Safety development in Radiological and Nuclear protection techniques
The worldwide use of man-made ionising radiation and radioactive sources is now widespread and increasing. The use of nuclear techniques continues to grow and benefit society in various industries:
- Oil and Gas Exploration, Production and Distribution Operations, and
- Academic and Scientific Research.
Irradiation is used worldwide for many purposes, including preserving foods and sterilisation processes to eradicate diseases. Ionising radiation is widely used in the diagnosis and treatment of various conditions. Industrial radiography is widely used to examine welding and to detect cracks and microscopic bubbles in metallic pipes, tanks, and other devices to help prevent the failure of engineered structures.
However, scientists have discovered that exposure to an acute dose of ionising radiation can cause clinical damage to the human body’s cells due to DNA damage. In addition, long term studies of populations exposed to ionising radiation have demonstrated that such exposure can cause malignant growths. Due to these risks, all activities involving radiation exposure shall be subjected to specific National and international safety standards to protect radiation workers, the public and the environment from exposure to ionising radiation.
In recent years there has been an increase in the importation of radioactive sources used in different fields such as medicine, agriculture, industry, energy production, oil and gas and research.
The use of radioactive materials must be governed by the national entity of the country and the regulations imposed by the IAEA (International Atomic Energy Agency) for the safe usage and transportation of radioactive materials.
Those national authorities should be competent to set the rules of transportation, use, and disposal of radioactive sources. They should govern the licensing for the bodies of individuals and evaluate the import and export applications of radioactive sources or devices and the management of any radioactive wastes or emergencies.
Many of these authorities develop or are in the process of developing a regulatory framework for Radiation Protection Officers exam for those individuals who will manage the radioactive sources within their workplace.
Below is a list of the radiation and nuclear regulators in the Middle East and Europe.
- United Arab Emirates: The Federal Authority for Nuclear Regulation (FANR).
- Egypt: The Egyptian Nuclear and Radiological Regulatory Authority ().
- Oman: Oman Peaceful Nuclear Technology Office Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
- Qatar: Qatar Radiation & Chemical Protection Department Ministry of Environment.
- Bahrain: Bahrain Environmental Control Directorate.
- Saudia Arabia: Nuclear and Radiological Regulatory Commission (NRRC).
- Jordan: Jordan Nuclear Regulatory Commission.
- Kuwait: Kuwait Ministry of Health, Radiation Protection Department.
You can browse more of the international nuclear regulators from the links below.
One of the main requirements of international safety standards is that any installation that uses radiation sources shall appoint a Radiation Protection Officer (RPO). These are also known as Radiation Safety Officers (RSO) in other countries. Their primary roles are to oversee the application of the radiation protection requirements and the safety of radioactive sources. International regulations state that RPO’s shall be technically competent in scientific radiation protection and relevant organisational matters. A regulatory authority should license such regulations through a qualification examination, and this should be held periodically by the authority.
The educational level of an RPO will depend on the skills and technical requirements of the particular role and the radiation protection needs. Education to a secondary level should be the minimum requirement for an RPO for level gauges. However, for some applications, a tertiary educational level may be considered appropriate.
Successful applicants should study a curriculum that focuses on scientific and organisational topics to pass the examination process successfully. Such content may be a particular challenge for participants who have not got a background in specialised radiation physics.
CBRN Academy subject matter experts have designed a Radiation Protection Training Course and Course Manual to support candidates in this role. This course and the manuals will be available for all levels of experience. It will also be available for the refresher of Radiation Protection Officers in Medical, Industrial, Academic and Scientific Research Activities. This course provides the fundamental scientific and organisational curriculum necessary to support Radiation Protection Officers to pass the relevant examination process.
Roles that require the training of Radiation Protection Officers.
Contents of the Radiation Protection Officer Training Course
Training for Radiation Protection Officers will vary considerably depending on the radiation application, but all training should contain a certain amount of critical information on protection and safety. The depth to which each topic is covered should depend on where the person is training and consider the magnitude of potential hazards associated with the application.
RPO’s must have good skills in:
- Analytical capability,
- Technical knowledge of commonly used equipment/machines,
- Ability to multitask.
These skills will be developed during training through practical exercises.
The Radiation Protection Officer Training consist of two main parts
Part I: Scientific and Technical aspects of Radiation Protection.
Chapter 1: Radioactivity and radioactive decay.
Chapter 2: Interaction of radiation with matter.
Chapter 3: Radiation detectors, survey meters and monitors.
Chapter 4: Radiation measurement techniques, statistical fluctuations and exercises.
Chapter 5: Dosimetry quantities and their units.
Chapter 6: Biological effects of radiation.
Chapter 7: Dose Calculation.
Chapter 8: Radiation Shielding.
Chapter 9: Practical Radiation Protection in Medical Applications.
Chapter 10: Practical Radiation Protection in Industrial Applications.
Part II: Administrative and Organisational Aspects of Radiation Protection.
Chapter 11: General framework and Requirements for Radiation Protection.
Chapter 12: Responsibilities of Parties.
Chapter 13: National and International Dose limits.
Chapter 14: The radiation Protection Program (RPP).
Chapter 15: The safe transport of radioactive material.