The mission, globally recognised to strengthen regulatory effectiveness, was officially opened by the International Atomic Energy Agency’s (IAEA) Deputy Director General (DDG) Mr Juan Carlos Lentijo.
ARPANSA’s minister, the Hon. Senator Bridget McKenzie, Minister for Regional Services, Sport, Local Government and Decentralisation, Petteri Tiippana, IRRS Team Leader and our CEO, Dr Carl-Magnus Larsson, also provided opening remarks.
Dr Larsson formally welcomed the team of international experts. He highlighted ARPANSA staff ‘are looking forward to this mission and working with our international colleagues over the next two weeks.’
In opening the proceedings, DDG Mr Lentijo highlighted the importance of the mission as it contributes to enhanced radiation safety. ‘Countries that invite IRRS missions, such as Australia, demonstrate their openness and transparency. They recognise learning through this program by opening themselves up to a peer-review that identifies areas for improvement. This shows they want to contribute to a stronger global safety regime by disseminating and setting up good practices, and understanding lessons learnt.’
Petteri Tiippana, echoed these points. The IRRS team leader said that although the mission is not an inspection or an audit, it is still a review from international peers benchmarking against IAEA safety standards. ‘This mission will provide opportunities for team members and counterparts to learn from each other and share knowledge of the regulatory experience in different countries,’ he said.
The Hon. Bridget McKenzie, also expressed Australia’s gratitude for the IRRS’s visit to conduct the review, ensuring Australia continues to be a world leader in radiation safety. She stated: ‘this is the first time that Australia’s full federal system of radiation protection and nuclear safety—including the Commonwealth, State and Territory levels has been collectively benchmarked against international best practice.’
DDG Mr Lentijo assured that ‘action plans developed in response to mission reports lead to practical work and concrete safety improvements.’
The IRRS report will be provided to ARPANSA and be published on ARPANSA’s website in early 2019.