SUSTAIN NUCLEAR SAFETY 2020
SUSTAIN NUCLEAR SAFETY
SUSTAIN NUCLEAR SAFETY
SUSTAIN NUCLEAR SAFETY
MASTERING NUCLEAR ENERGY With an energy source as powerful as nuclear energy, we must consider safety in all its forms - technological, political, natural and human. Nevertheless, human and political factors are particularly prominent
he Speaker of the National Assembly, Maja Gojković officially opened the Nuclear Safety Today conference. On the occasion, she underlined that humanity must learn how to master nuclear energy so that its use is beneficial and safe for all. The Speaker also explained that nuclear energy was, at the same time, a source of hope and fear, that it had the most significant development potential and that it was difficult to find another energy source with so many applications in various fields – medicine, diagnostics, medical treatment, pharmacy, economy, agriculture and numerous other areas. Pointing out that nuclear power has been synonymous with anxiety for decades, notably with regard to military use, but also due to several incidents in the past, she recalled that the historically important moment of awareness of the global danger was the moment when a nuclear bomb was dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Gojković also said that the Chernobyl nuclear power plant disaster in April 1986, as well as the one in Fukushima in 2011, confirmed that the use of nuclear energy also carried a risk, adding that Serbia was also not without accident, however, of comparatively smaller proportions. Over six
decades ago, six scientists from the Vinča Institute were exposed to lethal doses of radiation. "With an energy source as powerful as nuclear energy, we must consider safety in all its forms technological, political, natural and human. Nevertheless, the human and political factors are particularly prominent,” Ms Gojković added. She went on to say that the potential for creation and destruction that is contained within nuclear energy was so great that humankind must step up the existing models of cooperation and even create a new one, while at the same time, enhance exchange and solidarity. "This is all that is needed so the use of such a powerful tool will be both essentially and technically safe. This issue is so complex that we could say that through the issue of nuclear safety, we discover the true depth and complexity of safety issues in general - national and international, local and global, technological and human and on every other plan," Ms Gojković pointed out. According to her, by adopting the Law on Radiation and Nuclear Safety and Security, Serbia has created conditions for a higher level of protection of citizens and the environment from the harmful effects of ionizing radiation and
M A JA G O J KOV I Ć Speaker of the National Assembly
Through the issue of nuclear safety, we discover the true depth and complexity of safety issues in general
added that Serbia ratified several international conventions for the purpose of greater nuclear safety and that it has successfully participated in an international drill (ConvEx-3) by which the country demonstrated its readiness for timely action in the event of accidents at nuclear power plants in the neighbouring countries. She went on to say that said that the good news could also have a negative impact, as confirmed by some reactions to the signing of the Agreement between the governments of Serbia and Russia with the aim of developing cooperation in the field of peaceful use of nuclear energy, which means greater opportunities for investments in additional science and research, as well as the possibility of developing nuclear medicine, in addition to application of radiation technologies in agriculture, industry, innovation, new technologies and advanced digital technologies. The most frequent question asked, following the signing of the Agreement, was whether Serbia would get a nuclear power plant, although the law prohibiting the construction of a nuclear power plant is still in effect, showing that nuclear energy was inevitably accompanied by prejudice and mystification.
SUSTAIN NUCLEAR SAFETY
UNLIMITED USE OF NUCLEAR ENERGY P RO F E S S O R Dr V L A D I M I R P O P OV I Ä† State Secretary at the Ministry of Education, Science and Technological Development
e, in popular culture, often refer to the terms nuclear power and nuclear safety, but a great deal of misinformation is present in this sphere. Nuclear technologies are certainly a valuable asset of civilization and we should use them to contribute to humanity. The application of nuclear energy in medicine, agriculture and the economy is almost limitless. The construction of nuclear power plants in Serbia is forbidden.
