C.3. Strengthening of an Effective Compliance Assurance Regime in Transport of Radioactive Material in the European Southern Neighbourhood Region (Mediterranean Sea) and Associated Shipping States
1. Increased use of radioactive material
As countries are developing, and become eager to pursue the worthy ambition of offering their citizens a better life style, the use of radioactive material for diagnostics and/or treatment of various diseases will increase. Advances in technologies for medical treatment, rise in number of centres where nuclear medicine is available, along with changes in medical practices and an ageing population are all factors that are already contributing to a substantial increase in the use of radioactive material (RAM) in developed countries and there will be an even more marked change in developing countries over the coming years. The recent numbers are quite startling: in the USA, for example, the number of nuclear medicine procedures is three times more than in the EU. In Asia, the number of PET procedures performed increased more than 5 fold from 2008 to 2010, while in Eastern Europe and Northern Asia the increase was 20 fold for the same period. Similarly as industrial applications move to higher standards, the use of radiography techniques to check the integrity of welds for example or to treat food stocks will also increase.
2.Potential difficulties in supply and shortage of staff
In recent years (since 2008), shortcomings and lack of reliability in the supply of medical isotopes, coupled with denials of shipment, have had to be addressed by the international community. This might have reduced the vulnerability in the supply side; however, transport has to become more efficient to make full use of the material available for medical treatments. In addition many countries/regions are experiencing difficulties in financing and even finding an adequate number of qualified staff for their Regulatory Authority for Transport of RAM.
3. Need for harmonised implementation
After more than 50 years of development, the applicable international legislation (or Regulations and Guidance by IAEA) is comprehensive and well-coordinated at the international level, via the international modal organisations.
However, the harmonised implementation of the transport regulations in Member States (the compliance regime) needs to be addressed. The problem is being evidenced in several ways, including the effect on denial of shipment. A study on Regulatory Framework (carried out for the EC) concluded that: "The currently existing comprehensive and stringent transport regulatory framework has proven to be effective in minimising the radiological impact in normal and accidental conditions of transport. However, the national deviations and disparities in the regulatory requirements and practices, which often appear to be minor, can have a major impact on trans-boundary transport of radioactive material in terms of the extra effort, time and (technical/financial) resources required by transport operators to comply with the specific national duties and requirements.”
Over the last decade, it became increasingly apparent to many involved in the regulatory oversight of the transport of radioactive material that closer collaboration between competent authorities would provide a more effective basis on which to harmonise the interpretation of transport regulatory requirements between states, share relevant good practices between transport regulatory authorities and improve the coherent implementation of the Regulations.
4. Support needed within and across regions
It is also becoming increasingly obvious that many countries need support in the implementation of international requirements in order to adopt a more harmonised and coherent approach to the implementation of the legislation. They need to cooperate with their neighbours to achieve an efficient and safe transport of RAM.
5. The development of regional networks is the key response to these issues
Recognizing the benefits that can be achieved through the creation of regional networks dedicated to strengthening the safety of the transport of radioactive material, the European Union has provided financial and technical support for developing such regional networks
Cooperation has been rapidly growing in recent years between the IAEA and the EU, culminating in the signing, in September 2013, of a Memorandum of Understanding on Nuclear Safety, establishing a framework for cooperation to contribute to strengthening nuclear safety in Europe and worldwide.
As a result of this enhanced cooperation, a project for the safe transport of radioactive material in the Mediterranean region has been put into place. As the use of radioactive material in the medical, agricultural and industrial sectors increases, cooperative support across the region and neighbouring states would offer significant benefits towards a more resilient, efficient, and sustainable transport of radioactive material in the region.
The Mediterranean region includes many countries (25 or more countries with at least 15 from Europe) on three different continents. Due to different governmental structures, there are (outside of the EU) different national legislation and various methods of regulatory operations related to transport. These differences result in a lack of harmonisation and coordination for the safe movement of radioactive material which are very important for transport.
The project is designed to move towards a sustainable system of mutual support, cooperation and coordination in normal and emergency situations during the transport of radioactive material. It is envisaged that this regional project will establish a network and produce a net benefit for all states involved.
