IAEA Mission Says Indonesia Strengthened Nuclear and Radiation Safety

Representatives of the IAEA mission team and Indonesian counterparts during an IRRS follow-up review meeting . (Photo: IAEA)

An International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) team of experts said Indonesia has made progress in strengthening its regulatory framework for nuclear and radiation safety, addressing most of the recommendations made during an initial review in 2015. The team also noted areas for further enhancement, including the need to maintain and expand qualified staff to meet future needs.

The Integrated Regulatory Review Service (IRRS) team today concluded an 11-day follow-up mission to review Indonesia’s implementation of recommendations and suggestions made during an IRRS mission in August 2015. The mission was conducted at the request of the Indonesian Government and hosted by the country’s Nuclear Energy Regulatory Agency (BAPETEN).

IRRS missions are designed to strengthen the effectiveness of the national nuclear and radiation safety regulatory infrastructure, based on IAEA safety standards and international good practices, while recognizing the responsibility of each country to ensure nuclear and radiation safety.

Indonesia has no nuclear power plants, although it has conducted feasibility studies and infrastructure reviews for a potential nuclear power programme. The National Atomic Energy Agency (BATAN) operates three research reactors and a number of nuclear fuel cycle facilities. Radioactive sources are used in medical and industrial applications.

The mission team found that Indonesia has taken action in response to the recommendations and suggestions made in 2015 and continues to implement a framework for the effective protection of public health and safety. The country approved a national policy and strategy for nuclear safety and developed a comprehensive legislative framework that includes an amendment to the existing nuclear law from 1997.

The IRRS team also noted ongoing progress to strengthen regulatory oversight, such as updates to nuclear safety regulations and procedures, improvements in BAPETEN’s management system, staffing levels and competencies, the development of mechanisms for communication with the public and advances in emergency preparedness and response.

“Indonesia has made significant progress across many areas of nuclear and radiation safety since 2015,” said mission team leader Carl-Magnus Larsson, Chief Executive Officer of the Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Agency. “While work on alignment with IAEA safety standards is ongoing, the IRRS team noted Indonesia’s commitment to tackle future challenges, such as expansion of medical uses of radiation and the potential introduction of a nuclear power programme.”

The team issued three new recommendations and identified areas in need of additional action, including the further alignment of Indonesia’s legislative framework with IAEA safety standards, particularly for radioactive waste and spent fuel management, decommissioning and remediation, and for the control of medical and occupational exposures.

The team said that maintaining and further expanding staff competence and knowledge will be a continuous challenge to Indonesia, as the number of facilities using radiation grows, licence renewals for research reactors are expected in the near future, and the construction of power reactors is being considered.

The team noted that BAPETEN had instituted an award for licensees’ outstanding safety performance, which is posted annually on its website. The review team recognized the award as a good practice, as it provides an incentive for licensees to strengthen their safety culture.

“The follow-up IRRS review highlights the ongoing work in Indonesia to strengthen the national regulatory infrastructure for nuclear and radiation safety,” said BAPETEN Chairman Jazi Eko Istiyanto. “Indonesia strives to continuously upgrade the regulatory framework to address future challenges in relation to upcoming plans, such as construction and operation of the first nuclear power plant. The results of the IRRS mission will accelerate the development of legislation and regulations, as well as other regulatory activities involving all stakeholders, including the public.”

The IRRS team comprised nine senior regulatory experts from Australia, the Czech Republic, Hungary, India, Norway, Pakistan, Qatar, Romania and Sweden, as well as three IAEA staff members.

The final mission report will be provided to the Government in about three months. The Government plans to make the report public.

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