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Final Project Review Meeting on the Safe Transport of Radioactive Material

The IAEA’s Role in the Development of Regulatory Infrastructure and Sustainable Networks for the Safe Transport of Radioactive Material in the Asia and the Pacific Region

Participants discussing transport safety regulations. (Photo: M. Kurylchyk/IAEA)

The IAEA has held a regional meeting on the development of regulatory infrastructure and sustainable networks for the safe transport of radioactive material in Bangkok, Thailand, from 24-28 October 2016. The week-long meeting brought together 30 participants from 22 IAEA Member States and entities in the Asia and Pacific region. The participants reviewed the final outputs of regional technical cooperation (TC) project RAS/9/067, ‘Strengthening an Effective Compliance Assurance Regime for the Transport of Radioactive Material’, which aims to ensure the safe transport of radioactive material through the implementation of an effective compliance assurance regime.

Approximately 20 million packages of radioactive material are transported worldwide each year by land, sea and air. Radioactive material, used for a variety of purposes, must be transported to the place where it is used; however, the transport of radioactive material involves potential radiological hazards. To ensure the protection and safety of people, property and the environment, appropriate regulations at both national and international levels are necessary. Government authorities regulate the transport of radioactive material by means of national regulations, in which relevant international regulations and recommendations are taken into account. The IAEA Safety Guide TS-G-1.5 provides recommendations for ensuring that the transport of radioactive material, both domestic and international, is carried out in compliance with the IAEA Regulations for the Safe Transport of Radioactive Material.

During a site visit to the Thailand Institute of Nuclear Technology, participants were provided with a demonstration of the preparation of a radioactive waste transport package. (Photo: M. Kurylchyk/IAEA)

The regional TC project is helping Member States to establish their safety frameworks in a sustainable manner in alignment with Safety Guide TS-G-1.5. It supports the improved harmonization of application of transport standards between the Member States and entities participating in the project, including Afghanistan, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Cambodia, China, Fiji, Indonesia, Iraq, Israel, Jordan, Kuwait, Lao P.D.R., Lebanon, Malaysia, Marshall Islands, Mongolia, Myanmar, Nepal, Oman, Pakistan, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Philippines, Qatar, Sri Lanka, Syrian Arab Republic, Territories under the Jurisdiction of the Palestinian Authority, Thailand, Vanuatu, Vietnam and Yemen.

The achievements of the project have been summarized and presented in the meeting, which also included a progress report on country-specific action plans for transport. Furthermore, regional action plans were finalized, and RASIMS TSA-7[1] transport safety profiles for all participating countries were completed.

A roadmap for future regional network activities and an agreed structure for regional transport safety networks were introduced, to sustain the networks developed during the course of the project. Overall, stronger networking, which is key for transport safety and smooth operations across borders, was recognized by the participants as a notable output of the project.

As part of a group exercise, delegates from the Pacific Islands were given a tutorial on the use of radiation survey meters provided by the Thai Office of Atoms for Peace. (Photo: M. Kurylchyk/IAEA)

Participants also had the opportunity to practice various emergency response scenarios in a series of exercises. Led by experienced IAEA experts from Germany, India and New Zealand, the participants were able to use real equipment for dose measurement, identification of contamination types, analysis of decision making processes and effective action taking thereafter. The group work  revealed many complementarities and synergies of ideas among the participants, as well as a common desire to work towards safer transport of radioactive material in the international environment.  

RAS/9/067 is one of the five safety-related regional TC projects in the region of Asia and the Pacific supported by the European Union (EU) under the Nuclear Safety Cooperation Instrument, as part of a larger EU initiative to enhance nuclear safety around the world.

[1] RASIMS TSA-7: IAEA Radiation Safety Information Management System: RASIMS is a web-based platform that enables Member States and the IAEA Secretariat to jointly collect, analyse and view information regarding the national infrastructure for radiation and waste safety. TSA-7 refers to Thematic Safety Area 7 for Transport Safety of the IAEA’s RASIMS. http://rasims.iaea.org/Default.aspx