DDG-NS signed the Practical Arrangements for the cooperation between IAEA and ARPANSA of Australia
IAEA Headquarters in Vienna, Austria, 4 June 2015
The Practical Arrangements were signed by Mr Denis Flory, the Deputy Director General of IAEA and Mr Carl-Magnus Larsson, the Chief Executive Officer of the Australian Radiation Protection & Nuclear Safety Agency (ARPANSA) on 4 June 2015 in Vienna.
The objective of the Practical Arrangements establishes the framework for cooperation between the two parties to develop guidance material to support Safety Standards applicable to the uranium mining and uranium processing industry. Under these Practical Arrangements, international workshops will be organized in Australia and elsewhere, with the participation of regulatory bodies and industry representatives. A safety report on radiation protection in uranium mining and processing industry will be developed through meetings of experts.
As a result of the recent increase in the dose conversion factor for radon recommended by the International Commission on Radiological Protection, exposure due to radon becomes a more significant contributor to the total radiation dose of workers. This is a particular challenge for uranium mining, as well as for other underground workplaces, where high radon concentrations may be present.
During uranium mining and processing, workers may be internally exposed from inhalation of radon progeny, inhalation of aerosols containing long lived alpha activity, and exposed externally to gamma rays emitted from the ores, process materials, products and tailings. According to the United Nations Scientific Committee on the Effects of Atomic Radiation, the number of workers has been reduced from 240,000 in 1975-1979 to 12,000 in 2000-2002; the collective effective dose has also reduced significantly from 1,300 man.Sv to 22 man.Sv.
Despite these indicators, the number of workers in uranium mining and processing is expected to increase substantially within the next few years, driven by the recent high demand for uranium production. With the current interest in expanding the use of nuclear power, there has been an increase in uranium exploration and also in the development of new uranium mining and processing facilities in many countries. As a consequence, strengthening of the occupational radiation protection for workers in uranium mining is of a great importance.
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