However, when we talk about it, we should bear in mind that there is a nuclear power plant less than 200km from Belgrade. We, in the Ministry, launched a relevant procedure in 2018 and by 2019, became the 23rd full-fledged member of CERN. This is extremely important and a great success for us and we must use everything that membership entails. On the other hand, we have been cooperating with Dubna, a nuclear centre located
near Moscow. In October, we signed a document containing a roadmap for the cooperation between Serbia and Dubna. It is also worth mentioning that the nuclear moratorium was introduced 30 years ago and we have somewhat lost staff in that segment. Also, the number of nuclear science students has dropped. We are planning to draft a strategy on how to train staff for the application of nuclear energy.
THE STATE AUTHORITIES HAVE RECOGNIZED THE IMPORTANCE he area regulated by our Directorate is often accompanied by fears, prejudices, wrong information and misinformation because when it comes to radiation and nuclear safety, ordinary people usually respond with fear. They have neither enough knowledge nor information in this field, so the most imaginative conspiracy theories have sprung as a result. Although the danger is the first connotation associated with nuclear energy, it is less known that this
is one of the most regulated human activities. We are pleased that the state has recognized the importance of this topic and allowed an independent body to monitor and regulate this area. The regulatory body rests on two pillars - expertise in radiation technology and legal expertise. We take care of this area so that people can live and work normally. In order for the researchers to be able to do their job smoothly, we have made our work transparent. We have adopted all the
conventions that come under our jurisdiction and that are required for the EU accession. We have also dismantled radioactive lightning rods, we have increased the number of services, and we have set up monitoring. We have devised and implemented a total of 20 national projects. We also got 2 million EUR help for the VinÄ?a radioactive storage. The problem of radioactive waste is regulated and we are in charge of the inspection. The Directorate enjoys support in everything it does.
S L A D JA N V E L I N OV Director of the Serbian Radiation and Nuclear Safety and Security Directorate (SRBATOM)
SUSTAIN NUCLEAR SAFETY
SEVEN DECADES OF COMMITMENT P RO F E S S O R Dr S N E Ž A NA PA J OV I Ć Acting Director of the Vinča Institute of Nuclear Sciences
he Vinča Institute of Nuclear Sciences has always been shrouded in secrecy, largely due to the fact that it has the most complex multidisciplinary and interdisciplinary scientific research. The very beginning promised a glorious future and demonstrated Serbia's allegiance to Europe. Vinča Institute of Nuclear Sciences was founded in 1948 as a scientific centre that conducts research into contemporary topics in basic natural sciences - physics, chemistry and
biology, founded by the world-renowned physicists Pavle Savić and Robert Valen from the Netherlands. In its seven decades-long history, the Institute has demonstrated its continuity in the best sense of the word. Following a 2018 decree of the Government of Serbia, we became a national multidisciplinary institute. At Vinča, a significant portion of scientific research programmes is implemented with the view of investigating the effects of radiation. The Institute is a unique sci-
entific research centre in the region, registered for the production of radiopharmaceuticals. The uniqueness of Vinča's radiopharmaceuticals is a strictly individual approach, with a specific dose prepared for each patient. Also, for decades, Vinča has been importing and exporting radioactive material in the country. On the other hand, the Institute has been developing other radiation technologies for the needs of businesses, such as sterilization of products.
THE ONLY OPERATOR OF ITS KIND IN SERBIA e are the only operator of nuclear facilities in Serbia. Our purpose is to manage the nuclear facilities in Serbia in a safe manner and ensure their regular operations, as well as to reduce the likelihood of potential accidents. The first major job that our public company did was transporting used nuclear fuel to the Russian Federation.
Also, the public company operates research reactors, as well as a closed uranium mine near Kalna. The final stage in radioactive waste management is temporary storage, which is also managed by our public company. Radioactive waste is stored in licensed new storages. The new nuclear facilities have been designed and built to meet the most stringent
nuclear safety and security requirements. The risk is minimized. Every nuclear activity that is performed is analyzed beforehand. In 2020, a radioactive waste treatment plant will be opened in the company’s premises. All workers are supervised by appropriate services in terms of radiation safety. We also perform radiation monitoring.
