The IAEA’s safety standards provide requirements and recommendations for ensuring nuclear safety, and act as a global reference for protecting people and the environment. Through an ongoing regional technical cooperation project, the IAEA is supporting Caribbean Member States in establishing, within a legal and governmental framework, sustainable national safety infrastructure for the control of radiation sources. From 6 to 10 November 2017, the Antigua and Barbuda Bureau of Standards (ABBS) hosted the project’s midterm Coordination Meeting in St. John’s, Antigua and Barbuda.
Participants from Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, the Bahamas, Guyana, Jamaica, and Trinidad and Tobago met to discuss common experiences and challenges, and to report on project achievements to date. The Jamaican representative detailed the country’s development of a legislative framework on nuclear sciences and technologies, and the establishment of a new regulatory body, the Hazardous Substances Regulatory Authority (HSRA). The Trinidadian representative reported on approval processes for its draft ionizing radiation bill and other regulations developed with IAEA assistance.
The importance of drafting sound legislation to support regulatory infrastructure was stressed in the presentations. Ms. Dianne Lalla-Rodriquez (Director, ABBS) emphasized, “One of the basic tenets of any regulatory infrastructure is legislation. We are well underway to having at least the first draft of our legislation completed, and the IAEA has agreed to assist us in its review so we can bring it into operation.”
Experts from the United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission (US NRC), the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) and the IAEA delivered presentations at the coordination meeting related to radiation safety and regulatory infrastructure, and helped the Member States determine future actions to be implemented within the scope of the regional project. The increased use of radiation medicine throughout the region was identified as a field for closer regional cooperation. As Dr. Pablo Jimenez (Regional Advisor – Radiological Health, PAHO) stated, “Caribbean countries and islands are incorporating more and more sources of radiation, particularly in the health sector. As these technologies are becoming increasingly complex over time, the region is cooperating with the IAEA and PAHO to develop a good regulatory framework to ensure that everyone is protected from radiation.”