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Wider Implementation of IAEA Code of Conduct to Enhance Safety and Security: Review Meeting Concludes

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By intensifying the implementation of the IAEA Code of Conduct on the Safety and Security of Radioactive Sources and its supplementary Guidance documents, countries are strengthening  radiation safety and nuclear security not only domestically, but also internationally. This was the conclusion of a meeting, which reviewed implementation of the Code of Conduct and its Guidance documents, held in Vienna from 27 to 31 May. Over 190 technical and legal experts from 103 countries and three non-governmental organizations attended the meeting.

The Code of Conduct describes how countries can ensure the safety and security of radioactive sources, from the stage of initial production to their final disposal. To date, 137 countries have made a political commitment to implement the Code of Conduct, which is not legally binding. The Code of Conduct is supplemented by Guidance documents on the Import and Export of Radioactive Sources and on the Management of Disused Radioactive Sources.

The meeting provided a platform for a wide exchange of information on the national implementation of the Code of Conduct and the Guidance documents. Meetings of this kind take place every three years to enable countries to report on progress, exchange lessons learned and discuss areas in need of improvement.

“The IAEA is ready to assist countries as they work to establish an effective national legislative and regulatory system – as always, upon request,” said Juan Carlos Lentijo, IAEA Deputy Director General and Head of the Department of Nuclear Safety and Security. “By implementing the Code and its supplementary Guidance, States have improved radiation safety and nuclear security nationally and globally. Thanks to the Code, there is stronger regulatory control of radioactive sources, including during import and export and after their useful lives. We have noted good progress.”

Fabien Feron, Director at the French Nuclear Safety Authority and Chairman of the meeting, noted the significance of such exchanges. “I am happy to see the number of participants showing commitment to improve the safety and security of radioactive sources, not only in each country, but also at the global level. The meeting is an opportunity to hear about successes and challenges, to learn from others and to network,” he said.

In response to requests from several country representatives, this year’s meeting also included a set of topical sessions. These covered the management of disused sources, safety-security interfaces for radioactive sources and the management of radioactive material that is inadvertently present in scrap metal.  

“We have noted three areas where improvements are needed,” said Mr Lentijo. “The independence of regulatory bodies, the management of radioactive sources and addressing radioactive sources out of regulatory control.”