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IAEA Advises El Salvador on Strengthening Regulatory Infrastructure


Participants in the Advisory Mission on Regulatory Infrastructure for Radiation Safety, El Salvador.

An IAEA advisory mission to El Salvador, conducted as part of a project to support Latin American and Caribbean countries in regulatory infrastructure development, found that the country has taken steps to strengthen its radiation safety framework in line with recommendations provided by a 2016 review.

During the 9-13 April follow-up Advisory Mission on Regulatory Infrastructure for Radiation Safety, the five-member team reviewed El Salvador’s radiation safety laws, regulations and regulatory processes. 

The team, which comprised experts from Argentina, Chile and Ecuador as well as the IAEA, reviewed documents and conducted meetings and interviews with Eduardo Antonio Espinoza, Vice Minister of Health Policies, Julio Robles Ticas, Vice Minister of Health Services and Jaime Alfredo Miranda Flamenco, Vice Minister of Cooperation for Development, as well as other government officials.

Team leader Ahmad Al Khatibeh, Advisor in the IAEA’s Radiation, Transport and Waste Safety Division, noted authorities worked towards fulfilling one of the main requirements in the IAEA safety standards - strengthening the independence of the regulatory authority, as recommended by the earlier mission.  The country has now created a committee working on amending the relevant legal framework. This new regulation will establish a Directorate of Radiation Protection, which will be able to independently carry out regulatory obligations.

“This is a welcome development that demonstrates that El Salvador has made significant progress in prioritising safety in line with the recommendations the IAEA provided in 2016,” he said.  “By establishing an effectively independent directorate for radiation protection as the regulatory authority, the country has taken major steps toward strengthening its regulatory framework for safety.”

The experts positively noted that a better coordination between a technical and legal personnel led to the committee creation. The improved engagement between staff with different competencies was also one of the 2016 recommendation.

The team provided authorities with a report comprising acknowledgements of these achievements. It also suggested that the country should improve staffing of the personnel dedicated to the regulatory control. They also recommended that the country becomes party to the Joint Convention on the Safety of Spent Fuel Management and on the Safety of Radioactive Waste Management, the Vienna Convention on Civil Liability for Nuclear Damage and other relevant international instruments relevant to radiation safety.

This follow-up advisory mission was agreed at the kick-off meeting for a new regional project, the Regulatory Infrastructure Development Project (RIDP) for Latin America and the Caribbean held in Uruguay in November 2017. Chile, Costa Rica, Cuba, Ecuador, Guatemala, Paraguay and Uruguay also participate in the RIDP for Latin America and the Caribbean states. 

The IAEA is implementing a similar project to support African countries.  Previous similar projects were held in 2013 in Afghanistan and from 2014 to 2016 in North Africa and the Middle East.

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