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IAEA Helps Indonesia Strengthen Occupational Radiation Protection

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The ORPAS team visiting a tin mining facility in Indonesia. (Photo: T I Lin/Atomic Energy Licensing Board, Malaysia)

From mining to hospitals and nuclear research facilities, tens of thousands of workers are potentially exposed to radiation on the job in Indonesia. To review how they are protected, the country in November hosted an IAEA Occupational Radiation Protection Appraisal Service (ORPAS) mission.

Experts from Australia, Bangladesh, Japan, Malaysia, Philippines, Qatar, South Korea, Thailand evaluated the status of national arrangements for occupational radiation protection in the country.  During the 4-13 November 2018 mission,  they visited 15 facilities including the regulatory body of the country, technical support organizations for protection and safety, hospitals, industrial sites, and educational and training centres.  

The team acknowledged  progress by the Nuclear Energy Regulatory Agency (BAPETEN) since the 2015 Integrated Regulatory Review Service mission in line with the IAEA International Basic Safety Standards on Radiation Protection and Safety of Radiation Sources.

The team found that the regulatory body, technical support organizations and end users such as hospitals and industrial facilities all benefit from a well-established online system that contains the national dose registry and records of licensing decisions, inspections and other regulatory matters. 

“It is important that regulatory decisions are based on transparency and agreement among all stakeholders,” said Burcin Okyar, an IAEA Radiation Safety Specialist and the coordinator of the IAEA ORPAS team.  
ORPAS team leader Mohammed Hassan Kharita, Director of Radiation Safety Section in Hamad Medical Corporation, Qatar, noted that “excellent collaboration and mutual understanding between the relevant parties lead to a good conduct of occupational radiation protection in all visited facilities and activities.” 

The ORPAS team advised Indonesia to complement its regulations with  a regulatory policy and make it available publicly. It also advised that additional regulations be developed to address occupational exposure control in industrial activities involving naturally occurring radioactive material and exposure to radon in workplaces.  

The team further advised that BAPETEN expand its national dose registry, which holds external occupational exposure data for 25,000 workers, to include doses from all exposure pathways, including internal exposure and exposure to extremities and the lenses of the eyes. The registry stores individual workers’ doses for decades after the exposure took place. It enables workers to access their data and provides a basis for national analyses. 

The IAEA launched the ORPAS service in 2001. So far, 18 countries have hosted such missions. 

The appraisal service was conducted under the IAEA Regional Technical Cooperation Project RAS/9/080 on “Enhancing National Capabilities on Occupational Radiation Protection in Compliance with Requirements of the New International Basic Safety Standards”.

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