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Updated E-Learning Course on the Safe Transport of Radioactive Material Launched

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(Image: A.Tejeiro/IAEA)

Did you know that over  20 million shipments of radioactive material each year take place by land, sea and air, delivering radioactive material safely for benefits to all in the medical, industrial, nuclear power, agriculture and research sectors — for which its safe transportation is of  paramount importance?

The IAEA has recently launched an updated e-learning course on the IAEA Specific Safety Requirements SSR-6, Regulations for the Safe Transport of Radioactive Material. The e-learning module covers requirements that need to be adopted in the national regulations of Member States and by international regulations for the safe transport of radioactive material by all modes of transport.

“The safe and secure transport of radioactive material requires a framework that combines regulatory requirements, package certification, inspections and a monitoring system,” said Peter Johnston, Director of the IAEA's Division of Radiation, Transport and Waste Safety. ‘It is of the utmost importance that safety is maintained during transport by maintaining compliance with the safety requirements of the national and international, transport safety regulations.”

Version 2 of the course is an update which builds on the success of the course launched in 2019 for which over 1000 participants enrolled, from over 100 countries. The latest version consists of eleven  segments that cover the following areas: Modules 0 to 4 introduce the subject of transport safety from the basics, including the regulatory framework and responsibilities for the transport of radioactive material; radiation protection in transport; and, the structure and contents of the IAEA transport safety regulations. Modules 5 to 9 relate to the activities of regulatory bodies, focusing on the development and implementation of a compliance assurance programme for a competent authority to oversee the safe transport of radioactive material. Finally, module 10 offers guidance on specific topics, such as the incorporation of SSR-6 into national regulations and includes the updates the 2018 Edition of SSR-6.

What is new?

Some of the main changes to the 2018 edition are the introduction of a new group of surface contaminated objects (SCO),  namely SCO-III; the modifications of the rules governing the use of existing materials in packages that include more robust  material, more stringent guidelines on how packaging should be handled in transport and the addition of requirements to assess the effects of storage time of a package containing radioactive material that is stored before transport.

The course will enable the users to freely follow the topics of interest and obtain a new certificate of completion. The latest e-learning module is practical and user friendly as it addresses the needs and knowledge-levels of a diverse global audience that has an expertise or interest in this area of specialization.

“The e-learning module offers various learning paths to accommodate to the diverse needs of participants and national regulatory bodies, offering a more focused training and skill building experience in the safe transport of radioactive material,” said Stephen Whittingham, Head of the IAEA’s Transport Safety Unit. Whilst Module 0 – 4 is open to everyone involved in the transport of radioactive material and anyone interested in the subject, Modules 5 – 9 is designed for staff of regulatory bodies and Technical and Scientific Support Organizations (TSOs).

“This latest version with many improvements and new topics will provide enhanced guidance to Member States, including practical aspects and exercises,” Whittingham added. In this newly developed version, a set of enhancements has been introduced including a narrating voice to aid the learner, gamification elements (such as unlocking new features), practical exercises, knowledge checks, and interactivity, all designed to improve the participant’s learning experience.

Despite such large number of shipments, there have been no reported transport accidents involving radioactive material that have created a serious radiological event. “This excellent safety record is largely due to the diligent review by national authorities over the past 60 years of the IAEA SSR-6 transport safety requirements, the safety culture and compliance with the requirements by the people involved in the transport operations and the effective regulatory oversight of the transport competent authorities,” said Whittingham.

The first publication on IAEA Transport Regulations was published in 1961. Since then, they have been reviewed continuously and updated when necessary to keep up with technical advances, growing operational experience and with the evolution of radiation protection and safety.

For participants who have successfully completed the previous version of the course, the new version is the perfect opportunity to refresh the knowledge previously acquired and to explore the new features. It also gives the possibility to study one more module and obtain a new certificate of completion correspondent to the 2018 Edition of SSR-6.

The e-learning course is available for free and can be completed at any time and at your own pace.

You can enroll for the course here.

Training Course on Transport Security. (Photo: D. Calma/IAEA)

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