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B.4 (2): Strengthening Occupational Radiation Protection at Future Intensified Activities to Improve Safety within Nuclear Facilities

Project Rationale

The national systems for protection of health and safety of workers who are occupationally exposed to ionizing radiation need to be strengthened in the participating countries to ensure compliance with the IAEA International Basic Safety Standards and related Safety Guides. Particular emphasis has to be given to upcoming increased activities in implementation of internationally harmonized review methodologies concerning safety in NPP’s, e.g. at Stress Tests.

Moreover the requirement to implement a radiation protection programme at facilities is not fully met by every end user. Furthermore, the upcoming Stress Tests require specific and high level knowledge on facility design and activities to be conducted. The number of such skilled and qualified people is low and it is expected that the particular work will be done by contracted skilled experts (also called itinerant workers) who go from one installation to the other. This situation requests a particular individual monitoring and protection of human health.


To strengthen the occupational radiation protection, ensuring a harmonized approach in working with exposure to ionizing radiation for improvement of safety in nuclear facilities.


  • Strengthened occupational radiation protection in NPPs, since the results of stress tests may require more inspections, plant maintenance and modifications in work areas with high radiation fields;
  • Improved and harmonized national programmes for occupational radiation protection, and policies and procedures for monitoring and control of itinerant workers.

Beneficiary Countries: All Member States

This project is part of the IAEA’s approved Programme and Budget for 2014-15 and is included under IAEA Project on “Radiation Protection of Workers”. The project is conducted by the IAEA with supplementary funding from the European Union.

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Output 1: Guidance material on occupational radiation protection of itinerant workers

The Safety Report on Radiation Protection of Itinerant Workers has been approved by the IAEA’s publication committee in September 2014. This has been published recently [Radiation Protection of Itinerant Workers, Safety Reports Series No.84 (ISBN:978-92-0-102215-8)].

This Safety Report on Radiation Protection of Itinerant Workers contains a compilation of information on the issues associated with protection and safety for itinerant workers and on approaches to resolve those issues. It has been recognized as beneficial for specific guidance on the handling of these RP issues with regard to itinerant workers, especially as regards the interactions among the parties responsible for protection and safety.

The report provides guidance on the application of the requirements of General Safety Requirements Part 3 (the Basic Safety Standards) to itinerant workers in a wide range of situations including management of RP, organizational and itinerant worker responsibilities, competence issues, radiation protection programmes, issues associated with specific practices (nuclear industry, medical field, mining, processing of raw material) and also issues on review and maintenance of arrangements for itinerant workers.

The practical guidance in the report is aimed at the managers of itinerant workers, at managers who are responsible for the safety aspects associated with the use of contractors at a facility (with or without a radiation source) and at the workers themselves. The report will also be useful to regulatory bodies in clarifying how the contracting parties comply with regulatory requirements with respect to the use of contractors and itinerant workers, including the identification of situations which may call for interaction between the contracting parties and the regulatory body.

Output 2: Training material on occupational radiation protection for stress test

During 2014, a consultancy meeting was held to review the IAEA’s current training material current training material Workplace Monitoring (WPM). The purpose was to identify and suggest updates needed to reflect the content of the revised International Basic Safety Standards (GSR Part 3). The output resulted in a first new draft training material (power point). In March 2015 the training material was further developed at a consultancy meeting, with the objective to adapt the material to the technical guidance on workplace monitoring that is under development in parallel (see below), and to develop a specific module for workplace monitoring at nuclear power plants. The training material is aimed for radiation protection officers (RPO) but can of course be fitted according to different needs.

A pilot workshop was conducted from 1-5, Feb, 2016 at IAEA, Vienna to freeze the content of training materials. In this workshop, the training modules were tested and approved by the external consultants. A one week training schedule was designed and a set of practical exercises to be performed during the training course were finalized. The titles of training lessons are provided below:

Currently the finalized material consists of the following lessons: Theoretical Training part:

  • Lesson-1, Fundamentals of workplace monitoring-1.
  • Lesson-2, Fundamentals of workplace monitoring-2.
  • Lesson-3, Photon measurements (X and gamma monitoring).
  • Lesson-4, Beta and Neutron dose rate measurements.
  • Lesson-5, Surface contamination measurements.
  • Lesson-6, Airborne contamination measurements.
  • Lesson-7, Tritium and carbon-14 measurements.
  • Lesson-8, Gamma and Alpha spectrometry for workplace monitoring.
  • Lesson-9, Measurements and uncertainty.
  • Lesson-10, Iodine monitoring.
  • Lesson-11, Noble gas monitoring.
  • Lesson-12, Workplace monitoring in nuclear facilities.

Practical Training part:

  • Designing a workplace monitoring program (2 hours).
  • Use and calibration of radiation survey instruments for gamma, beta, and neutrons (2 hours).
  • Estimation of contamination (1.5 hours).
  • Workplace monitoring in a radiological laboratory (2 hours).
  • Demonstrations of Airborne Monitoring and Spectrometry (1.5 hours).

Output 3: A completed and upgraded guidance on occupational radiation protection

The objective of this part is to develop practical guidance material related to workplace monitoring. Two consultancy meetings have been organized during the last six months in order to review and to continue the development of two volumes of technical documents (TECDOC) on workplace monitoring; Volume 1 on radiation dose rates and surface contamination and volume 2 on airborne contamination. Experts from US, UK, Canada, Sweden and Japan have participated in these meetings.

The two documents will contain technical guidance in measurement technique and instrumentation for workplace monitoring in different type of practices, including nuclear power plants. The material will support the general guidance on workplace monitoring that is provided in the IAEA Safety guide on occupational radiation protection.

During the last consultancy meeting, held 4-8 May, new drafts of the documents were finalized.

The structure of the two documents is similar, starting with a section on general aspects on workplace monitoring, including general guidance on designing a WPM program, operational quantities, equipment, practical measurement, and documentation and quality management. The general section is followed by separate sections on different types of external radiation and surface contamination monitoring (vol 1), and separate sections on monitoring of different types of airborne radionuclides (vol 2). These technical sections will provide for additional necessary guidance on designing a programme, techniques, equipment, interpretation, documentation, training and quality management. Finally in annexes will provide for instrument characteristics and practical examples.

In view of large similarities in general contents of these two volumes, they were merged and a revised draft was prepared. A separate chapter emphasizing the methods for Plutonium air monitoring in plutonium handling facilities was introduced. The next step will be to review this advanced draft TECDOC in the forthcoming final Consultants meeting to be held from 11-15 April 2016 to examine the technical parts, use of references and the consistency with the approved revised IAEA safety guide on occupational radiation protection.

Disclaimer: The documents mentioned above have been produced with the financial assistance of the European Union. The views expressed therein can in no way be taken to reflect the official opinion of the European Union.

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| Last update: Thursday, 05 October, 2017.