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European and Central Asian Regulators Finalize Draft Radiation Safety Regulations Together at IAEA School


Participants at the Regional School for Drafting Radiation Safety Regulations held 23 January to 3 February 2023 in Vienna, Austria. (Photo: M. Evans, IAEA)

National regulatory infrastructure establishes obligations designed to ensure that adequate safety measures are in place to protect people and the environment against the harmful effects of ionizing radiation. Over the course of two weeks from 23 January to 3 February, 36 specialists from Europe and Central Asia attended the IAEA School for Drafting Regulations in Vienna, Austria, to improve and complete their national regulations on radiation safety. School participants were expected to finish the workshop with an advanced version of their draft national regulations on radiation safety, prepared in line with the IAEA Safety Standards

During the workshop, the participants presented their national experiences and challenges, as well as the status of the regulations on which they were working. Countries in Europe and Central Asia are at various stages in the development of their regulations, and country representatives come with a range of different of goals – from drafting a comprehensive set of new regulations to revising specific aspects of existing regulations on radiation safety. The schools focus on assisting country teams to complete their draft regulations, but portions of work are conducted in groups so that the country representatives can learn from each other’s good practices, in addition to the guidance provided by international experts.  

“We try to encourage a common understanding of regulations and for everyone to use similar terminology for global harmonization. One of the best aspects of the School is having them peer review each other’s work several times. They then justify their critiques in plenary, so that we all share the understanding of the approach, and that is a really good refining process,” said Stephen Evans, international expert.

The IAEA and international experts delivered presentations, led discussions and mentored attendees as they worked together to draft, revise or amend their national regulations. Each country was represented by a pair of professionals with legal and technical competences. This ensured that their combined expertise would result in a viable product that meets international safety standards and is implementable within the national legal framework. 

To participate in the School, participants had to first carry out initial in-country preparations by consulting stakeholders at the national level. They also completed an online learning course that included an examination. As a result, participants were well prepared to maximize the amount learned during the in-person workshop.  

“The school’s detailed programme is valuable for us, because it provides crucial information and experience related to providing radiation safety. When we return, we will incorporate this information into our regulatory activities and complete and submit the new draft regulations,” said Hatem Karakurt, of the Türkiye Nuclear Regulatory Authority, adding that “the new draft regulations, in line with Part 3 of the IAEA General Safety Requirements, will make our activities more effective and will help us to strengthen safety culture among interested parties.”

Following the School, the draft regulations are expected to be ready to be submitted for the approval of the national competent authorities and for promulgation in accordance with the legal and administrative procedures in place in each country. The students were also encouraged to continue collaborating and exchanging their national experiences to ensure that lessons learned would be reflected in their regulatory frameworks to guarantee the best protection of people and the environment from the harmful effects of ionizing radiation.  

Several additional drafting schools with in-person workshops are planned for 2023, which will offer Member State representatives the opportunity to come together and focus on additional aspects of safety regulations. 

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