IAEA - International Atomic Energy Agency


IAEA is an independent intergovernmental, science and technology-based organisation, in the United Nations family, that serves as the global focal point for nuclear co-operation. It assists its Member States in planning for and using nuclear science and technology for peaceful purposes, develops nuclear safety standards, promotes the achievement and maintenance of high levels of safety in applications of nuclear energy, as well as the protection of human health and the environment against ionising radiation. The main division concerned with radiological protection is the Division of Radiation and Waste Safety. The programme of work includes the control of radiation doses to workers, to members of the public and to patients undergoing medical procedures involving radiation. It also covers the safety and security of radiation sources and radioactive materials to prevent accidents or misuse, interventions in emergencies and radiation accidents to mitigate the consequences, the safe transport of radioactive materials, the safe management of radioactive wastes and intervention in chronic exposure situations.

IRPA is an observer on the main committee overseeing the development of standards, the Radiation Safety Standards Committee (RASSC). It is also currently discussing with IAEA mechanisms by which IRPA could assist the IAEA in making contact with suitably qualified experts to assist in the provision of technical assistance to developing countries.

Web site: http://www.iaea.org/worldatom/

Information on the radiation safety programme can be found at www.iaea.org/ns/rasanet/.


The IAEA produces publications in a different types of documents, depending on the purpose and intended audience. The Safety Standards Series comprises publications of a regulatory nature covering nuclear safety, radiation protection, radioactive waste management, the transport of radioactive materials, the safety of nuclear fuel cycle facilities and quality assurance. They are developed by technical representatives of the Agency Member States. Where appropriate, the IAEA may develop Standards Series documents that are jointly sponsored by other organizations (ILO, WHO, OECD/NEA, etc.). The Safety Standards Series is a hierarchical structure comprising:

  • Fundamentals provide the rationale for safety requirements but do not state what these requirements are. There are currently three Fundamentals documents and that relating to radiation protection is: Radiation Protection and the Safety of Sources, SS 120, 1996.
  • Requirements specify basic requirements that must be satisfied in order to ensure safety. The most important Requirements document in the radiation protection area is the International Basic Safety Standards for Protection against Ionizing Radiation and for the Safety of Radiation Sources, SS 115, 1996. This is now supplemented by a specific Requirement in the General Series published during the recent RASSC meeting: Preparedness and Response for Nuclear and Radiological Emergencies, GS-R-2, 2002. There are also General Series Requirements documents that apply to all areas of safety of which the main one published is Legal and Governmental Infrastructure for Nuclear, Radiation, Radioactive Waste and Transport Safety, GS-R-1, 2000.
  • Safety Guides give information on how to achieve the objectives laid down in the Requirements documents. Radiation Safety Guides currently published are:
    • Occupational Radiation Protection, RS-G-1.1, 1999
    • Assessment of Occupational Exposure due to Intakes of Radionuclides, RS-G-1.2, 1999
    • Assessment of Occupational Exposure due to External Sources of Radiation, RS-G-1.3, 1999
    • Building Competence in Radiation Protection and the Safe Use of Radiation Sources, RS-G-1.4, 2001
    • Radiological Protection for Medical Exposure to Ionizing Radiation, RS-G-1.5, 2002.
    • In addition a Safety Guide in the Nuclear Safety Series has just been published:
      Radiation Protection and Radioactive Waste Management in the Operation of Nuclear Power Plants NS-G-2.7 (2002)

The Agency also produces Technical Reports and Safety Reports that are intended to be reference documents on the technical aspects of safety-related issues. The less formal TECDOCs are aimed at very specific topic areas.