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IAEA Mission Says Regulatory Body in Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia Is Committed to Safety

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Skopje Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia

(Photo: Arnolds Auziņš/Flickr)

An International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) team of experts said the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia’s radiation safety regulatory body is competent and committed to improving safety. The team also noted areas for further enhancement.

The Integrated Regulatory Review Service (IRRS) team concluded a nine-day mission today to review the regulatory framework for nuclear and radiation safety in the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia. The mission was carried out at the request of the Government and hosted by the Radiation Safety Directorate (RSD), which is responsible for regulatory oversight in the country.

“The regulatory framework and national arrangements for waste management must be enhanced to ensure safe management of all types of radioactive waste, including disused radioactive sources from ceased practices,” said team leader Mika Markkanen, Principal Advisor of the Finnish Radiation and Nuclear Safety Authority, STUK.

IRRS missions are designed to strengthen the effectiveness of the national regulatory infrastructure for nuclear and radiation safety, while recognizing the responsibility of each State to ensure safety.

The Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia uses radioactive sources in medical and industrial fields, but operates no nuclear power reactors or research reactors.

The mission covered facilities and activities including: responsibilities and functions of the Government and the regulatory authorities; the global nuclear safety regime; RSD’s activities including authorization, review and assessment, and inspection and enforcement; the development and content of regulations and guides; emergency preparedness and response; transport; control of medical exposures; occupational radiation protection; environmental monitoring and remediation; and the interface between nuclear safety and nuclear security.

The team of experts made recommendations and suggestions to the Government and the RDS to help them further enhance the legislative and regulatory framework in line with IAEA safety standards.

The team recognized that the RSD is committed to improving safety and protecting people and the environment. It noted that the regulatory body faces challenges, for example, in regulating disused radioactive sources until the national strategy for decommissioning and radioactive waste management is established and implemented.

The 13-member IRRS team comprised senior experts from Argentina, Canada, Cuba, Finland, France, Germany, Hungary, Moldova, Portugal and Slovenia as well as three IAEA staff members.

“The IRRS mission’s recommendations and suggestions will help Macedonia in strengthening the national legal and regulatory framework for radiation and nuclear safety and security in accordance with international safety standards,” RSD Director Svetislav Gjorgjevic said.

During the mission, team members observed regulatory activities and held interviews and discussions with representatives of the Government and Ministries, and with RSD management and staff. They also visited a public hospital, two private companies, the Institute of Public Health and the Crisis Management Centre.

The team identified a good practice related to a web-based system commonly used by RSD and the Customs Administration for the authorization of import and export of radioactive materials that significantly enhances the visibility of the regulator and promotes effective cooperation between the two authorities.

The mission provided recommendations and suggestions for improvements, including:

  • The Government and the RSD should review and revise the legal and regulatory framework to ensure compliance with IAEA safety standards.
  • The Government should establish and implement a national policy and strategy for the management of radioactive waste.
  • The Government should provide the RSD with sufficient resources in order to adequately implement its functions and responsibilities.
  • The RSD should establish and implement an integrated management system.

The final mission report will be provided to the Government in about three months. Authorities have told the IAEA that they plan to make the report public.

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