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Nuclear Safety Cooperation

Support to the Regulatory Body of Iraq on Radioactive Waste Management, decommissioning of Nuclear Facilities and Remediation of Contaminated Sites IQ.3.01/14

  • Closed
Benefitting Zone
Middle East
€ 1,418,500.36
EU Contribution
Contracted in 2016
Instrument for Nuclear Safety Cooperation II


Type of activity

Regulatory Authorities



Contracting authority

European Commission

Method of Procurement

(FR2012) (Ext. act) Service - Exceptional Negotiated Procedure with a single offer


10/02/2016 - 09/02/2020


Ministry of Science and Technology in Iraq



Project / Budget year

Iraq - Instrument for Nuclear Safety Cooperation 2014 / 2014


Iraq had a significant nuclear programme in the past. As a result of 1991 bombing significant damage and also looting occurred at the nuclear sites, and in particular at Al-Tuwaita site, where 18 nuclear facilities were located. The subsequent actions taken by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) further reduced the use of nuclear installations in the country. In 2004 the IAEA launched the Iraq Decommissioning Project (IDP) with the aim to assist Iraq in planning for and decommissioning of the existing nuclear facilities, radioactive waste management, remediation of contaminated sites, as well as drafting the relevant legal and regulatory framework. IDP has been supported by the US State Department and coordinated by the IAEA. Ten sites and two mines were evaluated with particular focus on Al-Tuwaitha and Adaya sites. With international support significant progress has been made in the decommissioning of a number of nuclear facilities at the Al-Tuwaitha site. 

The Ministry of Science and Technology (MoST) is the Operator of the nuclear facilities in Iraq, while the Ministry of Environment (MoE) is in charge of radiological surveys in the country. In consequence, MoST and MoE are the relevant national authorities involved in the decommissioning and radioactive waste management activities.

A national policy for radioactive waste management has been drafted and was expected to be finalized by MoST in 2013. A draft strategy for radioactive waste management was also in preparation taking into account the national policy for radioactive waste management. 

The Radiation Protection Centre (RPC) is a part MoEN and it is the competent authority recognized by the Iraqi government as the regulatory authority for licensing and control of the use of radioactive materials and sources in Iraq. RPC is also responsible for all environmental issues related to contamination from radioactive materials.

 At the time of this IQ3.01/14 project, Iraq was considering the construction of a radioactive waste disposal facility at the Al-Tuwaitha site, about 30 km from Bagdad. The near-surface disposal facility is intended for disposal of low and intermediate level waste from past activities in Iraq, as well as future radioactive waste to be produced in the country. The design for this planned facility was the subject of the INSC IQ4.01/11 project, while this regulatory assistance project IQ3.01/14 dealt with the design review and licensing aspects of the new disposal facility.


The overall objective of the project was to enhance the overall capabilities of the RPC and its personnel in all aspects of their mission, including improvement of the regulatory infrastructure, the licensing process and licensee oversight, the regulation and oversight of nuclear safety and radiation protection of radioactive waste (RW) management activities, decommissioning and remediation. The aim was to achieve, in all the regulatory activities, a level of efficiency in line with international standards, and consistent with the best practice of EU and the recommendations of the IAEA.

The specific objectives of the project were the following:

 a) Support to the development of a regulatory guidance on

 (i) decommissioning of nuclear and other facilities using radioactive material; 

(ii) clearance of material from regulatory control and release of site for unconditional and conditional use; 

(iii) safe management of radioactive waste prior, during and after disposal; and 

(iv) remediation of facilities and sites from past practices.

 b) Support to the licensing of the new near-surface radioactive waste disposal facility; 

c) Support to the inspection of radioactive waste disposal facilities;

d) Building capacity of the Regulatory Body staff in the field of waste management, decommissioning and remediation.


In addition to task 1 “Project management” and task 6 “Final report and dissemination of results”, the project consisted of following four technical tasks:

 Task 2: Support in the development of regulatory guidance, made of two subtasks for regulations and guides respectively; 

Task 3: Support in the licensing of the new near-surface radioactive waste disposal facility; 

Task 4: Support in the inspection of radioactive waste disposal facilities; 

Task 5: Capacity building of the Regulatory Body staff in the field of waste management, decommissioning and remediation, made of two subtasks, one for the development of a training program and the other one for the implementation of the training program and the participation by RPC personnel in international conferences. The results of the project tasks are briefly summarised below.