DA L I B O R A R B U T I NA Acting Director of Public Company ‘Nuclear Facilities of Serbia’
SUSTAIN NUCLEAR SAFETY
NUCLEAR SAFETY THEN AND NOW he first panel discussion, titled "Nuclear Safety Then and Now," was dedicated to the concept and meaning of nuclear safety in relation to the Chernobyl accident and how nuclear safety developed after it. Dr Djordje Lazarević, Deputy Head of the Development and Implementation of Nuclear Technologies Division at public enterprise ‘Nuklearni Objekti Srbije’ (Nuclear Facilities of Serbia), Zoran Drače, Head of the Sector at the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and Vedrana Vuletić, Head of the Monitoring, Control and Emergency Situations Division at SRBATOM. Dr Lazarević gave an introductory presentation on the concept and
meaning of nuclear safety, presented an analysis of the accident at Unit 4 of the Chernobyl nuclear power plant and the nuclear power plants of the III+ and IV generation. The audiences also heard about of Serbia’s experiences with nuclear safety. After the introductory presentation, Zoran Drače pointed out that it was normal for people to be afraid of something that could have fatal consequences. On the other hand, he added, we live with daily risks, and so we must learn to live with the radiation, to which we are constantly exposed. The panel participants also said that people have to be educated to understand that radiation doesn’t always have fatal
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consequences. There is no reason for a person to be scared, but on the other hand, nuclear accidents do happen. Nuclear accidents cannot be hidden anymore as there are organizations that monitor radiation leaks. What we have learned from Chernobyl is that even the most catastrophic consequences of an accident can be controlled. After the panel discussion was finished, the audience was shown a recording of the international drill called ConvEx-3 which is used to assess the country's readiness to react adequately in the event of an accident. The drill is primarily intended for the protection of the population and the environment.
SUSTAIN NUCLEAR SAFETY
THE SITUATION THAT LED TO THE CHERNOBYL ACCIDENT The accident happened during planned tests that required different operating power of the nuclear reactor
he RBMK nuclear reactors us ed at t h e Ch e rnoby l Nuclear Power Plant were designed in the mid-1960s as channel reactors. At that time such reactors were considered as a promising option worldwide (in the USA, UK, Canada, Japan, Italy and others). Their advantage lied in the simpler production of nuclear reactor components compared to those with the water reactor pressure vessel. At that point in time, the Chernobyl nuclear power plant, with its four reactors, was well-secured and researched, having safety systems that could handle accidents. Besides, it had good economic parameters. As it turns out, with a situation that could lead to potential incident in nuclear reactor at the power plant was not properly analyzed, as scientists and constructors thought it was unlikely to happen.
Simplified analytical methods were used, and such analyses could not provide real answers for this condition. Operation of the reactor at lower power levels was not properly described in operating procedures. However, there were sufficient technical systems and warnings in operating procedures. If these warnings were properly respected, dangerous condition in the reactor could be avoided. The accident happened during planned tests that required different operating power of nuclear reactor. The plant’s operators practically shut down nuclear reactor and, instead of shutting it down completely and going into maintenance, they decided to carry out both tests from the begging and throughout. This caused the nuclear reactor to fall into the state of xenon poisoning, which had to be off a while before resuming op-
Dr D J O R D J E LAZAREVIĆ Department for Development and Application of Nuclear Technology (Nuclear Facilities of Serbia)
eration considering the relevant rules. During the extraction from the xenon poisoning, at a critical moment, communication between nuclear reactor operator and operator in charge of heat removal and steam generation was interrupted, thus creating the situation that resulted in tragedy. It is important to mention that this nuclear reactor was designed and built at the time of the USSR’s authority Ministry of Medium Machine Building that was initially responsible both for civilian and military reactors, where the prescribed rules were strictly followed. Unfortunately, several years before the accident, management of power plants was handed over to the Ministry of Energy, an entirely civilian ministry where discipline was not so strong. Despite the operator's failure to comply with prescribed rules, an
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accident would not happen if there were not omissions in science and construction. Therefore, the most realistic estimate of what caused the accident, without going into details, is the original assessment by an expert group prepared in 1986 for the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). It noted that positive void effect was a scientific failure, problems with the ends of control rods should be attributed to the constructor, and ultimately the operator made an error by deviating from regulation was this unlikely sequence of events that led to tragedy for humanity and dark moment for science. There are several possible scenarios on how the accident developed when rapid increase in power in the reactor core occurred, but there are no solid facts that would
C AUS E
The accident happened during planned tests that required different operating power of the nuclear reactor
support specific reason for the accident. We need to understand that all causes and possible scenarios were identified and thoroughly considered, and therefore adequate measures were taken to prevent such an incident from happening again. This is not a reassuring statement but conclusion that comes from the results of serious review of the operations of such a nuclear reactor, not only by the Russian experts but also international community through the IAEA Agency in Vienna.
