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IAEA Mission Reviews Singapore’s Regulatory Framework for Radiation Safety

Singapore, Singapore

An International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) mission said Singapore is committed to maintaining and strengthening its regulatory framework for radiation safety. The team also noted areas which would benefit from further enhancements, including the establishment of a national policy and strategy for safety and for the management of radioactive waste.

The Integrated Regulatory Review Service (IRRS) team concluded a nine-day mission to Singapore on 19 October. This was the first IRRS mission to Singapore. It was conducted at the request of the Government of Singapore and hosted by the National Environment Agency (NEA), the national regulatory authority for radiation safety.

Using IAEA safety standards and international good practices, IRRS missions are designed to strengthen the effectiveness of the national regulatory infrastructure, while recognizing the responsibility of each country to ensure radiation safety.

The team, comprising 12 senior regulatory experts from Australia, Brazil, Canada, Cyprus, Denmark, Finland, Greece, Hungary, Norway, Portugal, Slovenia, South Africa, as well as three IAEA staff members, reviewed the regulatory oversight of facilities and activities using radiation sources, including waste management and decommissioning, emergency preparedness and response, and occupational, medical and public exposure control.

“The legal and regulatory system is well established for safety of radiation sources,” said the IRRS team leader Ritva Bly, Principal Adviser at the Finnish Radiation and Nuclear Safety Authority. “Further efforts are needed to update safety regulations to be fully in line with IAEA Safety Standards and to further enhance regulatory activities.”

Singapore has no nuclear power plants. It utilizes radioactive sources in medical, industrial and research applications. During the mission, the team accompanied NEA during its inspections and oversight activities at industrial and medical facilities, including the largest hospital in the country, Singapore General Hospital. The IRRS team also conducted interviews with management and staff from NEA and the Ministry of Health.

“We are glad to host the IRRS mission and benefit from the international expertise. This mission on radiation safety is the first of its kind in Singapore, and is important to our continual effort to improve the regulatory framework. The inputs from the mission will help guide the strengthening of radiation safety practices,” said Luke Goh, Chief Executive Officer of NEA.

The IRRS team identified a number of areas of good performance that could serve as a model of implementation for other countries, such as:

  • Singapore’s active participation in IAEA initiatives and technical committees, and regional and global networks and associations, related to radiation safety, despite its limited scope of licensable activities.
  • The NEA’s transparent regulatory activities supported by Singapore’s modern information and communications technology infrastructure.

The IRRS team concluded several recommendations and suggestions to improve the regulatory system and the effectiveness of the regulatory functions in line with IAEA safety standards.

Recommendations and suggestions for the Government of the Singapore include:

  • Establishment of a national policy and strategy for safety and for the management of radioactive waste.
  • Establishment of a regulatory framework for existing exposure situations such as exposure to natural background radiation.
  • Further coordination of the authorities that have responsibilities for safety.
  • Continuous building of competences for personnel with responsibilities in the area of safety.

Recommendations and suggestions for NEA include:

  • Continuous improvement of legislation and regulations on radiation safety to align them with international safety standards.
  • Continuous building of competences for personnel with responsibilities in the area of radiation safety.
  • Further development of regulatory activities with application of the graded approach such as improvement of the emergency preparedness and response regulations.

The final mission report will be provided to NEA in about three months. Singapore plans to make the report public.


General information about IRRS missions can be found on the IAEA website. IRRS are used to advise Member States on ways to strengthen and enhance the effectiveness of national regulatory frameworks for nuclear, radiation, radioactive waste and transport safety while recognizing the ultimate responsibility of each State to ensure safety in these areas.

The IAEA Safety Standards provide a robust framework of fundamental principles, requirements, and guidance to ensure safety. They reflect an international consensus and serve as a global reference for protecting people and the environment from the harmful effects of ionizing radiation.

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