The mission of the network is to assist in fostering harmonisation amongst regional Member States to develop a common, coordinated view for the interpretation and implementation of the regulations for the transport of radioactive material in the region. The aim is to provide a proactive means of maintaining and developing a consistent high level of safety for the transport of radioactive material in the Mediterranean region and also in relation to and with the neighbouring networks in Africa, Asia, and the EU.
The objectives are fairly simple:
- Develop networking between Competent Authorities for transport safety
- Share knowledge and relevant good practices and, potentially, resources;
- Identify need and participate in joint working groups with defined outputs
- Develop common understanding and promote more effective interaction between competent authorities at a working level.
The majority of the countries in the region have already incorporated in their national legislation requirements that are fully compatible with IAEA Safety Standards in this area. Nevertheless, it is important to develop further provisions to foster the harmonised implementation including compliance with national legislation across the region. In order to reach this aim, relations with other neighbouring networks for transport of radioactive material such as the European Association or the Network for Africa will be beneficial for all the parties concerned. Sharing of documents developed in one network and that may be of use to other networks, is also encouraged.
In addition, the application of these provisions will be harmonised and tested to ensure they are sustainable, including during a major emergency. Mechanisms will be established among the Member States in this region to cooperate, coordinate and support the transport of radioactive material, especially in emergency situations or in recovering from other transport incidents.
- Establishment of a regional network to the benefit of all States involved, including a sustainable system of mutual support, cooperation and coordination in normal and emergency transport of radioactive material
- Harmonized provisions with regard to the EC directives and the relevant IAEA Safety Standards;
- Established mechanisms for cooperation between Member States in the region to enhance coordination with regard to the transport of radioactive material, especially in an emergency, or recovering from a non-compliant border incident.
Beneficiary Countries: Countries of the Mediterranean Region
Scientific secretary: Chris BAJWA, Transport Safety Unit (TSU), Regulatory Infrastructure and Transport Safety Section (RIT), Division of Radiation, Transport and Waste Safety (NSRW)
This project is part of the IAEA’s approved Programme and Budget for 2014-15 and is included under IAEA Project 18.104.22.168 on “Transport Safety”. The project is conducted by the IAEA with supplementary funding from the European Union.
Output 1: Provisions and procedures agreed by Member States in the region on transport of radioactive material will be harmonized to the standards set in IAEA safety standards and associated EU directives
- Development of a Plan of Action for the network.
- Short-term actions to be delivered before the workshop in Athens in February 2015.
- Completion of draft national Plans of Action.
- Updates on progress of actions at workshop in Athens (February 2015).
- Pilot of online meeting tool for communication between Mediterranean Network participants (Virtual Meeting).
- TR-49561 Istanbul Workshop (5-9 October 2015).
- Manual for Import, export and transit of Radioactive Material.
1. Development of a Plan of Action for the network: 10-14 March, 2014: Peer Review Workshop on the Results of Self-Assessments of Transport Regulatory Infrastructure for the Mediterranean Region
The purpose of the workshop was to assist Member States in the Mediterranean region in reviewing the results of self-assessments based on Thematic Safety Area 7 (TSA-7) for the regulatory infrastructure for transport of radioactive material completed by participating countries.
Participants of Peer Review Workshop in Vienna, Austria
For each Member State of the Mediterranean Network present at the workshop a list of strengths and weaknesses related to regulatory practices for the transport of radioactive materials was established. The list contains the result of the peer review’s findings including recommendations, suggestions, and identified best practices.
A working group was charged to draft a Plan of Action for the whole Mediterranean region that was reviewed at a Consultant Services (CS) meeting at the end of May 2014 (27-31 May).
Participants decided to establish a national plan of action based on the results of the peer review of the self-assessments for their own country.
Workshop link (Only for authorized users)
Current Mediterranean Plan of Action (Only for authorized users)
2. Short-term actions to be delivered before the workshop in October 2014:
27-30 May: (CS-48691) Consultancy to Review Results of Peer Reviews and Develop a Regional Action Plan for Transport The objectives of the meeting were:
1. to develop further the plan of action for the whole network of the Mediterranean region.
2. to review the plan of action, including resources needed and timetable for its implementation.
