The Safety Investigation Authority’s report contributes to the development of radiation practices
The Radiation and Nuclear Safety Authority (STUK) considers the Safety Investigation Authority’s investigation report on last spring’s cesium incident very useful. In the incident, a damaged radiation source leaked in the premises of a company that handles small quantities of radioactive waste. The company operated in the same property as STUK and, consequently, the incident resulted in significant decontamination measures also in STUK’s premises as some of the official operations of STUK require a perfectly clean laboratory and measurement environment. The leak did not have any health effects.
STUK requested the Safety Investigation Authority (SIA) to conduct an investigation in order to learn all possible lessons from the incident and to be able to develop its own operations as an authority as well as practices and safety culture in the entire field. According to Petteri Tiippana, Director General of STUK, the conclusions and recommendations of this report are highly relevant for the entire field in which STUK operates and they will be taken into account in the ongoing radiation legislation renewal, for instance.
“We want to act in the way we require others to act, i.e. openly and courageously, questioning and developing our operations. The findings related to official supervision and authorities’ preparedness to act and communicate in similar situations may also be relevant for other supervisory authorities,” says Petteri Tiippana.
During the past year, STUK has also assessed its operations in-house and, among other actions, renewed the supervision of currently used and decommissioned radiation sources as well as their handling and storage guidelines. In addition, STUK has actively shared information and lessons learnt from the incident in events organised for the users of radiation and in international radiation safety cooperation groups.
Waste management to cover all radioactive waste
STUK finds it important that the report supports the goal of expanding national waste management to cover the handling and final disposal of all types of radioactive waste. The Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment will be leading efforts to find a handling and final disposal solution also for low and intermediate-level radioactive waste generated by operations other than nuclear power generation. At the moment, nuclear power companies are only authorized to handle waste resulting from their own operations.
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