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Preparing for the Safe and Effective Decommissioning of Small Facilities that Use Radioactive Materials and Sources in the Europe Region

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Participants at the workshop, 5-9 March 2018, Nicosia, Cyprus (Photo: Michaelis Tzortzis, project counterpart from Cyprus).

Participants in a new regional IAEA technical cooperation project[1] on the planning and conduct of decommissioning projects in the Europe and Central Asia region have met in Nicosia, Cyprus, to discuss decommissioning planning for a range of small facilities including medical clinics and hospitals, industrial buildings and research centres. The workshop, held 5–9 March, was organized in collaboration with the Radiation Inspection and Control Service of the Ministry of Labour, Welfare and Social Insurance of the Republic of Cyprus.

The new IAEA project, which started implementation in January this year, is designed to develop capacities in participating countries to plan and implement decommissioning projects for small medical, industrial or research facilities, with the ultimate goal of improving the safety and protection of workers, the public and the environment. These facilities require decommissioning at the end of their operational lifetime, due to the presence of radiological hazards. This is the first time that a technical cooperation project in Europe has targeted facilities of this size – similar IAEA projects have focused on large facilities such as research reactors and power plants.

Before attending the workshop in Nicosia, participants were asked to complete a questionnaire to support the mapping of the status of the planning and implementation of decommissioning plans in the region. Additional information and clarifications were provided during the workshop discussions. A detailed analysis of the questionnaire responses will be included in the ‘baseline report’ for the four-year project, and common issues and gaps related to decommissioning within European region countries will subsequently be addressed by sharing knowledge and experience in the practical implementation of applicable standards and norms. Decommissioning plans will then be developed for facilities that lack them and existing plans will be updated, enabling the start of decommissioning activities including the management of resulting radioactive materials and waste.

The workshop was attended by representatives from 24 countries: Albania, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Estonia, Georgia, Greece, Hungary, Kyrgyzstan, Latvia, Lithuania, The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Montenegro, Republic of Moldova, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Russian Federation, Serbia, Slovakia and Tajikistan.

[1] RER9146, ‘Enhancing Capacities in Member States for the Planning and Implementation of Decommissioning Projects’.

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