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IAEA IRRS 2011 Mission Reports
IAEA's Integrated Regulatory Review Service supports ARPANSA's ongoing implementation of international best practice
Australia is a respected partner in the international co-operation on nuclear safety and security. It maintains this position by a number of means, including sharing its knowledge and learning from and following international best practice.
The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Integrated Regulatory Review Service (IRRS) Missions are a valuable international regulatory benchmarking exercise involving peer group review by international experts. Senior ARPANSA officers participate in these missions to other countries. The original mission to review ARPANSA’s regulatory framework and its effectiveness against IAEA Safety Standards was held in 2007, with a follow-up IRRS mission in November 2011.
The follow up mission comprised a team of six international experts plus two IAEA Team Co-ordinators reviewing ARPANSA’s progress in implementing the recommendations and suggestions made by the original mission.
At ARPANSA's request the 2011 IRRS mission also expanded its review into a new area of ‘Control of Medical Exposure and included three policy discussions on Emergency Planning & Response, Waste and National Uniformity & Patient Protection.
The team concluded that the recommendations and suggestions from the 2007 IRRS review have been taken into account by ARPANSA. Significant progress has been made and many improvements carried out especially in the 12 months preceding the mission. Seven of the recommendations and 26 of the suggestions made by the 2007 IRRS mission had been effectively addressed and therefore could be considered closed. The review stated that ARPANSA should be commended for this accomplishment.
For the remaining recommendations and suggestions made, ARPANSA has made progress but has not completed all the necessary actions and consequently these findings have been left open. The IRRS team also concluded that ARPANSA should continue its efforts to reach full implementation.
During the 2011 follow-up mission, the IRRS team made note of the following strengths:
- The response to the Tepco Fukushima Dai-ichi accident;
- The high level of in-house technical expertise in radiation safety;
- A recognition of the need and willingness to reorganise ARPANSA;
- The timely development of the national sealed source register in good coordination with other relevant organisations;
- The creation of the Australian Clinical Dosimetry Service and the National Diagnostic Reference Level database.
The IRRS team also identifies additional areas to further strengthen ARPANSA’s regulatory infrastructure and to support the observed improvement activities.
- Making full use of the opportunity to revise the ARPANS Act in 2012;
- Completing implementation of the reorganisation of ARPANSA;
- Influencing enhancement of the national framework for nuclear and radiation emergency preparedness;
- Establishing a coordinating function for ARPANSA’s EPR arrangements;
- Better utilising the expertise within ARPANSA with respect to the regulation of patient protection;
- Initiating the revision of RPS-14 to be aligned with GSR Part 3 to enhance its use nationally as the cornerstone of patient protection;
- Increasing its leadership role in the implementation of Codes of Practice in patient protection.
The IRRS team identified areas where the Government should take actions specifically to enhance the national regulatory infrastructure for nuclear safety and security.
- Revise the ARPANS Act to take full account of international principles, recommendations and IAEA safety standards and guides;
- Enhance the national framework for nuclear and radiation emergency preparedness by clearly identifying and assigning responsibilities to ARPANSA and other appropriate organisations.
The reviewers also stated: “ARPANSA staff put significant effort in to the preparation for the mission. During the review the administrative and logistical support was excellent and the review team was extended full cooperation in technical discussions with ARPANSA staff. ARPANSA counterparts were enthusiastic and interested in obtaining further advice relating to the way they conduct their work, and their plans for further development.”
A summary of this information was included in the IRRS press release.
In accordance with ARPANSA's commitment to take into account international best practice, ARPANSA intends to fully implement the recommendations and suggestions of the IRRS review in 2012.
For more information, please see the following documents:
- IRRS Mission Report - June-July 2007 (PDF 621 kb)
- IRRS Follow-up Report - November 2011 (PDF 1.17 mb)
- ARPANSA's IRRS Mission Action Plan - PDF 235 kb | DOC 741 kb
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