IAEA study examines radiation safety for traveling plant workers

The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) recently issued a report, "Radiation Protection of Itinerant Workers," which addresses current safety procedures and rules for nuclear-industry employees who are working at multiple nuclear facilities.

The agency said that due to the transient nature of some nuclear workers, regular screenings may not be completed. In-house employees at nuclear plants are regularly screened for the amount of radiation they have been exposed to and whether that amount is above levels considered to be safe.

“This safety report takes into account the substantial changes in requirements and practices in occupational radiation protection that have occurred over the past decade,”Jizeng Ma, head of the Occupational Radiation Protection Unit at IAEA, said. “Before developing these safety guidelines, we had to get enough good examples to assess the levels of radiation exposure that these workers could face, and this specific report provides clearly defined safety guidance that regulatory authorities need to follow for the ‘mobile workers’ who carry out specific tasks in the nuclear sector or in medical sectors.”

Workers who travel from facility to facility are often performing maintenance or specialized tasks that can include the transportation of radioactive waste, scale and sediment removal, and loading and unloading of radioactive items from irradiation plants. The IAEA said high-quality safety procedures and adherence to these procedures at all organizational levels are key to ensuring safety of full and contracted workers alike.

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International Atomic Energy Agency

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