TASK 2: SUPPORT IN THE DEVELOPMENT OF REGULATORY GUIDANCE The task was split in two sub-tasks, the first for regulations and the second for guides. In the first sub-task, a full review of regulations chosen together with RPC was made, and in addition the Contractor suggested a regulatory framework to RPC and provided advice on the RPC approach to regulatory activities, in particular for licensing. A training session was organised in Istanbul on drafting regulations. In the second sub-task, 12 regulatory guides were developed. Each guide contains 1) a general part, based on the IAEA safety standards and other documents, national guides from countries the members of Consortium come from, and other documents of similar character; and 2) a more specific part with examples for respective activity or facility, developed specifically for the anticipated needs of RPC and licensees.

TASK 3: SUPPORT IN THE LICENSING OF THE NEW NEAR-SURFACE RADIOACTIVE WASTE DISPOSAL FACILITY The aim of the task was to review the safety documentation provided by the Operator to the Regulatory Body in support of the application for approval of the facility design, first during the Preliminary Safety Approval phase, then during the Final Safety Approval phase. The work was dependent on the progress of the project IQ4.01/11 project, both for Preliminary Safety Assessment Report (PSAR) and the Final Safety Assessment Report (FSAR). In this task, the Pre-Construction Safety Assessment Report (PCSAR) was reviewed. The review started later than planned, as the RPC received the licensing documents in February 2019 instead of December 2016 as initially planned. During this waiting period, time was used to provide advice to RPC for preparing it to meet the legitimate expectations of the license applicant (MoST) and its technical support (NUKEM) towards the regulator. Although it was originally planned to review the Final Safety Assessment Report (FSAR), it could not be done because of delays in delivering the PSCAR. The FSAR is an update of PSCAR, and is generally submitted at least one year after PSCAR’s first submission for review. In the view of increasing human technical capabilities, RPC experts participated in a training session on a modelling code used by MoST to perform the long-term safety assessment of the Al-Tuwaitha disposal facility. Further, RPC experts participated in a training session on another long-term safety assessment modelling code, to be used by RPC.

TASK 4: SUPPORT IN THE INSPECTION OF RADIOACTIVE WASTE DISPOSAL FACILITIES The approach used for the transfer of experience and knowledge related to inspection consisted in acquiring hands-on experience of inspection of RW storage or disposal sites through visits of operating disposal facilities in Europe and in Iraq, and the description of inspection practice in these countries by regulators and operators. Within this task, three technical visits were organised: one in Czech Republic and the other two in France, with the visits of disposal facilities in both countries. During the visits in France, inspections were prepared and mock-up inspections were organised.

TASK 5: CAPACITY BUILDING OF THE REGULATORY BODY STAFF IN THE FIELD OF WASTE MANAGEMENT, DECOMMISSIONING AND REMEDIATION In order to provide training to the RPC staff members involved in regulation and oversight of existing and future Iraqi waste management facilities, and of decommissioning and remediation activities, the Contractor developed a training program for RPC needs. Eight training sessions covering 20 various topics were organised between September 2017 and July 2018. The eight sessions were:

• International approach for radioactive waste management

• Development of regulations

• Safety assessment of near-surface RW disposal facilities 

• Inspections 

• Licensing (authorisations) and enforcement of nuclear installations 

• Decommissioning 

• Communication, emergency preparedness, international cooperation, quality management system, remediation and release criteria selection 

• Safety cases for radioactive waste, pre-disposal facilities and remedial activities

 Thirty-one training days were organised and 63 RPC personnel participated (32 different people were trained as some people participated in several training sessions). 

The participation of RPC in three international conferences was also organised. These were the IAEA 60th and 61st General Conferences in Vienna (2016 and 2017), and the IAEA International Conference on the Safety of Radioactive Waste Management, (November 2016), with one RPC participant to each