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Safety and Security at the Forefront of Next Week's Conference on Radioactive Sources


What would our world look like without radioactive sources? Radioactive sources have been used extensively — from cancer treatment to sterilization of medical equipment and industrial applications — for decades for the benefit of society. They need to be handled safely and securely, so that there is no harm to people or the environment. 

Aiming to foster an exchange of experiences and discuss anticipated developments related to the safety and security of radioactive sources, the IAEA is holding an International Conference on the Safety and Security of Radioactive Sources: Accomplishments and Future Endeavours from 20 to 24 June 2022 in Vienna. This conference will bring together more than 600 senior government officials, representatives from organizations involved in the safety and security of sources, other technical and legal experts, from 116 countries and seven organizations.  Registration for this milestone conference is still open.

Experts from 26 countries worked closely with the IAEA to develop a five-day conference programme exploring six main topics. These topics include safety and security matters of radioactive sources throughout their lifecycle; collaboration among national stakeholders; regulatory control of radioactive sources; sustainability and effectiveness of national infrastructures, including lessons learned from the COVID-19 pandemic; international cooperation and preparation and response to radiological incidents and emergencies involving radioactive sources.

“This conference offers an international forum for experts to share their experience and achievements, learn about the latest developments in the field of the safety and security of radioactive sources, and broaden their network,” said Alessia Rodriguez y Baena, Head of the Radioactive Material Security Unit of the IAEA's Division of Nuclear Security, and co-Scientific Secretary of the conference. “Learning and gaining new perspectives is what participants can expect. Every single presentation in the conference programme includes major take-aways on how to further strengthen the safety and the security of radioactive sources,” she added.

The conference will include panel discussions, technical sessions and a range of side events and exhibitions. The detailed programme can be found here

Safety and security: two sides of the same coin

While the goal of safety is to ensure the protection of people and the environment from unnecessary exposure to ionizing radiation, security focuses on preventing the use of radioactive sources with malicious intent.

The IAEA supports countries in ensuring the safe and secure management of radioactive sources, from the very beginning of their lifecycle till, and including, the moment of their disposal.

“Continuous oversight is crucial in preventing the accidental or intentional misuse of radioactive sources,” said Ronald Pacheco Jimenez, Head of the Control of Radiation Sources Unit of the IAEA's Division of Radiation, Transport and Waste Safety, and other co-Scientific Secretary. “The IAEA is here to support all organizations involved in the safety and security of sources to discharge their responsibilities effectively and efficiently.”

The IAEA provides a globally harmonized approach for the safe and secure use and management of radioactive  sources, for example through the publication of the Code of Conduct on the Safety and Security of Radioactive Sources and many other standards and guidance.

Still time to sign up!

The conference has already seen a high number of contributions indicating the keen interest for this important topic. Invited Member States and organization representatives may register via the conference web page to follow the Conference’s main sessions.

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