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IAEA Mission Says Cyprus Committed to Safe Management of Disused Sealed Radioactive Sources and Radioactive Waste, Sees Opportunities for Further Enhancement

Nicosia, Cyprus

An International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) team of experts said that Cyprus is committed to the safe and effective management of disused sealed radioactive sources (DSRS) and radioactive waste, while also noting areas where it could be further enhanced.

The Integrated Review Service for Radioactive Waste and Spent Fuel Management, Decommissioning and Remediation (ARTEMIS) team concluded a five-day mission to Cyprus on 27 May. The mission was carried out at the request of the Government of Cyprus and hosted by the Department of Labour Inspection of the Ministry of Labour and Social Insurance, which is responsible for nuclear and radiation safety regulation in the country.

The team, which comprised three experts from France, Montenegro and Portugal, as well as four IAEA staff members, held meetings in the capital, Nicosia with officials from the Department of Labour Inspection, the State Health Services Organization and two of the major oncology centres in the country. Observers, one from Malta, which will host an ARTEMIS later this year, and one from the European Commission, also participated in the mission.

ARTEMIS missions provide independent expert advice from an international team of specialists convened by the IAEA. Reviews are based on the IAEA Safety Standards and technical guidance as well as international good practices. The mission to Cyprus aimed to support the country in meeting European Union (EU) obligations that require an independent review of national frameworks and programmes for the management of spent fuel and radioactive waste.

Cyprus uses radioactive sources in the industrial, medical, and research sectors. A national policy and strategy on the management of DSRS and radioactive waste was adopted in 2015 and it is now being revised.   

“Cyprus has demonstrated a strong commitment to the safe management of DSRS and radioactive waste,” said ARTEMIS team leader Patrice François, Senior Expert for decommissioning and radioactive waste management at the French Institute for Radiological Protection and Nuclear Safety (IRSN). “The mission’s recommendations and suggestions will help Cyprus as it continues to pursue further regulatory and safety improvements.”

The ARTEMIS team noted that Cyprus has made good progress towards updating the 2015 national policy and strategy for management of DSRS and radioactive waste. Recommendations provided by the team included:

  • The Government should ensure that provisions, particularly human and financial resources, are in place to update and implement the national strategy for the management of DSRS and radioactive waste.
  • The regulatory body should ensure that responsibility for DSRS is clearly allocated whenever ownership is transferred.
  • The operator of the National Centralized Storage Facility should develop a comprehensive safety assessment and submit it for review to the regulatory body. 

There were also several suggestions related to continuous improvement of the regulatory functions to ensure a high level of safety in the management of DSRS and radioactive waste.

“Ιnviting such a mission is an obligation for Cyprus as an EU member under the EURATOM Waste Directive. However, it is also an opportunity for us to assess the need for reviewing and updating our national programme,” said Andreas Zachariades, Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Labour and Social Insurance. “The findings, the lessons learned and the experience of participating in such an international peer review will help us strengthen our regulatory infrastructure and capabilities, the waste management system and the national programme. It will also further help us promote openness and transparency and building confidence and public trust,” he continued.

The final mission report will be provided to the Government in two months. The Government of Cyprus intends to make the final mission report publicly available.


ARTEMIS is an integrated expert review service for radioactive waste and spent fuel management, decommissioning and remediation programmes. This service is intended for facility operators and organizations responsible for radioactive waste management, as well as for regulators, national policy makers and other decision makers.

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. Additional supplementing IAEA documents such as Nuclear Energy Series publications can be included in the review basis to supplement the safety standards series. They include practical examples to be used by owners and operators of utilities, implementing organizations, academia, and government officials in Member States, among others.

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