25 June 2014
Amman, Jordan – Senior international nuclear safety and radiation protection experts today concluded an 11-day International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Integrated Regulatory Review Service (IRRS) mission to review the regulatory framework for nuclear and radiation safety in Jordan.
The mission team said in its preliminary findings that Jordan’s nuclear regulator, the Energy and Minerals Regulatory Commission (EMRC), faces challenges because it is a relatively new body that handles a high workload while also working to recruit, train and keep competent staff. The team also noted that a recent merger provided the regulator with more of the resources it needs to perform its duty.
The team made recommendations and suggestions to the regulatory body and the Government to help them strengthen the effectiveness of Jordan’s regulatory framework and functions in line with IAEA Safety Standards.
Denis Flory, IAEA Deputy Director General and Head of the Department of Nuclear Safety and Security, told the mission’s closing meeting that Jordan’s invitation to host the mission demonstrated dedication to improve radiation and nuclear safety, and to learn from international experience.
John Loy, Deputy Director General Operations at the United Arab Emirates’ Federal Authority for Nuclear Regulation, headed the 18-member review team, which comprised experts from Brazil, Bulgaria, Canada, Egypt, France, Ireland, Lebanon, Sweden, Turkey, the United Arab Emirates and the United States as well as four IAEA staff members and an observer each from Malaysia and Japan.
“The regulatory body’s merger in April 2014 into the EMRC added to its challenges because it now has to operate as part of a new body,” Loy said. “However, it also presents a vital opportunity to strengthen Jordan’s radiation and nuclear regulatory infrastructure by providing more resources and influence.”
The Jordanian government invited the mission, which included site visits to observe inspections as well as interviews and discussions with staff from EMRC and other organizations.
“We believe that the recommendations and suggestions made by the IRRS team will help EMRC in strengthening its regulatory infrastructure and framework in light of the international guidelines embodied in the IAEA safety standards and good practices observed in other regulatory authorities,” said EMRC Chairman Farouq Al–Hyari.
The main observations of the IRRS Review team comprised the following:
- The regulatory body, founded in 2007 and merged with other regulators in April 2014 to form EMRC, faces large challenges in terms of its regulatory workload, management system building and staff recruitment and training;
- The new EMRC structure and revision of the radiation and nuclear safety law represents an important opportunity to strengthen Jordan’s radiation and nuclear safety infrastructure;
- The Government has shown commitment to radiation and nuclear safety through measures including becoming party to international conventions. It could further demonstrate its commitment by adopting a formal national policy and strategy for safety that defines the role of the Minister of Energy in relation to EMRC and protects the independence of regulatory decision-making.
Good practices identified by the IRRS team comprised the following:
- Jordan is contributing to and making good use of the global nuclear safety regime;
- EMRC is promoting safety culture, including through inventive ways;
- Orphan and disused radioactive sources are transferred for safe storage to a radioactive waste storage facility; and
- EMRC has a resident inspector at the construction site of the Jordan Research and Test Reactor.
The mission identified issues in need of attention or improvement, including the following:
- The Government should ensure that EMRC is provided with adequate human resources with the necessary competence to effectively regulate nuclear and radiation risks in the country, in particular considering the country’s preparations to introduce nuclear power;
– EMRC should continue working on its human resources development planning and associated staff training programme;
– EMRC should optimize the use of its resources for licensing, reviewing, assessing and inspecting facilities considering their safety significance;
– The Government should issue regulations and instructions that have already been drafted by EMRC, and EMRC should further develop guides to support these regulations, and
– The Government should ensure that formal coordination arrangements are established between EMRC and other Government agencies including the Ministries of Health, Interior, Environment and Labour.
The final mission report will be provided to the Jordanian Government in about three months.
About IRRS Missions
IRRS missions are designed to strengthen and enhance the effectiveness of the national nuclear regulatory infrastructure, while recognizing the ultimate responsibility of each State to ensure safety in this area. This is done through consideration of regulatory, technical and policy issues, with comparisons against IAEA safety standards, and, where appropriate, good practices elsewhere.
More information about IRRS missions is available on the IAEA Website.
IAEA Press Office
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