New IAEA peer review for management of disused sources

04 October 2022

A new peer review service has been launched by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) in an effort to support countries faced with limited resources and capacities for the management of disused sealed radioactive sources (DSRS).

Sealed radioactive sources (Image: IAEA)

Most radioactive waste arising from nuclear applications consists of disused sealed radioactive sources. Radioactive sources are used in different devices in medical, industrial and agricultural facilities. They have to be accounted for and when they are no longer usable, they have to be recovered, dismantled, stored and, in some cases, prepared for transportation.

The IAEA's safety standards provide the international requirements to control disused sources and help member states implement technologies to recover, condition and store them.

Launched at a side event during the 66th IAEA General Conference in Vienna last week, the Disused Sealed Radioactive Sources Technical Centre (DSRS TeC) peer review aims to increase and enlarge the accessible pool of resources and support for sustainable management of DSRS. Countries and organisations with well-equipped facilities and trained personnel that can provide technical services in their home country and abroad are encouraged to enrol in the new peer review service.

The DSRS TeC will review the technical proficiencies, operational processes, quality management and capabilities of a facility to operate at regional level and beyond. By building on national capabilities, it is hoped that support for sustainable management of DSRS will be scaled-up and at the same time strengthen the existing capacity of the countries.

A network of DSRS Technical Centres could provide DSRS services both in their own country and abroad, thereby increasing global capacity for DSRS management.

Like other IAEA-led peer review services, DSRS TeC will comprise a team made up of IAEA and external experts. A pilot mission was carried out in May at Morocco's National Centre for Energy and Nuclear Science and Technology.

"Currently, we receive many requests for support and guidance on DSRS and regularly send teams on field missions to recover and condition them," said Nora Zakaria of the IAEA's Waste Technology Section. "But the sheer number of DSRS in the world means our services are over stretched. This new peer review service will help us to increase support for countries by leveraging the expertise of Technical Centres."

Researched and written by World Nuclear News