Research reactor operators need to consolidate their various quality assurance and quality management programmes into an effective management system in order to ensure integration among their research, economic, safety and security objectives, concluded an IAEA workshop in Vienna last week.
“Establishing an integrated management system is essential for ensuring safe and effective operation of research reactors,” said Christophe Xerri, Director of Nuclear Fuel Cycle and Waste Technology at the IAEA. “This way we can maximize their benefits to society through, for example, production of high quality medical radioisotopes, education and training.”
The training workshop on ‘Integrated Management Systems for Research Reactors’ provided participants with practical information on developing, implementing and continuously improving management systems.
Held in the wake of the publication of the IAEA Safety Report Series No.75 on Implementation of a Management System for Operating Organizations of Research Reactors and other relevant technical guidelines, the workshop provided a platform for delegates from 30 countries to exchange knowledge and experiences in establishing integrated management systems at research reactor organizations, identify actions for further enhancement and provide specific recommendations for transition from existing quality assurance programmes to integrated management systems.
Strong leadership is vital in this process, said Greg Rzentkowski, Director of Nuclear Installation Safety at the IAEA. “It is necessary to reinforce shared organizational values, expectations, as well as positive attitudes and behavior of staff,” he said. “Ensuring safety through effective implementation of an integrated management system will also result in enhancing the reactor’s operational performance.”
Research reactors are often used for research education and training, testing materials or the production of radioisotopes for medicine and industry. The IAEA works with its Member States to continuously enhance the safety, operation and utilization performance of research reactors. These include the development of safety standards and technical guidelines, conducting safety peer-reviews and advisory services, and the organization of technical meetings, training courses and workshops.