Radioactive sources are regularly deployed in fields as diverse as the health sector, agriculture and livestock production, and industrial research. When these sources fall outside of regulatory control, however, they could pose a risk to the public and to the environment. Within the framework of an ongoing, interregional technical cooperation (TC) project, the IAEA recently held a training course in Morocco to strengthen the capacity of its Member States to exercise lifelong control over Disused Sealed Radioactive SOurces (DSRS).
Many countries face challenges in the management of sources which have reached the end of their lifespan. When such sources no longer emit sufficient radiation for their designed purpose—whether in radiotherapy procedures, veterinary analysis, or in industrial contexts—they must undergo a lengthy process of recycling, or disposal. This lifelong control is referred to as the ‘cradle-to-grave’ management approach, and the IAEA works closely with its Member States to ensure that this approach is applied to both Sealed Radioactive Sources (SRS) and DSRS with equal diligence.
With co-funding from the European Union, Spain and the United States of America, the IAEA launched a project in 2016 which is supporting Member States as they enshrine the cradle-to-grave approach into national policies and strategies for radiation safety and radioactive waste management. As part of the capacity building activities, a series of four interregional training events are addressing the handling of Category 3 – 5 DSRS. The third in this series was recently hosted by the National Centre for Nuclear Energy and Technology (CNESTEN) of Morocco. Ten participants were selected to undergo practical hands-on training including theoretical lectures followed by a series of practical exercises.
Participants were guided through the process of dismantling, characterisation, conditioning, preparation of waste packages, characterisation and segregation, and finally, compaction of solid radioactive waste, all of which is applicable to disused sources.
This course is part of ongoing IAEA efforts to promote best practices and knowledge-sharing to enable participating Member States to enhance their capacities in the cradle-to-grave control of radioactive sources.