IAEA post-mission on the Integrated Assessment of the Regulatory Infrastructure for Nuclear and Radiation Safety (IRRS) completed its nine-day work in Belarus. Over this time, the experts held a number of meetings and also visited the Belarusian nuclear power plant.
Anna Bradford, the Director of Nuclear Installation Safety Division of the International Atomic Energy Agency, explained, “We are conducting a partner assessment, but the responsibility for creating and maintaining nuclear safety rests with the state. Our task is to assess how the IAEA safety standards are being met and how the country is moving forward in this area. The work of the mission is structured in such a way that a group of experts is sent to assess the regulatory framework of the host country in accordance with the IAEA standards in the field of nuclear and radiation safety.”
The IRRS mission visited Belarus for the first time in 2016 and, as a result of it, a number of recommendations and suggestions were prepared. In December 2021, the experts assessed the level of their implementation. Actually, the mission focused on several areas this time – including regulatory infrastructure, sources of ionizing radiation, waste management issues, and medical radiation.
“The mission went very smoothly. The results are very inspiring. The country has fulfilled 22 of the 25 recommendations given earlier and 18 of the 20 proposals. This demonstrates the country’s firm commitment to safety principles. We have also prepared two new proposals related to Belarus’ transition to a new stage: a nuclear power plant is in operation now,” Ms. Bradford noted. “The IAEA calls for full implementation of these recommendations. At the same time, the IAEA highly appreciates the work of the Government, the Emergencies Ministry and other state agencies in terms of what has been done over the past five years. This confirms a desire for continuous improvement in the field of physical and nuclear security.”
According to Ms. Bradford, fulfilment of most recommendations and proposals confirms that – in case of commitment and proper leadership – significant improvements can be achieved in a relatively short period of time.
“We are grateful to you for an extensive preparatory work. Over nine days, we worked in the atmosphere of openness and sincere exchange of opinions. It is noteworthy that the post-mission takes place in times of the pandemic, and this atmosphere of openness even greater demonstrates the state's commitment to safety principles," Bradford stressed.