State Enterprise UDVP Isotope and State Register of Radiation Sources

To date, the State Register of Radiation Sources (Register) is a unified system for accounting and control of radiation sources in Ukraine. The Register operates on the basis of the State Enterprise UDVP Isotope and is coordinated by the State Nuclear Regulatory Inspectorate.

We will interview Oleksiy Shevtsov, Head of the State Register of Radiation Sources, First Deputy Director of UDVP Isotope, on the Register upgrading, challenges currently faced by the management, as well as other activities of the enterprise.  

Head of the State Register of Radiation Sources, First Deputy Director of UDVP Isotope Oleksiy Shevtsov

 – Mr. Shevtsov, when the State Register of Radiation Sources was established?

 – The decision to establish the Register was made by the Government of Ukraine in 1997; however, the funds were allocated only in 2004.

Thus, the State Register of Radiation Sources was established on premises of a separate division of our enterprise in September 2004.  

– Why is the Register coordinated by SNRIU but operated on premises of the State Enterprise UDVP Isotope?

 – It was the decision of the Government in 1997.

– The department of UDVP Isotope that supervises operation of the State Register of Radiation Sources has been headed by Borys Horemykin until recently. Who heads it now?

– Borys Horemykin was Director of the Main Register Center (name of the UDVP Isotope division ed.) from the very beginning of its establishment until the end of 2017. Unfortunately, Borys Horemykin is no longer with us. Thus, Natalia Mykhailenko heads the center.  

In general, the UDVP Isotope ensures operation of the Main Register Center and regional centers, keeps accounting, arranges the development and submission of necessary documents for Register funding, develops reports and proposals to improve operation and development of the Register. 

– How many staff members manage the Register?

– There are five experts in the Main Register Center and four experts in the Register regional centers.  

– What information is entered into the Register?

 – The Register includes information on radiation sources generated on the territory of Ukraine, imported from abroad and transported abroad. In addition, the Register contains full information on radiation source owners.

In other words, the State Register of Radiation Sources includes information on all radiation sources for a period since their generation on the territory of Ukraine until their export or transfer to the specialized radwaste management plant; as well as the information on generators until their life expiration.

All radiation sources exempt from regulatory control are subject to registration in the Register. The established levels of exemption from regulatory control according to the total and specific activity comply with the recommended IAEA levels.

The main task of the Register is to provide accounting and control of radiation sources in situ and during their transfer, which is one of the factors for implementing the state safeguards for radiation protection of the public on the territory of Ukraine, following the international safety regimes, assisting in effective combat against illicit trafficking of radiation sources and strengthening their physical protection. 

– Are there similar registers in other countries?

 – Similar registers exist almost in all developed countries performing the activities related to nuclear energy use.

– IC-Register was upgraded with support of the Swedish Radiation Safety Authority in 2015-2016. What exactly has been done?

 –Indeed, the staff of the State Scientific and Technical Center for Nuclear and Radiation Safety (SSTC NRS) in cooperation with Register experts successfully completed the IC-Register upgrading in 2015-2016.

This information system has been in operation since September 2004. IC-Register upgrading required improvement and simplification of registration card forms for radiation sources, purchasing modern office equipment, system software installation and modernization of the existing applied software.

SNRIU requested assistance from the Swedish Radiation Safety Authority (SSM) in view of difficulties with budget financing. In response, SSM representatives supplied modern computer software to Ukraine for further Register modernization. Ukraine received a server, 10 computers with installed Windows 7 operating system and Office Pro Plus 2013 application, 11 monitors, 8 multifunction devices, a printer, 13 uninterruptible power supply units, consumables, etc.

SNRIU experts in cooperation with Register experts successfully completed developing new forms of radiation source registration cards in 2015.

The regulatory pressure on users of radiation sources has significantly decreased to date due to IC-Register modernization and implementation of simplified registration cards. The registration form included six pages before 2015 and 1.5 page after its simplification. This contributes to qualitative form filling by the owners of radiation sources; the number of refusals of registration because of low-quality registration cards was reduced to a minimum.

– What challenges faced Director of the Main Register Center?

– The main challenge is currently insufficient funding of the State Register of Radiation Sources.

We had to dismiss the heads of the Regional Register Centers in the city of Rivne, Ivano-Frankivsk and Donetsk in 2015. The leading expert of the Main Register Center was also dismissed.

If the financing situation will not change, we will have to continue staff reduction after minimum wage increase. Given the scope of activities carried out by the Register staff, this will complicate accounting and control of radiation sources.

 The need to update the regulations ensuring operation of the Register is also a challenge. First, the Procedure for State Registration of Radiation Sources approved by Government Resolution No. 1718 of 16 November 2000 and other documents regulating the Register need to be updated.

–Experts have an opinion that developing a unified state system for control and accounting of individual exposure doses in Ukraine is advisable due to the expansion of the functions and powers of the State Register of Radiation Sources. What do you think about this? Do you conduct any activities in this area?

