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From the Cradle to the Grave: Making Progress in the Safe Management of Disused Sealed Radioactive Sources


The coordination meeting was opened by H.E. Maria Castillo Fernandez, Ambassador of the European Union to Malaysia. (Photo: Nuclear Malaysia)

Over 30 participants from 22 Member States participating in an IAEA interregional technical cooperation project[1], Sustaining Cradle-to-Grave Control of Radioactive Sources, have met in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, for a project coordination meeting from 16 to 20 October 2017.

Sealed radioactive sources are used worldwide in areas such as health, research, industry and agriculture. When one of these sources is no longer used and is not intended to be used again for its purpose, it is classified as disused (DSRS). Disused sources that are not controlled, improperly managed or left unprotected create a safety risk which could lead to radiological incidents.

The meeting in Kuala Lumpur contributed as part of a series of IAEA technical cooperation activities to the establishment of a cradle-to-grave (C2G) management system that follows international IAEA safety standards. The C2G approach to managing DSRS comprehensively covers all relevant regulatory and operational aspects, and includes a clearly defined strategy for the end-of-life management of DSRS. A C2G management system ensures the safe and secure control of sealed radioactive sources throughout their lifecycle, and prevents sources from falling out of regulatory control and becoming ‘orphan’ sources.

Meeting participants peer into Malaysia’s mobile hot cell. (Photo: Nuclear Malaysia)

H.E. Maria Castillo Fernandez, Ambassador of the European Union to Malaysia, opened the coordination meeting. The Ambassador stressed the importance of the safe management of radioactive sources, and highlighted the strong cooperation between the IAEA and the European Union in the area of nuclear safety. Dr Modh Ashhar Bin Hj. Khalid, Director General of the Malaysian Nuclear Agency, also spoke, confirming Malaysia’s strong commitment to nuclear safety and the implementation of a pilot disposal programme for DSRS.

The meeting was supported by two additional key strategic partners, namely the United States of America, through the Nuclear Regulatory Commission and the National Nuclear Security Administration, and Spain, through the Consejo de Seguridad Nuclear. The project partners exchanged experiences and good practices, and IAEA representatives and Member States reviewed the most recent progress and achievements in the implementation of national and international systems for the management of DSRS. 

Depending on their national inventories, and based on their national policies and strategies, Member States can consider different options for the end-of-life management of DSRS, including recycling, re-use, regulatory clearance, removal and disposal. The outline for a Decision-aiding Document (DAD) for End-of-life Management Options was discussed with the participating Member States. The DAD offers guidance for countries wishing to conduct self-assessments and analyses of end-of-life management options for DSRS based on their national policy and strategy. Moreover, the DAD encourages Member States to conduct an inclusive and participatory process with all relevant national stakeholders, with a view to taking an informed decision on how best to manage the national DSRS inventory.

The interregional technical cooperation project is designed to help participating Member States to strengthen their national capacities and capabilities to manage sealed radioactive sources, following a harmonized approach based on the IAEA Safety Standards. The project receives extensive technical and financial support from the European Union, Spain and the United States.



Project INT9182 is carried out with funding
by the European Union and the IAEA.


[1] INT9182: 'Sustaining Cradle-to-Grave Control of Radioactive Sources'



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