At the time of this project, there were more than 40 reactor units in operation at 15 sites in Russia (9), Ukraine (5) and Kazakhstan (1), and the spent fuel policy (reprocessing, off-site storage or on-site storage) and the transportation of irradiated nuclear fuel represented an important part within the nuclear fuel cycle of each country. The transport of irradiated nuclear fuel to the reprocessing plant, or to the fuel storage facility was of particular importance because of the adherence to the safety requirements that must prevail during the operations. These safety requirements have to ensure the same level of protection for the workers, the environment and the public, regardless of the transport mode selected.
Following a meeting held in Moscow in October 93 between representatives of the Russian Ministry of Atomic Energy (Minatom), the Russian Utility Rosenergoatom and the European Commission (EC), an agreement was reached concerning the programme of regional projects and its financing by the TACIS 93 budget. The TACIS 93 regional projects for nuclear safety agreed upon included three projects devoted to the safe transport of radioactive material:
- G4.1/93A: Transport of irradiated nuclear fuel in the CIS (see Contract 23395);
- G4.1/93B: Safe Transport of Natural and Low Enriched Uranium in the CIS (see Contract 23258);
- G4.1/93C: Joint IAEA/EC course on safe transport of radioactive material (this contract);
By letter of 30 May 1994, addressed to the TACIS Co-ordinating Units of Ukraine, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan, as well as to Minatom in Russia, as a complement to projects G4.1/93A & B, a course on the safe transport of radioactive material, combined with visits to corresponding facilities was proposed, which was to be jointly organized with the IAEA.
The project was implemented by the Institut de protection et de sûreté nucléaire (IPSN) of France, who organised and hosted the course in collaboration with the IAEA.
The Beneficiaries of the course were officials of national regulatory bodies and managers or technical staff from organizations undertaking the transport of radioactive materials in the CIS.
The course involved lectures, practical exercises, discussions and technical visits to facilities in France.
Subject areas covered included:
- Philosophy and provisions contained in the IAEA's Transport Regulations and their supporting guides and technical documents;
- Implementation of the Transport Regulations in the codes of international regulatory organizations for specific transport modes;
- Radiation protection concepts in relation to radioactive material transports;
- Practical and operational aspects in radioactive material transport relating to:
- design of packages;
- testing for regulatory compliance purposes;
- preparation for transport;
- radiation protection controls;
- compliance and quality assurance;
- administrative procedures;
- Exchange of information regarding competent authority implementation of the Regulations.
Technical visits took place to:
- COGEMA, La Hague;
- Eurodiff, Pierrelatte;
- FBFC (Franco-Belge de Fabrication du Combustible – Fuel element manufacture), Pierrelatte;
- COGEMA, Pierrelatte
- ANDRA (Centre de stockage de l'Aube – Surface storage of short-lived low and intermediate level radioactive waste), Aube