Experts and counterparts from the IAEA technical cooperation (TC) project, “Strengthening Cradle-to-Grave Control of Radioactive Sources in the Mediterranean Region”, met in Vienna from 9 to 19 December 2013 to discuss regulatory control for the safe management of Disused Sealed Radioactive Sources (DSRS), and move forward in the establishment of a comprehensive regulatory framework for the safe management of Sealed Radioactive Sources (SRS). The two-week event was attended by 29 participants from 14 participating Member States, eight international experts (including a representative from the European Commission), and several IAEA staff members.
Sealed Radioactive Sources are used for a wide range of applications, including medicine, agriculture, industry or research. However, many countries on the shores of the Mediterranean Sea need to strengthen their regulatory framework to ensure safe control of SRS, both in use as well as disused, in order to prevent incidents potentially harmful to people and the environment.
With the aim of enhancing national regulatory infrastructures and processes by ensuring their compliance with the IAEA safety standards, the December workshop addressed national needs and challenges in terms of regulatory safety infrastructure, and supported the development of a harmonized regional approach. Gaps and areas for improvement were identified during group-breakout sessions, structured discussions and presentations of case studies on thematic topics. These topics included national policy and strategy related to the safe management of SRS and DSRS, as well as related conventions, codes, directives and national legislation. In addition, presentations were given on the activities and regulatory processes for the safe management of SRS and DSRS. Special emphasis was given to the EU perspective and experience in the safe management of DSRS, orphan sources (those that are not under regulatory control) and transport of sources (both within a country and between countries).
The workshop was successful in identifying and documenting existing gaps, shortcomings and good practices, raising awareness of relevant international conventions, codes, directives and standards as well as the latest developments in EU legislation, and assessing the status of national programmes and processes related to the regulatory control for the safe management of DSRS. The workshop concluded with the elaboration of action plans for each country to improve their current regulatory control by addressing their gaps and shortcomings.
“Strengthening Cradle-to-Grave Control of Radioactive Sources in the Mediterranean Region” TC project is one of the largest TC initiatives aiming to enhance and develop integrated safety regulations on an interregional level to ensure safe and cohesive control of SRS across the Mediterranean region. Its emphasis is on the end of the sources’ life-cycle, the period when they become Disused Sealed Radioactive Sources. These sources may be withdrawn from use, however, they remain radioactive and if not properly disposed of, they may pose risks to people and the environment.
Twenty IAEA Member States around the Mediterranean Basin are participating in the project. The project is scheduled to run until 2015 and is funded jointly by the IAEA and the European Union. Technical inputs are provided by IAEA staff from the Waste Technology Section of the Department of Nuclear Energy and the Waste and Environmental Safety Section and the Regulatory Infrastructure and Transport Safety Section, both of the Department of Nuclear Safety and Security. Project Management is coordinated by the IAEA Department of Technical Cooperation.
This workshop was carried out with funding
by the European Union and the IAEA.