3. to take into account in their plan of action the outcomes of the activities of the EACA and potential areas of future collaboration between the Mediterranean Network and EACA as reported by the expert who took part in the meeting of the EACA on 7-9 May, 2014 in Dublin.
Participants agreed on a Plan of Action for the Network with a list of priority actions to be delivered and planned for a review of progress on actions during the meeting in October 2014. A list of actions for the long term with delivery dates in 2015 and 2016 has also been developed.
1. Actions to be delivered by October 2014:
• Imports, Exports and transits requirements
• Compliance inspections – Approval of packages Approval and Inspection of package
• Radiation Protection Program
2. Actions to be initiated after the October workshop (see Output 2)
3. Completion of draft national Plans of Action:
Most of the participating countries completed drafts of their national plans of action based on the results of their self-assessment before the workshop in February 2015.
National Plans of Action (Only for authorized users)
4. Updates on progress of actions at workshop in Athens (February 2015)
A workshop was held in Athens, Greece, February 9-13, attended by 24 delegates from 14 Member States and one international organization. The purpose of the workshop was to review the progress of the implementation of national and regional actions plans developed in prior meetings, to update the national and regional action plans as needed, to review the results of Member State self-assessments, and to address specific topical areas relevant to the region, including an introduction to the basic elements needed to develop and/or enhance the regulatory infrastructure necessary for the safe transport of radioactive material.
Mediterranean Transport Workshop Participants in Athens, Greece
The Chair of European Association of Competent Authorities (EACA) from Ireland, a country with needs similar to those of most members of the Mediterranean region, presented lectures, along with the delegate from Greece, on how the primary oversight activities of their respective CAs are carried out. In addition, the recently published guidance on transport inspections from EACA was presented by the Chair to the members of the Mediterranean Network. The outcomes of the workshop in Athens may be found here: Link.(Only for authorized users)
5. Pilot of online meeting tool for communication between Mediterranean Network participants (Virtual Meeting)
An online “Virtual” meeting was held in June 2015 in order to pilot an additional tool that would enhance the ability of Mediterranean Trnasport Network members to communicate with each other. 12 Participants from 10 different locations were able to connect to the virtual meeting space and participate from their own countries. For some participants, this was the first virtual meeting they had ever participated in. Updates on actions related to transport safety were provided by each of the participants, and a recent transport event involving a contaminated cargo container from Morocco, discovered in the port of Lisbon, Portugal was discussed by the participants from those countries. The participants were unanimously in favor of holding further virtual meetings in the future.
6. TR-49561 Istanbul Workshop TR-49561
Second Workshop on the Safe Transport of Radioactive Material for Mediterranean Network Countries The Second Workshop of the MedNet took place on 5-9 October 2015 in Istanbul, Turkey. There were 23 participants from 11 countries and one international organization (IMO). Participants reviewed the progress of the implementation of national and regional action plans. Transport experts from Belgium, Greece and IAEA provided lectures on how the primary oversight activities CAs are implemented, in line with the Core Model for regulatory oversight of the transport of radioactive material being developed by the Agency. Topics included selection of transport packages and an introduction on the use of the Schedules of Provisions of the IAEA Regulations for the Safe Transport of Radioactive Material (2012 Edition), SSG-33.
The workshop also represented a critical step in the development of the network as a decision on structure of the network was made by participants, and included the installation of a Chairperson (from Greece), Deputy (from Turkey) and Steering Committee (from Morocco, Tunisia, Bosnia Herzegovina, Lebanon and Turkey). Women from several countries have stepped forward to take key roles in the management structure of the network.
The conclusions from this workshop, along with the workshop minutes may be viewed here (only for authorized users).
7. Manual for Import, export and transit of Radioactive Material
The manual was discussed during the workshop in Istanbul in October 2015. Workshop participants agreed on the format and content for the manual. The manual also includes the provisions of the IAEA Code of Conduct for sources. A draft of the manual is now under review by the Steering Committee of the MedNet. The various CAs will make it available to users when the review is completed.
