IAEA says Cyprus committed to safe management of radwaste

2 June 2022

An International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Integrated Review Service for Radioactive Waste and Spent Fuel Management, Decommissioning and Remediation (Artemis) team said Cyprus is committed to the safe and effective management of disused sealed radioactive sources (DSRS) and radioactive waste, while also noting areas for further enhancement.

The five-day mission to Cyprus, which on 27 May, was carried out at the request of the Government of Cyprus and hosted by the Department of Labour Inspection of the Ministry of Labour and Social Insurance, which is responsible for nuclear and radiation safety regulation.

The team comprised three experts from France, Montenegro and Portugal, as well as four IAEA staff members. Observers, one from Malta, which will host an Artemis team later this year, and one from the European Commission, also participated in the mission.

Cyprus uses radioactive sources in the industrial, medical, and research sectors. A national policy and strategy on the management of DSRS and radioactive waste was adopted in 2015 and it is now being revised. “Cyprus has demonstrated a strong commitment to the safe management of DSRS and radioactive waste,” said team leader Patrice François, Senior Expert for decommissioning and radioactive waste management at the French Institute for Radiological Protection and Nuclear Safety (IRSN). “The mission’s recommendations and suggestions will help Cyprus as it continues to pursue further regulatory and safety improvements.”

The ARTEMIS team noted that Cyprus has made good progress towards updating the 2015 national policy and strategy for management of DSRS and radioactive waste. Recommendations provided by the team included:

  • The Government should ensure that provisions, particularly human and financial resources, are in place to update and implement the national strategy.
  • The regulatory body should ensure that responsibility for DSRS is clearly allocated whenever ownership is transferred.
  • The operator of the National Centralised Storage Facility should develop a comprehensive safety assessment and submit it for review to the regulatory body.
  • There were also several suggestions related to continuous improvement of the regulatory functions to ensure a high level of safety in the management of DSRS and radioactive waste.

Andreas Zachariades, Permanent Secretary of the Cyprus Ministry of Labour and Social Insurance, noted: “The findings, the lessons learned and the experience of participating in such an international peer review will help us strengthen our regulatory infrastructure and capabilities, the waste management system and the national programme. It will also further help us promote openness and transparency and building confidence and public trust.”

The final mission report will be provided to the Government in two months. The Government of Cyprus intends to make the final mission report publicly available.

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