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UNECE Recommendations

UNECE Group of Experts
“Recommendations on Monitoring and Response Procedures for Radioactive Scrap Metal”

   The detection of, and response to, radioactive scrap metal (which can be radioactively contaminated scrap metal, activated scrap metal and scrap metal with radioactive source(s) or substances contained within it) is complicated by the fact that radioactive substances are ubiquitous in nature and, specifically, that metal ores contain radioactive elements.

       Considerable work has been undertaken in many countries and by international bodies, such as the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and the European Union (EU), on the control of radioactive sources and their safe transport. However, to date, there has been little published work at the international level aimed specifically at countering the problem of radioactive scrap metal although guidance is currently being developed by the IAEA and the EU. At the national level, the ‘Protocol for Collaboration on the Radiation Monitoring of Metal Materials’ adopted in 1999 in Spain by concerned industrial organizations and by the relevant parts of Government is an important model for action in this area.

       The UNECE Group of Experts “Recommendations on Monitoring and Response Procedures for Radioactive Scrap Metal” developed in 2006 provide a framework of recommendations and examples of good practice based, to the extent possible, on existing national, regional and international instruments and standards and on national experience. The document is intended to support States in developing their own national systems of monitoring and response while encouraging further cooperation, coordination and harmonization at the international level. It is also intended to facilitate international trade in, and the use of, scrap metal without compromising safety. The recommendations cover both radioactive substances that are subject to regulatory control and radioactive substances that are outside such control and should be seen as complementary to existing programmes.

The full recommendations can be downloaded (in English, French and Russian) or you may also browse the main sections below.

Table of Contents
Executive Summary
  A. Definitions
  B. Objectives
  C. Scope
  D. Guidance and international legal instruments
  E. Origins of radioactive scrap metal
  F. Recommendations on responsibilities and coordination
  A. Recommendations on prevention
  B. Recommendations on detection
  C. Recommendations on response
  A. Training
  B. Information exchange
  I. Example Certificate of Shipment Monitoring
  II. Example Content of a Unified National Collaborative Scheme
  III. Example National Arrangements to Support Response to the Discovery of Radioactive Scrap Metal
  IV. Examples of Monitoring Procedures Used for Scrap Metal Shipments
  V. Example Form for Reporting Detected Radioactive Material in Scrap Metal
Recommendations in practice
The Croatian State Office for Radiation Protection organised a regional meeting aimed at establishing permanent regional collaboration and exchange of information on illicit trafficking of radioactive material, in Zagreb in March 2007 with representatives from Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Macedonia, Montenegro, Slovenia and Serbia. The supporting document used during the meeting was the “Recommendations on Monitoring and Response Procedures for Radioactive Scrap Metal” prepared by a group of experts and published by the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE). The meeting had various objectives including, reaching agreement on reporting and exchange of information on detected radioactive material between regional radiation protection regulatory authorities, improving and harmonizing scrap material control methods, and response to radioactive material or contamination in the scrap metal cycle.
Feedback on use of the Recommendations
The UNECE Recommendations were widely disseminated in late 2006 and early 2007. The aim is for them to be applied in whole or in part to support all those concerned. We welcome feedback on their use in order to ultimately refine them. As the UNECE receives feedback, we will endeavour to collect them and feed them into a possible revision of the Recommendations in the future. Please find here some reactions and comments collected to date.