A few words about today's and future nuclear reactors Accidents in Chernobyl and Fukushima (Japan), and before that, in Windscale (the UK) and the Three Mile Island (the USA), as well as in
other locations, caused a change in the philosophy or strategy towards nuclear safety in scientific community. The principle of 'Never again!' was firmly established, i.e. there is no chance that construction of any nuclear power plant such as Chernobyl, Fukushima, and II generation nuclear power plants, would be allowed in todayâ€™s world. With III+ generation nuclear power plants under construction and commissioning today, possibility of what happened in previous major accidents has been completely eliminated. Although they meet all safety requirements, sustainability of nuclear power use has not been addressed. Nuclear safety is ensured and requirements regarding minimization of radioactive waste and non-proliferation have been met. However, these power plants consume uranium that has limited resources. Mainly designed by the US, Russia and the EU, they are being built in many countries and will be operational roughly until the end of this century. Nuclear reactors of the future, that is IV generation nuclear reactors, in addition to existing requirements already met by the III+ generation reactors, need to meet the sustainability requirement to ensure at least 10,000 years of nuclear energy supplies considering current global consumption of uranium. The first generation-IV-reactors are expected to be built sometime after 2030, as the work on them progresses. As part of the requirement to impede the diversion of nuclear material (non-proliferation), a concept with small modular reactor (SMR) of up to 300 megawatts electrical (MWe) was designed. Small nuclear reactors have passive safety systems for natural heat removal that allow cooling of reactor core in emergencies without any external power supply for up to a week. They have a great perspective, primarily in terms of nuclear safety and capital costs.
SUSTAIN NUCLEAR SAFETY
NUCLEAR ACCIDENTS CAN BE MANAGED The Safe Confinement project, which was devised to stabilize Chernobyl, was completed in 2018, and it guarantees the isolation and protection of humans and the environment over the next 100 years hat does an ordinary citizen need to know about nuclear safety? What lesson did we learn from the Chernobyl disaster? Is there a justifiable fear of anything that bears a "nuclear" sign? We talked about these topics with Zoran Drače, Head of Sector at the International Atomic Energy Agency - IAEA, a mechanical engineer who has worked in the nuclear power industry for over 40 years and has participated in numerous globally significant projects in this field, at the Nuclear Safety Today conference.
To what extent have major accidents contributed to improving nuclear safety today? — Increasing the safety of nuclear power plants as a direct consequence of the accidents that occurred resulted in the introduction or improvement of the safety systems of the existing generation of thermal reactors. It is quite difficult to imagine an accident with catastrophic consequences with all the measures that have been implemented in the existing nuclear facilities. At the same time, there are two development directions. The first pertains to design, testing and commissioning of reactors that will be completely passively safe, that is, the implementation of a plant control system that eliminates the possibility of human error and the effects of natural or induced disas-
ZO RA N D RAČ E Head of Sector at the International Atomic Energy Agency – IAEA
Today, most fuels are based on uranium oxides, and alternative fuels have a much higher melting point, which in itself means a lower chance of melting the reactor core
ters (earthquakes, tornadoes, explosions in the surroundings and the like). The ultimate goal is the development of a plant (with the generation IV reactors) where, in the event of melting of the reactor core, the need for evacuation from the vicinity of the nuclear power plant and pollution of the territory are both eliminated, i.e. all consequences of the accident are limited to the nuclear facility itself. Another direction of development is an alternative fuel for the new generation of reactors. Today, most fuels are based on uranium oxides, and alternative fuels have a much higher melting point, which in itself means a lower chance of melting the reactor core.
