Many NEA member countries are facing problems with radiologically contaminated legacy sites and installations. There are many examples of how different legacy issues are managed in various countries, applying different approaches and standards. To address the need for more practical guidance on regulation of radiation protection at legacy sites the Committee on Radiological Protection and Public Health (CRPPH) agreed, during its 74th Meeting held in Paris in April 2016, to create the Expert Group on Legacy Management (EGLM).
The main objective of the EGLM is to promote a practical and optimised approach for the regulatory supervision of nuclear legacy sites and installations, taking into account the results of other NEA activities such as the Expert Group on Fukushima Waste Management and Decommissioning R&D (EGFWMD), the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Safety Fundamentals, the International Basic Safety Standards and the relevant IAEA guidance documents, the relevant existing and the new International Commission on Radiological Protection (ICRP) recommendations, as well as the experience of good practice at different types of legacy sites.
During the 4th Science and Values workshop, held in Russia, and again during the Norwegian Radiation Protection Authority (NRPA) workshop on Regulatory Supervision of Legacy Sites: from Recognition to Resolution, the issue of legacy site management was discussed. The following key points were raised:
There are many major legacy sites and installations of different kinds across NEA member countries. Many were created before, or arose outside, current recommendations and guidance on radiological protection (RP), or were the result of accidents or neglect.
Little or no guidance has been prepared at the international level, which addresses in an integrated manner the application of international recommendations and standards on disparate aspects of RP to legacy site and installation management.
Practical guidance addressing issues such as the following would be useful:
applying recommendations from existing and planned exposure scenarios applied to the same site; in particular, establishing criteria (e.g. dose limits, reference levels, activity levels for waste management, etc.) for the management of legacy site remediation activities;
developing communication strategies for outreach (e.g. to potentially affected populations living in the vicinity of legacy sites);
identifying RP standards needed to develop coherent and optimised approaches for regulatory oversight and site management (especially anything beyond IAEA GSR Part 7 and GSG-2).
Assist NEA member countries in deriving practical interpretation and application of generic radiation protection guidance to nuclear legacy site management and other existing exposure situations, and will develop or support the development of international guidance specific to the regulation of nuclear legacy sites.
Enhance safety and security culture as it applies to legacy sites and make transparent the application of the principle of optimisation in the context of the regulation of legacy sites.
Address specific situations at real sites within NEA member countries.
Support a holistic approach to all the risks, to which end it may be appropriate to include international organisations concerned with chemical and other risks, including other parts of the OECD, but also the UN Environment Programme and the World Health Organisation.
Consider risk management by developing a better understanding of the diverse types of radiation-induced risk to diverse groups of people on diverse temporal and spatial scales. The regulation process faces important challenges in accommodating these issues.