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Nuclear Experts Receive Hands-On Training on How to Conduct IAEA Integrated Regulatory Review Service Missions

Course attendees take part in an interactive exercise during the IRRS training course. (Photo: D. Calma/IAEA)

To ensure that IAEA peer reviews of nuclear and radiation safety regulatory frameworks are delivered at a consistently high quality, experts carrying out these peer reviews completed a training course in Vienna last month.

The experts, who are nominated by Member States and come from nuclear regulatory bodies in 32 countries, participated in this course that prepares them to conduct IAEA Integrated Regulatory Review Service (IRRS) missions.

The IRRS is a service designed to help countries strengthen and enhance the effectiveness of their regulatory frameworks and infrastructure for nuclear, radiation, radioactive waste and transport safety. It provides a peer review of both regulatory technical and policy issues. The course combined aspects of both nuclear and radiation safety. Previous training courses were held in 2013, 2014, 2016 and 2017.

Greg Rzentkowski, Director of the IAEA’s Division of Nuclear Installation Safety, emphasized the importance of educating peer reviewers on the conduct of IRRS missions. “This training course is crucial in preparing experts to carry out IRRS reviews and highlights the many nuances of this important review process. It is also a key element of our approach to the IRRS programme and in particular maintaining and refreshing the pool of expert reviewers.”

The course, which was conducted by the IAEA and co-funded by the European Union, included lectures and interactive exercises designed to simulate situations that arise during IRRS missions. Topics covered included responsibilities and roles of IRRS mission team members and how to carry out interviews and evaluations and document observations.

“The lectures were well-focused on specific issues of the modules and it was great to have feedback from the lecturers and learn from their extensive experience, said Lydie Evrard, Commissioner of the French Nuclear Safety Authority. “The exercises provided good practice on all aspects of IRRS missions, such as writing recommendations and dealing with host country counterparts.”

Course participants said the interactive nature of the course benefited their learning. “The practical component is exactly like the components of a real IRRS mission,” said Trifce Sandev, Associate in the Licensing, Monitoring, Emergency and Inspection Unit of the Radiation Safety Directorate in the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia. “The participants all worked well together and everyone contributed to the final document presented at the end of the course.”

Course instructor Andrej Stritar, Director of the Slovenian Nuclear Safety Administration, said hands-on experience, such as that simulated in the course, was an important part of IRRS team members’ preparations.  Stritar has participated in several IRRS missions to Slovenia, Slovakia, Japan, China, the United Arab Emirates and the Netherlands.

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