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Safety First: Supporting the Safe Transport of Radioactive Material in Africa


A regional workshop to review draft national regulations on the safe transport of radioactive material for English speaking countries took place in December 2023 in Vienna. 

Twenty-three African countries have successfully completed a first draft of regulations or revised their national regulations on the safe transport of radioactive material to meet the IAEA Safety Standards, benefitting from support provided by the IAEA through its ‘School of Drafting Regulations’. 

Delegates from the participating countries, all with legal, technical, or regulatory backgrounds and with experience in drafting regulations, received assistance from international experts to review their national drafts. These drafts had been prepared by the participants in advance of two regional workshops, held at IAEA Headquarters in November 2023 for French speaking African countries, and in December 2023 for the English-speaking countries of the region. The workshops, the third component of the four-part School, provide expert advice and guidance so that national drafting experts can ensure that the national regulations drafts on the safe transport of radioactive material are fully in line with IAEA safety standards, specifically IAEA Safety Standard no. SSR-6 (Rev. 1), ‘Regulations for the Safe Transport of Radioactive Material’.   

“This programme of the School of Drafting Regulations is intended to assist the participants to reflect the provisions of the IAEA Regulations for the Safe Transport of Radioactive Material in their national regulations,” said  Hildegarde Vandenhove, Director of the Division of Radiation, Transport and Waste Safety. “These provisions are the cornerstone of the global regulatory framework for the safe transport of all types of radioactive material,” Vandenhove explained. 

The workshops, organized under the aegis of the Regional African Cooperative Agreement for Research, Development and Training related to Nuclear Science and Technology (AFRA), form part of an educational initiative designed to build and strengthen capacities in African countries to formulate comprehensive regulations governing the safe transport of radioactive material across the region. The workshops not only provide participants with guidance and support for the preparation of national drafts, but also offer an opportunity for countries to learn from each other’s experiences and to harmonize regulations. Participants attend introductory lectures and drafting sessions, and take part in practical exercises and discussions.

“This is an excellent opportunity for Africa to exchange experiences and best practices, with a vision to enhance regional collaboration and harmonize the regulations across the region with a perspective of initiating a regional collaborative agreement,” said Shaukat Abdulrazak, Director of the Division for Africa, Department of Technical Cooperation. 

The regional workshops in November and December 2023 formed the third component of the four-part ’School of Drafting Regulations – Transport  Safety Programme. The first two components consist of in-country activities that assist participants in the school to start preparing to draft the new or revised regulations. The in-country activities ensure that participants are well prepared through online self-paced training in advance of the in-person workshops. Participants then attend an in-person regional workshop to review and finalize their regulations while receiving support from IAEA experts.  

To ensure sustainability, the fourth and final segment of the school focuses on the establishment of a community of practice that will support the ongoing exchange of knowledge and best practices. The community of practice includes a follow-up tool that helps the IAEA to monitor progress and, where necessary, provide further assistance to have the regulations approved as soon as possible. 






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