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ONR's Mark Foy leads mission to Bangladesh

The Office for Nuclear Regulation’s Chief Executive and Chief Nuclear Inspector Mark Foy this week joined fellow nuclear safety experts from across the world as the Team Leader for the International Atomic Energy Agency's (IAEA) Integrated Regulatory Review Service (IRRS) mission to Bangladesh.

The mission, postponed in recent years due to the COVID-19 pandemic, will run until 8 December 2022. Joining Mark in Bangladesh are technical experts from Canada, Egypt, France, India, Japan, Malta, Pakistan, South Africa, Spain and the United States.

This IRRS mission in south Asia will evaluate the country’s national, legal and governmental framework and regulatory infrastructure for safety against IAEA global safety standards. It will compile findings in a final report that provides recommendations and suggestions for improvement, while also noting good practices in Bangladesh that can be adapted for use in other countries’ nuclear regulatory frameworks and strengthen nuclear safety.

The review process provides a peer review of both regulatory, technical and policy issues and is suitable for any IAEA member state, regardless of the level of development of its activities and practices that involve ionizing radiation or nuclear programmes.

Bangladesh started construction of its first nuclear power reactor in 2017, with a scheduling commission set for 2023.

While in Asia, Mark and his international colleagues are liaising closely with the Bangladesh Atomic Energy Regulatory Authority (BAERA), the nuclear regulator in that country.

Mark said: “IRRS missions have an important role in helping a country to strengthen and enhance the effectiveness of its regulatory infrastructure, for nuclear, radiation, radioactive waste and transport safety. They also help to ensure that international standards set by the IAEA are being followed and maintained.

“I feel privileged and pleased to be the Team Leader for this mission and look forward to working alongside colleagues from across the world to review Bangladesh’s legal and governmental framework, regulatory infrastructure and practices.”

The report produced at the end of the mission will be given to the BAERA with the conclusions later published on the IAEA website.