Radiation protection regulation in Ireland to be reviewed against international standards

Date released: May 28 2014

Information meeting to begin process finishing in 2015.

Mr Ahmad Al Khatibeh from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) arrives in Dublin tomorrow to prepare for a review of Ireland’s radiation protection regulatory arrangements against international standards and best practice in compliance with European directives. This is an important step in a process which will culminate in a team of up to 14 international regulators visiting Ireland in 2015 to carry out a structured review over 10-12 days. Their findings will be made public at the end of the process.

Dr Ann McGarry, Chief Executive of The Radiological Protection Institute of Ireland (RPII) said: “The RPII will play a central role in the process over the next year. External peer review is an essential activity to ensure that regulatory provisions and practice are in place and we welcome the learning opportunity that the review will bring.”

Tomorrow, Mr Al Khatibeh will brief a range of Government Departments and state agencies which have a role to play in radiation protection in Ireland. He will explain the Integrated Regulatory Review Service (IRRS) mission which has three phases: the preparatory or self-assessment phase; the peer review; and the implementation of an action plan of improvement based on findings.

The self-assessment is a critical and intensive part of the project where Ireland assesses itself against the international standards using an extensive computer-based questionnaire supported by the IAEA. The output of the self-assessment forms the core of the evidence that the international regulatory experts, or review team, will assess and verify in 2015.

The IRRS was established by the IAEA to strengthen and enhance the effectiveness of national regulatory infrastructure for nuclear safety, radiation safety, radioactive waste and transport safety, and the security of radioactive sources.

Ireland applied for its peer review mission in September 2010. In an exchange of letters between the IAEA and the Irish Government and 2015 was agreed as the year for the mission with a follow-up mission foreseen in 2018.