The IAEA Code of Conduct on the Safety and Security of Radioactive Sources
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The IAEA Code of Conduct on the Safety and Security of Radioactive Sources (Code of Conduct)—which, along with the Supplemental Guidance on the Import and Export of Radioactive Sources and Supplemental Guidance on the Management of Disused Radioactive Sources—is a non-binding instrument that contains voluntary provisions to be implemented by subscribing states.
The Code of Conduct contains basic principles suggesting that states “take appropriate measures to ensure that the radioactive sources within their territory are safely managed and securely protected during their lifetime.” It also calls for effective national legislation and regulatory controls over radioactive sources.
The objectives of the Code of Conduct are as follows:
- Help states to reach and maintain a high level of safety and security of radioactive sources, including at the end of their useful lives.
- Support states in establishing national legislative and regulatory systems of control by providing a basic governance framework for radioactive sources made up of key safety and security requirements that states should address in their laws and regulations as well as by their administrative bodies.
- Prevent unauthorized access, damage, theft, or unauthorized transfer of radioactive sources.
- Prevent malicious use of radioactive sources and mitigate and minimize the consequences of any accident or malevolent act involving radioactive sources.
The Code of Conduct does not provide a detailed or exhaustive list of measures, and it is not legally binding. Instead, the Code of Conduct proposes elements for a legislative framework for the safety and security of radioactive sources and elements for a regulatory body, including its powers and responsibilities.
The Supplemental Guidance on the Import and Export of Radioactive Sources provides guidance that is not legally binding for countries on how to regulate imports and exports of certain radioactive sources. It is intended to establish a common framework that states may apply to Category 1 and 2 radioactive sources, as well as to other types. According to this guidance, countries are requested to appoint a point of contact to facilitate import and export of radioactive sources. In addition, a country can provide the IAEA with its responses to the Importing and Exporting States Questionnaire to help facilitate the timely review of export requests and to further harmonize the application of the guidance.
The Supplemental Guidance on the Management of Disused Radioactive Sources provides further direction for establishing a national policy and strategy for the management of disused sources and on implementing management options such as recycling and reuse, long-term storage pending disposal, and return to a supplier.