• English
  • العربية
  • 中文
  • Français
  • Русский
  • Español

You are here

IAEA Mission Says Ireland Committed to Safe Management of Radioactive Waste, Sees Areas for Further Enhancement

Wexford, Ireland

An International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) team of experts said Ireland’s national programme for managing radioactive waste demonstrated a commitment to safety, 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 four day mission to Ireland on 21 October. The mission, carried out at the request of the Government of Ireland, was hosted by the Irish Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), which is responsible for nuclear and radiation safety regulation in the country.

The six member team, comprised of three experts from Cyprus, France, and Greece, as well as three IAEA staff members, held meetings with officials from the EPA at their headquarters in Wexford.

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 Ireland aimed to help the country meet European Union (EU) obligations that require an independent review of national programmes for the management of radioactive waste.

Ireland uses radioactive sources in the industrial, medical, and education sectors. It has no nuclear power or research reactors. Ireland does not currently have a centralised radioactive waste storage facility. A national policy on radioactive waste was adopted by the Government in 2010 and has been implemented through a phased inventory reduction programme.

The ARTEMIS team specifically highlighted the pragmatic approach adopted by the Irish authorities to reduce the inventory of disused sealed radioactive sources by close to 99% in the last 10 years. The team’s report points to the strong commitment of the Government to implement the policy whereby those responsible for radioactive waste and disused sealed radioactive sources must pay for their waste management. The team also highlighted the provision for take-back agreements for all categories of radioactive sources as a strong management approach for the safety of disused radioactive sources. 

“Ireland has demonstrated a strong commitment to the safe management of disused radioactive sources 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 missions recommendations and suggestions will help Ireland as it continues to pursue a safe and robust waste management system.”

Recommendations and suggestions provided to Ireland by the team included:

  • Continue to explore options to provide a long term solution for the management of radioactive waste and disused sealed radioactive sources. 
  • Include all existing and anticipated radioactive waste categories in the national inventory.
  • Consider strengthening education and training arrangements and maintaining the competence of all persons and organizations with responsibilities relating to the management of radioactive waste and disused sealed radioactive sources.

“This peer review was an opportunity for Ireland to get the IAEA’s expert opinion on the implementation of the inventory reduction programme”, said David Pollard, EPA Programme Manager. “We value the discussions we had with the team and we intend to follow their recommendations as we continue to explore options to provide a long term solution for the management of radioactive waste and disused sealed radioactive sources.”

The final mission report will be provided to the Irish Government in about two months.


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.

Stay in touch