What lessons about nuclear safety have we learned from the Chernobyl accident? — The molten core still kills very fast today if you come close it. That corium that constitutes highly active zero-waste should be extracted from the damaged plant, and alternatives are considered to pack it and dispose of it permanently so that it does not pose a risk to humans and the environment. The Safe Confinement project, which was devised to stabilize Chernobyl, was completed in 2018, and it guarantees the isolation and protection of humans and the environment over the next 100 years. However, during this period, nuclear waste should be extract-
ed and disposed of in a stable geological formation. The Chernobyl case has demonstrated that the incident can be managed and controlled. The territory of about 30 kilometres around the power plant is a polluted territory with no inhabitants, and inside that zone, there is a specially controlled zone of 10km in radius in which contaminated materials from the vicinity of the Chernobyl power plant are stored. I should mention that just two years after the accident at the fourth reactor, the three remaining reactors continued to operate and produce electricity, i.e. the consequences were remedied to the extent that about 7,000 employees came to work every day. On the other hand, in these 30km and 10km zones, everything that can affect people and the environment is constantly monitored, that is, all the roads that would spread radioactivity, the contaminated soil, the migration of radioactivity into groundwater, the influence of strong winds, things that could be inhaled and food that is safe for consumption are constantly supervised. They are trying to see and understand everything that is going on in the polluted territory. We learned from the case of Chernobyl that even with the most catastrophic consequences of an accident, we can expect that people can control it, that is, if accidents do happen, they need not be fatal.
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GOOD COMMUNICATION IS CRUCIAL
We have bilateral agreements with Hungary and Bulgaria, and soon we hope with Romania and other countries. The agreements stipulate that they have to inform us and vice versa if a nuclear or other accident happens on their respective territories that might pose a danger
edrana Vuletić, Head of Monitoring, Control and Emergency Management at SRBATOM and a participant in the Nuclear Safety Today conference, spoke about the Chernobyl accident and explained how nuclear safety developed after it. "When the Chernobyl accident happened, there was no public announcement by the Soviet Union at the time but rather monitors in Sweden discovered that something was going on. Later, it emerged that it was the Chernobyl power plant in the then Soviet Union to blame. This triggered the establishment of an early warning system for nuclear accidents, even in non-nuclear countries. Serbia also has an early warning system. First of all, it consists of a detector system that operates 24 hours a day. The relevant information, generated by the system, can be seen on SRBATOM's website.”
Data on a radioactivity dose is not the only thing that will tell us something has happened; it's the whole system of monitoring radioactivity in the environment, air, rainfall, food and drinking water analysis, etc. Serbia has such an organized radioactivity monitoring system for several decades now, where every year, SRBATOM issues an annual public report on the radioactivity threats to the public. However, I have to mention here that SRBATOM itself does not perform these tests, but rather we have a network of laboratories and expert teams that do the sampling and deliver the results to us for further processing and public insight. In addition to this early warning system, the signing of the Convention on Early Notification of a Nuclear Accident in 1986 is significant, followed by the signing of the second Convention on Assistance in the Case of a
V E D RA NA VULETIĆ Head of Monitoring, Control and Emergency Management at SRBATOM
N E T WO R K
We have a network of laboratories and expert teams that do the sampling and deliver the results to us for further processing and public insight
Nuclear Accident. Over 120 countries have signed and ratified these two conventions. „In terms of their implementation, there are procedures and tools established by the International Atomic Energy Agency that make it possible to provide accident-related information to everyone in a very short amount of time. We have contact points and all the countries in the region, i.e. our neighbours, also have those contact points. Furthermore, we have bilateral agreements with Hungary and Bulgaria, and soon we hope with Romania and other countries. The agreements stipulate that they have to inform us and vice versa if a nuclear or other accident happens on their respective territories that might pose a danger. So, good international communication is crucial,“ Ms Vuletić said at the conference.
