3rd International Workshop on Occupational Radiation Protection in the Uranium Mining and Processing Industry
Cape Town, South Africa, 5-7 May 2016
The 3rd International Workshop on Occupational Radiation Protection in the Uranium Mining and Processing Industry was organized as one of the IAEA side events associated with the IRPA-14 congress and hosted by the National Nuclear Regulator (NNR) of South Africa. The workshop was the follow-up activity of the second workshop organized in Australia in October 2015 and attended by twelve industry and regulatory authority representatives.
The workshop was structured to collect information and exchange experiences on occupational radiation protection in uranium mining and processing industry, to review and further develop the draft Safety Report (guidance material applicable to the uranium mining and processing industry), and to discuss future approach for the further development of the safety report.
During the workshop, presentations on “the Regulation of Occupational Radiation Protection in the South African NORM Industry”, “Radon Monitoring -Practical Aspects for NORM Industry”, and “Studies of Radon Progeny Aerosol Characteristics in Australian Uranium Mines” were introduced by regulatory or industry representatives as inputs to enhance the relevant sessions of the draft report. Especially, individual radon dosimetry and state of art technical solutions were discussed and mutually agreed to have similar type of information in the report.
During the drafting sessions, it was highlighted that a graded approach on radiation protection of the workers in the uranium mining and processing industry is a critical component of the success of regulatory regime with direct influence to the operation. There is also a strong need to ensure that appropriate monitoring and control mechanisms are in place. According to the workshop programme, the UMEX project survey to obtain a 2012 snapshot view of global occupational doses from the uranium production industry and its analysis results were reviewed. Over 85% of world-wide uranium production was captured with the survey and the data enabled analysis of global doses on the basis of occupational roles, production stages and exposure pathways. Dose histograms are available to enable analysis of variations in dose distribution between operations and mining and processing stages and techniques and will be included in the draft as an appendix to explore the issues around inconsistencies in dose calculation and aspects such as background subtraction.
Uranium exploration and production occurs at locations throughout the world and utilises a range of different approaches, and techniques. A graded approach on radiation protection of the workers is a critical component of the success of regulatory regime with direct influence to the operation and there is a strong need to ensure that appropriate monitoring and control mechanisms are in place. The revised International Basic Safety Standards (GSR Part 3) establishes requirements for NORM industries under planned and existing exposure situations, including the uranium and processing industry to produce uranium products resulting occupational exposure.
The IAEA is developing a new safety report in view of the revised BSS (GSR Part 3) requirements and its implementation in the uranium industry which is designed to provide advice for regulators, operators and workers on appropriate methodologies to enhance the protection of workers.
The report under preparation focuses on uranium mining and processing stages and techniques, general radiation protection considerations in the relevant industry, general methodology applicable for control, monitoring and dose assessment, exposure pathways, and radiation protection programs for the range of commonly used mining and processing stages and techniques.
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