2013-14 Annual Report - Part 3.5: International engagement

Part 3: Report on Performance - 3.5 International engagement

ARPANSA's international engagement enhances the safe and secure use of radiation in Australia by ensuring that our national activities are based on international best practice in radiation protection and nuclear safety and radioactive material security.

ARPANSA administers several internationally binding and non-binding instruments on behalf of the Australian Government. It represents Australia on virtually all key United Nations international committees and commissions dealing with the regulation of nuclear safety (excluding nuclear power) and radiation protection, and holds positions on international organisations recognised worldwide as setting the fundamentals of radiation.

ARPANSA pursues its international engagement objectives through a suite of interlocking and mutually reinforcing strategies, each of which contributes to Australia's safety, security and emergency preparedness.

The strategies and selected fora and activities within those strategies are summarised in Table 1.

Table 1: Key international forums and arrangements

Strategy Key international forums and arrangements
Participating in scientific networks and activities internationally

International Commission on Radiological Protection (ICRP)

  • The International Commission on Radiological Protection is an independent, international organisation that advances the science of radiological protection for the public benefit, in particular by providing recommendations and guidance on all aspects of protection against ionising radiation. ICRP is comprised of a Main Commission, a Scientific Secretariat, five standing Committees (on Effects, Doses, Medicine, Application, and the Environment), and a series of Task Groups and Working Parties. The CEO chairs the Committee on Environmental Protection and is a member of the Main Commission.

United Nations Scientific Committee on the Effects of Atomic Radiation (UNSCEAR)

  • UNSCEAR was established by the General Assembly of the United Nations in 1955. Its mandate in the United Nations system is to assess and report levels and effects of exposure to ionising radiation. Governments and organisations throughout the world rely on the Committee's estimates as the scientific basis for evaluating radiation risk and for establishing protective measures.
  • Australia chaired the 60th and 61st Sessions of the Committee (in 2013 and 2014). UNSCEAR's assessment of the level and effects of radiation exposure to humans and environment from the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear accident was published in early 2014. The Chair along with the Scientific Secretariat will visit the Fukushima Prefecture and provide the assessment including an explanation of the findings and recommendations to the government and people of the region.

International Commission on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection (ICNIRP)

  • The International Commission on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection is a body of independent scientific experts and has the principal aim of disseminating information and advice on the potential health hazards of exposure to non-ionising radiation. Much of the ICNIRP's work is published in the form of scientific reviews and reports and the proceedings of scientific meetings. The results of these reviews combined with risk assessments carried out in collaboration with the World Health Organization, WHO, result in the publication by ICNIRP of Exposure Guidelines. The Exposure Guidelines are a key consideration in ARPANSA's development of standards and advice.Top of Page
Participating in regional and bilateral capability building activities

Nuclear Energy Regulatory Agency of Indonesia (BAPETEN)

  • The Nuclear Energy Regulatory Agency of Indonesia is responsible for regulating the safety, security and safeguarding of nuclear facilities and radioactive material in Indonesia. It also has responsibilities for national emergency preparedness and response. ARPANSA signed an Arrangement for Cooperation with BAPETEN in 2011.

United Kingdom Public Health England (PHE)

  • Public Health England is an executive agency of the Department of Health in the United Kingdom that began operating on 1 April 2013. ARPANSA has a Cooperation Arrangement with PHE to exchange information with respect to areas of radiation protection and nuclear safety and cooperate on programs and projects in the area of radiation protection research and development.
Contributing to and participating in respected international standards setting fora

International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)

  • The IAEA is an independent intergovernmental science and technology-based organisation of the United Nations. It serves as the global focal point for nuclear cooperation. The IAEA assists its Member States in planning for and using nuclear science and technology for various peaceful purposes. It develops nuclear safety standards and, based on these standards, promotes the achievement and maintenance of high levels of nuclear safety as well as the protection of human health and the environment against ionising radiation. The Agency verifies through its inspection system that States comply with their commitments, under the Non-Proliferation Treaty and other non-proliferation agreements, to use nuclear material and facilities only for peaceful purposes.

World Health Organization (WHO)

  • ARPANSA is a designated WHO research collaboration centre involved in projects to assess the health and environmental effects of ultraviolet and electromagnetic exposure (the INTERSUN and EMF Projects). ARPANSA is also a designated collaborating centre for the WHO REMPAN which is designated to provide emergency medical and public health assistance to people over-exposed to radiation.
Participating in international benchmarking and monitoring activities, such as international peer reviews

Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization (CTBTO)

  • The Preparatory Commission for the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization was set up in 1996. It is an interim organisation tasked with building up the verification regime of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT) in preparation for the Treaty's entry into force as well as promoting the Treaty's universality. The Commission consists of two main organs: a plenary body composed of all States Signatories and the Provisional Technical Secretariat. Australia ratified the CTBT in 1998. ARPANSA is responsible for the installation, implementation and operation of seven radionuclide monitoring stations located in Australia.

Integrated Regulatory Review Service Mission (IRRS)

  • IRRS missions are important international peer reviews of the regulatory infrastructure in IAEA Member States, carried out at the request of a Member State. Australia, through ARPANSA, requested an IRRS Mission in 2007 and a follow-up mission in 2011. This year, ARPANSA's Deputy CEO Prof Peter Johnston acted as Deputy Team Leader for the IRRS mission to the Czech Republic.
Working closely with other Australian Government agencies with roles in international safety and security

International Atomic Engery Agency General Conference (IAEA GC)

  • ARPANSA CEO attended the IAEA General Conference as well as a number of important bilateral meetings held in Vienna, Austria. The General Conference is a yearly event which brings together all IAEA Member States for agreement on budget, work program and resolutions. In addition, numerous side events are held in the margins of the Conference, such as the Senior Regulators' Forum and the Scientific Forum. ARPANSA coordinated the Australian input to the safety resolution and Australia, through the Mission to Vienna, coordinated the international negotiations of the resolution which was unanimously approved with 52 co-sponsors.
  • ARPANSA's CEO chaired the Senior Regulators' meeting which is a yearly full-day event involving global nuclear safety regulators.

IAEA International Conference on Nuclear Security: Enhancing Global Efforts

  • ARPANSA was part of the Australian delegation* to the International Conference on Nuclear Security: Enhancing Global Efforts, held in Vienna, Austria. ARPANSA provided assistance to the Australian Embassy and Permanent Mission to the United Nations during the Ministerial sessions; and shared Australian delegation responsibility in covering Plenary and Technical sessions held concurrently during the conference. This conference and side-meetings provided a useful opportunity for ARPANSA to learn about international practices in border security and influence the development of international guidance to detect illicit trafficking of nuclear and other radioactive material across borders.
* The Australian delegation comprised the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, the Australian Safeguards and Non-Proliferation Office, the Australian Science and Technology Organisation and the Australian Mission in Vienna.

Detail of the forums we have attended over the financial year can be found in our Quarterly Reports on the ARPANSA website at: www.arpansa.gov.au/AboutUs/Corporate/quarterlyreports.cfm.