IAEA General Conference Endorses IRPA12
The 12th International IRPA Congress - IRPA12 - has received unexpected support from its Member State governments. On September 22, 2006, the 142 States participating in the General Conference of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) approved Resolution GC(50)/RES/10 which includes a request to support IRPA12.
Resolution GC(50)/RES/10 (in its operative paragraph 35), after noting ‘the forthcoming XIIth Congress of the International Radiation Protection Association, “Strengthening Radiation Protection Worldwide” (IRPA 12), which will take place in Buenos Aires in October 2008’, in fact ‘encourages the [IAEA] Secretariat to support the dissemination of information arising from this event and to support the participation of developing countries…’.
It is the first time in the history of the IRPA Congresses that governments have taken such an unprecedented step. It may indicate a renewed political interest in radiation protection and safety. Notably, the decision was made in the highest body of the IAEA, which is recognized as the ‘nuclear watchdog’ within the United Nations system. The IAEA was awarded the 2005 Nobel Peace Prize for its efforts (emi>inter alia) ‘to ensure that nuclear energy for peaceful purposes is used in the safest possible way’.
This Governmental decision is good news for the radiation protection profession worldwide, particularly for scientists from developing countries. It will now be easier for them to obtain support for attending IRPA12. It will also facilitate achieving the main IRPA12 goal: “Strengthening Radiation Protection Worldwide”.