Swedish Radiation Safety Authority Shares Experience on Physical Protection of Radiation Sources

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On 4 October 2016, Jan Soderman, representative of the Swedish Radiation Safety Authority (SSM), spoke on requirements for physical protection of high-level radioactive sources in Sweden. The presentation was held within XIII Ukrainian Conference on Physical Protection, Accounting and Control of Nuclear Materials. The event started on 3 October and was held in Netishyn (Khmelnytsk Oblast) at the scientific and training center of Khmelnitsky NPP.

First, the Swedes decided to strengthen physical protection of high-level radioactive sources. “The priority was given to Cesium-137 with activity of 2 TBq and higher. Certainly, we have other radioactive sources, but the issue of their regulation will be considered in the longer term”, said SSM expert.

According to Jan Soderman, 13 hospitals, 12 universities and industrial facilities are owners of Cesium-137 in Sweden. The Swedish Radiation Safety Authority managed to convince five of them to abandon the use of radioactive element. Constant monitoring will be performed at other twenty facilities.

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SSM established requirements for physical protection of high-level radioactive sources: availability of two physical barriers or the so-called room inside the room, specific requirements for building structures, comprehensive protection of the perimeter, installation of highly effective locks, alarms, etc.

The Swedish Radiation Safety Authority sets the requirements for owners of radioactive sources to have relevant plan for the system of physical protection. “I want to note that we do not approve this plan as a comprehensive document. We consider only its separate components. The burden on SSM is currently major. We are unable to approve 20 plans in full volume”, said Jan Soderman.

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According to his words, after approval of the plan, any amendments to it can no longer be made. During inspections, SSM inspectors find our whether the real situation corresponds to the physical protection plan.

“Another quite essential requirement for physical protection is the administrative one. We believe that every owner of the enterprise or organization where Cesium-137 is used shall have a true professional or even several professionals in his team dealing with physical protection. The Agency applies a lot of procedures to check competence of such a professional”, concluded Jan Soderman. He added that exchange of experience with Ukrainian colleagues is very important for further development of physical protection regulation.

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