Output 2: Two pools of information - resources available to provide support and support needed for transport of radioactive waste (including support needed in emergencies)
1. Long-term actions for the network to be initiated after the Athens meeting:
In addition to the short term actions (see Output 1), the participants to the consultancy meeting in Monaco have also reviewed a list of long-term actions with delivery dates in 2015 and 2016:
• Development of a template for the life-cycle management of sources (several members of the Mediterranean region have attended a workshop (INT 9176/2013) on management of sources in Athens (23-27 June 2014)
• Training and Communication
• Discussions on training needs were initiated, but a more detailed approach will have to be integrated into the global approach envisaged by TSU on the requirements for specific training for the Staff of the Regulatory Authorities
• Development of a management plan for the regulatory authorities
• Development of a network website: A website for the MedNet has been initiated under the GNSSN. It may be viewed here.
The items above were discussed at the Athens workshop, with specific actions being designated in the Regional Action plan and assigned to specific members of the Mediterranean Network. As these subjects are further developed, progress will be reported to the members of the network.
2. Training tailored to the needs of the regulatory authorities
The Member States of the region have diverse needs related to the different situation and users of radioactive material in their own countries. There is therefore a strong incentive to develop training needs and approaches based on the activities taking place in the individual MS.
In 2015, an action related to training is being developed in five phases:
1. Assessment of the real needs in given countries of the region. This has been discussed among the participants of the Mediterranean Network at recent meetings.
2. Development of appropriate targeted training for the staff of the Regulatory Authorities commensurate with the needs of the countries. Based on the feedback from participants two training workshops are being planned.
3. Delivery of the first phase of the targeted training is currently planned for Q4, 2015 and Q1, 2016
4. Discussions between members of the Mediterranean Network and with other networks (such as EACA) to initiate joint inspection activities between countries in the region, or to witness inspection activities in other EU countries.
5. Discussions have also occurred related to experience on Emergency Preparedness and Response, and specifically the observation of Emergency Response exercises involving transport accidents. This opportunity will be further explored in later network meetings.
Output 3: A network will be formed in this region for communication and coordination, taking into account existing EU networks
1. EACA meeting (Dublin, May 7-9/ 2014 and Rome, 6-7 May 2015)
Members of the Mediterranean network have attended the last two meetings of the EACA to represent the interests and challenges faced by Mediterranean Network members and to further develop collaboration between the two networks.
Mediterranean Network Members with the Chair of EACA in Dublin and
Participants at EACA Meeting in Rome
Cooperation between the two regions has included the sharing of guidance documents and the participation of the EACA Chair as a lecturer at the Athens workshop to further strengthen the regulatory capabilities of the Mediterranean region CAs.
In addition, The Chair of EACA and the newly appointed Chair of MedNET met the DDG for NS Mr Juan Carlos Lentijo on November 5th 2015 to exchange views on the transport networks. The DDG expressed support of the regional approach and sees it as essential for the efficient implementation of the regulatory system, recognises that the existing networks for transport of radioactive material can also be useful for actions in other areas outside transport of RAM, indicated that there should be more effort for an enhanced visibility of the successes of the regional approach and pledged to provide his support when needed for the creation of a network in Latin America. Finally, the DDG recognized that financial constraints for some countries to participate in the various networks need to be addressed in a joint effort with TC.
A summary of this meeting is available here.
2. Additional countries.
As of the the end of June 2015, 15 Member States have participated in the project: 11 non-EU Member States (Morocco, Tunisia, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Montenegro, FYROM, Albania, Algeria, Turkey, Syria, Jordan, Egypt, and Lebanon), 3 EU Member States (Portugal, Croatia and Greece). An additional Member State and recognized entity have not been able to participate in any events as of yet: Libya and Palestine.
Participants have been urged to seek the support of the appropriate authorities in their countries for the establishing of the transport network and to provide resources for their future active participation, including financial provisions, for its sustainable development.
3. Development of the SharePoint site:
A summary of the activities and meeting outputs are available at the Network Sharepoint Site. (Only for authorized users)
In addition, a website for the network has been established under the GNSSN.
4. The “MedNet” has been established
The Network , named MedNet, is now in operation. A structure has been established: A Chairperson and deputy have been elected, together with members of a Steering Committee.
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.
For further information please contact