SUSTAIN NUCLEAR SAFETY
RADIATION BENEFITS - APPLICATIONS IN INDUSTRY AND MEDICINE he second panel discussed the benefits of radiation and its applications in medicine, industry and agriculture. Dr Sanja Vranješ Djurić, Director of the Radioisotope Laboratory of the Vinča Institute of Nuclear Sciences, Dr Milovan Matović, Director of the Nuclear Medicine Centre of the Kragujevac Clinical Centre, Dr Ivica Vujčić, Head of Dosimetry at the Radiation Unit of the Vinča Institute of Nuclear Sciences and Milan Vujović, Head of the Department of Radiation Practice and Nuclear Activity Control of the Serbian Radiation and Nuclear Safety and Security Directorate (SRBATOM) were the
panel participants. The Vinča Institute's radioisotope laboratory is a unique facility in the Balkans for the development, production and control of radiopharmaceuticals. During many years of scientific research, the Radioisotope Laboratory, in cooperation with the nuclear medical centres in the country and abroad, has developed a large number of radiopharmaceuticals used in diagnostics and therapy. Dr Sanja Vranješ Djurić pointed out that today, more than 20,000 people are using Vinca's radiopharmaceuticals annually. In addition to producing, the basic task at the Vinča Institute is improving the existing radiopharma-
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ceuticals. Radiation saves lives and prolongs and improves the patient’s quality of life. Dr Ivica Vujčić introduced the Vinča Radiation Unit, which has been operating for 40 years and uses cobalt-60 radiation for various purposes, primarily for the sterilization of medical equipment. This type of radiation is also used in food conservation in agriculture as it most effectively destroys microorganisms. This method was prescribed and approved for use globally in 1980. Besides, radiation is also used to control malaria through mosquito sterilization, as well as the preservation of cultural heritage, sterilization various packaging, etc.
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GREAT BENEFITS FOR HUMANITY
Application of radiation technologies in sterilization of medical equipment and food preservation
ractical applications of radiation technologies have been developing for the last 50 years. Networking of plastic materials, sterilization of medical products and food preservation are the earliest examples of the use of ionizing radiation in the industry. Today, new ideas for radiation applications are being developed, such as the solidification processes of monomer coatings and paints and the production of food packaging films, plastic tubes and hydrogels. By using radiation technologies, insulation on electrical cables is networked to increase their thermal tolerance and improve resistance to abrasives and solvents. Treatment with ionizing radiation can reduce the molecular weight distribution of materials by removing polymer parts, graft monomers onto polymers to modify their properties, as well as recover damaged composites made of fibers. One of the most significant applications of radiation technologies is the sterilization of medical equipment. Ionizing radiation destroys microorganisms, making medical equipment sterile and safe to use. Surgical instruments (scalpels, scissors, tweezers), disposable laboratory supplies (needles, syringes, petri dishes), consumables (gauze, medical plastic, paper), implants, IV drip sets, single-use transfusion and medical devices are mostly sterilized using radiation technologies. Treating medical equipment using ionizing radiation has
been one of the main methods of sterilization in the healthcare industry since the introduction of the concept of sterile disposable medical equipment in the 1960s. The advantages of ionizing radiation sterilization over other sterilization methods are that in the case of radiation sterilization, the product is not heated, a high degree of sterility is achieved, the product for sterilization comes finally packaged and can be used immediately after sterilization, which eliminates the possibility of subsequent contamination of the product. Food irradiation is the process of exposing food products to ionizing radiation in order to preserve food, reduce the risk of foodborne illness and extend the life of the product. Depending on the radiation dose delivered, pathogens, bacteria and viruses are destroyed. If the strawberries, asparagus or mushrooms are exposed to ionizing radiation, the storage time is twice longer. Throughout the world, ionizing radiation is used in treating bananas, mangoes, papayas, dates and other fruits. Foods of animal origin may contain both pathogens (salmonella, staphylococci, clostridia) and non-pathogenic microflora, and various parasites (trichinella, echinococci). Such foods are risky to human health. The irradiation of these foods also destroys parasites and salmonellae, staphylococci and Cl. Perfringens vegetative forms.
