Infrastructure for Radiation Safety and Nuclear Security (RISS) is specifically designed to provide countries with recommendations on how to establish or strengthen their national regulatory infrastructure based on the IAEA safety standards and the IAEA nuclear security guidance.

“RISS is a new service as it combines radiation safety and nuclear security in a comprehensive manner for the first time,” said Hilaire Mansoux, Head of the IAEA Regulatory Infrastructure and Transport Safety Section. “RISS has built on the successes and lessons learned from previous IAEA advisory services covering related fields for many years, to better address the needs of the countries and to increase the effectiveness and efficiency of the methodology.” Since its launch earlier this year, two RISS missions have already been completed, and the IAEA is preparing to carry out eight more missions in 2022 and 2023.

A RISS mission, supported by a team of international experts and IAEA staff, can be tailored to country needs – whether limited or well-established regulatory infrastructure exists – and can include, on request, emergency preparedness and response. The RISS also helps countries meet the provisions of the IAEA safety standards and nuclear security guidance, and the IAEA Code of Conduct on the Safety and Security of Radioactive Sources and its Supplementary Guidance.

During the first 2022 RISS mission, which took place in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) in March this year, experts reviewed documentation about the country’s regulatory infrastructure, met with and interviewed more than 50 senior officials and staff members of the Comité National de Protection contre les Rayonnements Ionisants (CNPRI), the Commissariat de l’Energie Atomique (CGEA) and the Ministry of Health.

“The international team of experts worked with DRC national authorities to identify the areas of improvement with regard to safety and security of radioactive material,” said Heather Looney, Head of the IAEA Nuclear Security of Materials and Facilities Section. “This actionable advice and support provided an excellent opportunity for the DRC to build a more robust regulatory framework for radiation safety and the security of radioactive material.”

Each RISS results in a mission report that includes an action plan with specific measures considered fundamental for strengthening the national regulatory infrastructure.

“We have taken advantage of the high-level advice of the IAEA mission experts to improve our regulatory infrastructure,” said Florimond Nyamoga Kabanda, President of the CNPRI. “A local team will work for the follow-up and implementation of the recommendations provided in the report. We are also looking forward to the IAEA capacity building assistance for the CNPRI staff and management.”

The second RISS mission, which took place in May this year, was to the Seychelles, and focused specifically on radiation safety, at the request of the country. Discussions covered radiation safety regulations for facilities and activities using radiation sources, and the importance of the role of national authorities in establishing a regulatory infrastructure to enhance the benefits of the peaceful use of radiation while guaranteeing the protection of people and the environment from any harmful effects from its unintentional or malevolent misuse.

Recommendations included finalizing the on-going work to establish a national policy and strategy on radiation safety and security of radioactive material and two specific policies, one for orphan sources recovery and another on enforcement of regulatory decisions.  

“The Employment Department, which is also the competent authority for radiation safety and security in Seychelles, has made considerable improvement to establish and strengthen its regulatory infrastructure,” said Jules Baker, Principal Secretary of the Ministry of Employment and Social Affairs of the Republic of Seychelles, in his welcome remarks at the official opening of the RISS mission. “However, as a small country with limited resources and capabilities, we are not spared of challenges. In this regard, we welcome with an open mind the recommendations that will emanate from this IAEA RISS mission.”

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