Irish Radiation Experts address conference on Nuclear Safety in Europe

Date released: Jun 28 2011

Fukushima reminds us that there is no room for complacency, RPII.

The Fukushima accident has again emphasised the need for regulators to ensure the nuclear industry operates in a way that ensures the safety of all citizens, the Chief Executive of the Radiological Protection Institute of Ireland (RPII) Dr Ann McGarry today told the conference of European Nuclear Safety Regulators (ENSREG) in Brussels.

Ireland does not have nuclear power, she told the conference, and nuclear states have the primary responsibility for ensuring the highest standards of nuclear safety, she said. “But all countries have a role to play in this important work”, she said.

In Ireland, the RPII is the body charged with monitoring developments in relation to nuclear installations abroad and radiological safety in Ireland. It is Ireland’s voice in the European forum among regulators from nuclear and non-nuclear countries. The conference which was attended by national regulatory and nuclear safety authorities from all 27 member states and their stakeholders reviewed the work undertaken by the regulators to improve nuclear safety across Europe over the past ten years.

Dr Ann McGarry, is the outgoing Chair of ENSREG’s Working Group on Improving Transparency Arrangements, so in recent years Ireland has led the group’s work to improve transparency in nuclear safety for the public. During her presentation at the conference today, Dr McGarry said: “There is no room for complacency in improving nuclear safety throughout Europe and the Fukushima accident reminds us that this is paramount. Working together in ENSREG, the European regulators can help to bring about improvements, through identifying and addressing key challenges and establishing good practice.”

In Ireland, the RPII has a statutory responsibility to monitor developments abroad in relation to nuclear installations and radiological safety and to advise Government on the implications for Ireland. The RPII is a member of ENSREG and participates actively in its working groups in order to ensure that Ireland’s views and concerns are taken into account. 

The conference will address the work undertaken jointly by the European regulators to improve nuclear safety and the management of radioactive waste over the last ten years and will highlight the future challenges. A special session, devoted to the follow up to the Fukushima accident at the European level, and in particular, to the targeted risk and safety assessment of European nuclear plants (the EU “stress tests”) will take place tomorrow.

ENDS

Note to Editors:

Radiological Protection Institute of Ireland (RPII)

The Radiological Protection Institute of Ireland (RPII) is the national organisation with regulatory, monitoring and advisory responsibilities in matters relating to ionising radiation. In particular, the RPII concerns itself with hazards to health associated with ionising radiation and with radioactive contamination in the environment. The RPII is an independent public body under the aegis of the Department of Environment, Community and Local Government and was established in 1992 under the Radiological Protection Act, 1991. The RPII’s role is to ensure that Irish people and the environment are adequately protected from the harmful effects of ionising radiation. This is achieved by providing advice to the public and the Government, by monitoring people’s exposure to radiation, by regulating and licensing those who use radiation, by providing technical support to Ireland’s plan to deal with radiation emergencies (NEPNA) and by cooperating with similar bodies internationally.

About ENSREG

ENSREG was established in July 2007 by a decision of the European Commission. It is an independent authoritative expert body composed of the heads and senior officials from national regulatory and nuclear safety authorities from all 27 Member States. Its central mission is to strive for the continuous improvements in nuclear safety and radioactive waste and spent fuel management and their regulation, and to promote openness and transparency in those areas. www.ensreg.org