27 October 2023

Australia has made significant progress in building a resilient and adaptable regulatory infrastructure for radiation safety, according to a team of International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) experts.

ARPANSA hosted the Integrated Regulatory Review Service (IRRS) team during the 9-day follow-up mission, which was tasked with reviewing Australia's progress in implementing recommendations and suggestions made during an initial IRRS mission in 2018. 

'The IRRS is an internationally recognised process that strengthens regulatory effectiveness. Countries that invite missions - including Australia - demonstrate openness and transparency,' said Hildegarde Vandenhove, head of the IAEA Division of Radiation, Transport and Waste Safety.

The mission involved a series of interviews with ARPANSA, government representatives and the State and Territory regulatory bodies, and a review of relevant reference documentation prepared in advance of the visit.

ARPANSA CEO Dr Gillian Hirth is pleased with the outcomes and recommendations identified by the IRRS team.

'The follow up mission has provided an important evaluation of Australia's progress since 2018, during what has been a challenging period globally,' said Dr Hirth.

'With the changing nuclear landscape in Australia, it has been valuable to demonstrate our strong commitment to radiation and nuclear safety and also the progress made as we work towards consistent radiation protection for all Australians. We are extremely thankful to all mission participants for lending their expertise to evaluate and advise on how Australia can enhance its regulatory frameworks in line with international best practice.'

The IRRS team also identified areas for potential enhancements, such as the completion of a national strategy on radiation safety. Noting ongoing activities to address consistency in the State and Territories radiation safety programs, the team said further efforts were warranted in this area, which the establishment of a national strategy would support.

The IRRS team was comprised of seven senior regulatory experts from Canada, Finland, France, Ireland, United Kingdom, United States of America, and three IAEA staff members.

The final mission report will be provided to the Government in early 2024.

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