 – The development of the system for control and accounting of individual exposure doses is undoubtedly very important for Ukraine; but, at the same time, it is not easy.

 The activities in this area have been started in 2015.

With regard to the expansion of the functions and powers of the State Register of Radiation Sources for the development of the unified state system for monitoring and accounting of individual exposure doses, I can say that the State Register of Radiation Sources does not have currently appropriate hardware and software to implement this task. The software should be upgraded and adapted to develop the dose register.    

In addition, UDVP Isotope is subordinated to the Ministry of Economic Development and Trade of Ukraine; it has clearly defined the objectives and tasks, but human resources are limited. This all excludes a key role of our enterprise in the development of this system. As for the activities entrusted to us by Resolution of the Cabinet of Ministers No. 379, we will surely implement them.   

– Mr. Shevtsov, what activities does UDVP Isotope perform in addition to operation of the State Register of Radiation Sources?

– UDVP Isotope is a specialized enterprise established in 1962 to supply, implement and maintain radiation sources, equipment, tools and technologies that use radiation sources.

Radioisotope production for medical, scientific and industrial purposes, equipment and tools that use radiation sources are currently not produced in Ukraine. Therefore, one of the main tasks of our enterprise is purchasing these products from the leading manufacturers of Western and Central Europe, the USA, China, Canada and their further supply to the Ukrainian market. The list of these products is extensive, you can see it on our website.

The second important task of the enterprise is to provide services for transport and storage of radioisotope products, installation, dismantling, discharge, recharge, commissioning of radioisotope devices, gamma therapeutic equipment and other tools that use radiation sources, as well as their adjustment, repair and maintenance.

– Do you have competitors on the domestic market?

 – Our enterprise was the only one that provided these services in Ukraine until 1991. During the years of independence, the enterprise maintained its production relations with suppliers from the CIS and Europe, as well as significantly extended its production relations with the countries of Western and Central Europe.

At the same time, our enterprise is not a monopolist as of today; many private companies have appeared in the service market, which have permits to perform similar activities.

However, one can say with certainty that UDVP Isotope remains the leading enterprise in rendering the aforementioned services.

– As far as I know, you also collect the abandoned radiation sources in Ukraine. Tell us about this activity area.

 – UDVP Isotope received international technical assistance from the German Government in 2010-2017 under the project “Decommissioning of Irradiation Facilities and Safe Storage of Radiation Sources”.

The task of the enterprise under the project was to collect the spent and abandoned radiation sources in the enterprises and establishments of Ukraine that went bankrupt or were under difficult financial conditions and did not have sufficient funds to transfer these radiation sources to Radon SISPs according to the procedure established by the legislation of Ukraine. The handover of these radiation sources was free for the enterprises involved into this project.

Using the funds of the international technical assistance, our enterprise had to perform the whole range of activities for the preliminary inspection of radiation sources at the enterprises, their collection, packaging and transport to the industrial site of the enterprise for their discharge, inspection, sorting, placement in appropriate containers, safe storage and physical protection in a storage facility for isotopic products.

The collected radiation sources were transferred to SISP, if appropriate containers were available. 12,217 spent and abandoned radiation sources with a total activity of 15416.5 TBq were collected during the established period in 125 facilities in Ukraine. A part of radiation sources has already been transferred to SISP and will be further transferred, as appropriate containers will be available.

– What international projects do you have today?

– The Government of Sweden provides for the modernization of the radiation and dosimetric monitoring system of our enterprise under the international technical assistance project. This will significantly improve radiation safety and protect the personnel and visitors.   

A project on improving physical protection of the isotope products of UDVP Isotope is at the stage of technical specification development. The U.S. Government will finance this project. It will allow compliance of the physical protection level of radiation sources on the site of the enterprise with the best world standards. I hope the project will be implemented this year.

We also have a reason to hope that the German Government will continue funding the project “Decommissioning of Irradiation Facilities and Safe Storage of Radiation Sources” in Ukraine.

– Mr. Shevtsov, what is the future of UDVP Isotope in ten years?

 – I hope the profile of our enterprise will not change in ten years. It is difficult to say what will happen in the future because a large scope of new scientific knowledge appears very quickly and all equipment and applied technologies are under improvement, especially in the field of medical radiology.

Our enterprise should be up-to-date and aware of scientific and technical achievements, participate in the development and implementation of modern technologies, and cooperate with new partners and manufacturers of modern equipment.  

There is a hope that Ukraine will have national manufacturers of isotope products with time. The activities in this area are under continuation at the Kyiv Nuclear Research Institute of the National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine and Kharkiv KIPT. Cooperation with Ukrainian manufacturers of radioisotope products would significantly facilitate the operation of our enterprise related to planning of product purchase, transport and supply to the clients; it would also positively affect its cost.

We hope that our enterprise will hold a leading position in this sphere, fit the times and be successful in ten years. Editorial Board