Initiative launched for management of sealed sources

20 September 2017

The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has announced a concept for creating qualified technical centres for the long-term management of disused sealed radioactive sources.

Most radioactive waste arising from nuclear applications consists of disused sealed radioactive sources (DSRS). 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 says all countries - with or without nuclear power programs - must ensure they have the ability to properly manage them.

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.

The IAEA regularly sends missions to member states to provide advice and guidance for the recovery and conditioning of DSRS. These missions complement the IAEA's capacity building activities, such as projects for managing radioactive sources from cradle to grave, implemented through its technical cooperation program.

At a side event yesterday during the IAEA's General Conference, an update on a 'qualified technical centres' approach for the long-term management of DSRS was presented.

Christophe Xerri, director of the IAEA's division of nuclear fuel cycle and waste technology, said: "At the IAEA we receive a large number of requests for assistance in characterisation, conditioning and removal of all categories of DSRS. The idea behind this initiative is to increase the worldwide capability to manage DSRS by encouraging countries with well-equipped centres and trained personnel to provide technical services for the management of DSRS, within their countries and regionally."

The IAEA said the process for defining the technical and human resources requirements necessary to qualify as these centres of reference is ongoing.

Researched and written
by World Nuclear News