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Workshop to learn the lessons from IRRS missions

The Office for Nuclear Regulation (ONR) attended an International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) workshop to consider improvements to peer review missions which enhance the effectiveness of member state’s regulatory infrastructure for nuclear, radiation, radioactive waste and transport safety.

The two-day workshop in Vienna was also an opportunity to learn lessons from Integrated Regulatory Review Service (IRRS) missions, and was attended by Mark Foy, ONR’s Chief Executive and Chief Nuclear Inspector.

Mark said: “The workshop provided a platform for IRRS Team Leaders to exchange information, experiences and lessons learned from previous missions.

“The event was also an opportunity to discuss the future expectations for the IRRS programme and to explore further improvements in the planning, focus and implementation of forthcoming missions.

“IRRS missions have become one of the most visible and successful peer review services offered by the IAEA to the member states. This service is recognised as a key instrument to improve global nuclear and radiation safety.”

Requests for IRRS missions have significantly increased during recent years.

Since the first mission was held in 2006, more than 130 IRRS initial and follow-up missions have been conducted, involving about 120 international experts each year.

In 2019, the UK government formally invited the IAEA to conduct a full-scope IRRS mission, which was hosted by ONR.

For the first time, it included all regulatory bodies from the UK involved in regulating dutyholders working with ionising radiations. It also involved relevant government departments who have responsibility for policy and who sponsor the regulatory bodies.

Following the mission, a report was published, which included good practice observed, recommendations and suggestions.

A follow-up mission to the UK will take place in January 2024. This will involve a smaller team of IAEA experts reviewing the progress that has been made during the last four years in addressing the findings and aligning with international good practice.