Office for Nuclear Regulation

ONR experts represent UK at IAEA Safety Standards Committees

9 June, 2023

The Office for Nuclear Regulation (ONR) this week represented the UK at two International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Safety Standards Committees relating to transport and waste.

In total, the IAEA has five Safety Standards Committees (SSC):

  • The Emergency Preparedness and Response Standards Committee (EPReSC);
  • The Nuclear Safety Standards Committee (NUSSC);
  • The Radiation Safety Standards Committee (RASSC);
  • The Transport Safety Standards Committee (TRANSSC); and
  • The Waste Safety Standards Committee (WASSC).

These committees comprise standing bodies of senior representatives in their respective areas.

They are open to all IAEA Member States and established by the Deputy Director General, Head of the Department of Nuclear Safety and Security.

The committees make recommendations on the IAEA’s programme for the development, review and revision of safety standards and on activities to support the use and application of these standards.

They provide feedback to the IAEA on its safety programmes and areas for improvement, with a view to achieving greater transparency, consensus, quality, coherence and consistency in the development of IAEA safety standards.

Paul Dicks, ONR’s Director of Regulation for Sellafield, Decommissioning Fuel and Waste, and Louise Gray, Professional Lead for Nuclear Liabilities Regulation, participated in the WASSC.

Kate Hughes-Gill and Christopher Jones, principal inspectors from the ONR Transport Competent Authority, participated in the TRANSSC.

During these meetings, committee members:

  • Progressed development of the IAEA safety standards;
  • Discussed strategies to improve the development of the IAEA safety standards;
  • Agreed the SSC work agenda for the next term in the medium term plan;
  • Received an update on the progress of phase 1, and the status of phase 2, of the analysis on maintaining safety and security during armed conflicts;
  • Participated in a topical session during WASSC focused on Small Modular Reactors and advanced nuclear technologies; and
  • Were updated on denial of shipment working group progress.

Paul said: “These meetings are challenging but rewarding, and each time significant progress is made in supporting the further strengthening of the international framework for nuclear safety, security and safeguards.”

Five members of the UK delegations to the IAEA SSCs standing in front of a column covered in member state flags at the IAEA headquarters in Vienna.

Left to right: Tiberio Cabianca (UK Health Security Agency), who provides expert advice as part of the UK delegation at TRANSSC; and ONR colleagues Kate Hughes-Gill, Christopher Jones, Louise Gray and Paul Dicks.