Dr I V I C A T. VUJČIĆ Vinča Institute of Nuclear Sciences | VIN · Department of Radiation Chemistry and Physics
One of the most significant applications of radiation technologies is the sterilization of medical equipment
Food irradiation for conservation purposes is performed using one of three irradiation technologies: gamma radiation (from Co-60 or Cs-137 radioactive isotopes), X-rays and accelerators. There are fundamental differences between these three types of radiation in terms of their energy profiles, modes of use and application. In Serbia, the Radiation Unit at the Vinča Institute of Nuclear Sciences is the only facility for the sterilization of medical equipment and food preservation using ionizing radiation. It was built in 1978 with the assistance of the United Nations Development Program and the International Atomic Energy Agency. During forty years of experience in the field of radiation technologies, various products and medical equipment have been irradiated at the Radiation Unit. Spices, teas, soybeans, dried fruits and vegetables (e.g. prunes, mushrooms) are most commonly treated. Also, the soil can be exposed to ionizing radiation, which after treatment, is eliminated from harmful microorganisms and becomes more suitable for cultivation of various plant cultures.
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EXCELLENT SAFETY RECORD Today, up to a further 50% of our radiation exposure can be attributed to medical sources
adiation is natural and found everywhere – it comes from outer space, the air we breathe, and the earth we tread. It’s even in our bodies; naturally occurring radioactive elements in our bones irradiate us on average 5000 times per second. The invention of the x-ray by Wilhem Roentgen in 1895, was a transformative moment in the history of medicine, for the first time making the interior of the body visible. Today, up to a further 50% of our radiation exposure can be attributed to medical sources. Most of this comes from the use of standard x-ray and CT scan technology to diagnose injuries and disease. Other procedures such as radiation therapy use radiation to treat patients. In radiology, X-rays enter the body from the outside, while in nuclear medicine, radioactive materials known as radioisotopes, or radiopharmaceuticals,
are introduced into the body. Radioisotopes (radioactive isotopes of an element) are artificially produced using a nuclear reactor or cyclotron for the application in nuclear medicine. Radiopharmaceutical is a radioactive pharmaceutical agent which consists of a drug component and radioisotopes for applications in diagnosis and therapy. An important distinction between radiopharmaceuticals and traditional drugs lies in the lack of pharmacologic activity on the part of radiopharmaceuticals. Their huge advantage is that their radioactivity allows non-invasive external monitoring or targeted therapeutic irradiation with very little effect on the biological processes in the body. Indeed, radiopharmaceuticals have an excellent safety record, and incidence of adverse effects is extremely low. Thanks to the injection of radiopharmaceuticals, the nuclear
Dr SA N JA V RA N J E Š ĐURIĆ Research Professor at Vinca Institute of Nuclear Sciences
R E SE A RC H
Vinča Institute is carrying out extensive research programs on developments of new biomolecules as carriers for radioisotopes
medicine physician can access diagnostic functional and metabolic imaging. This allows the detection of the serious lesions, the monitoring of their evolution as well as the follow-up of the surgical interventions when necessary. Single photon emission computed tomography (SPECT) and positron emission tomography (PET) are the two most common imaging modalities in nuclear medicine. In the field of therapy, the radiopharmaceutical can destroy cancer cells by generating high doses of radiation. Historically speaking, nuclear medicine has been well established as a therapeutic modality for thyroid cancer, Graves’s disease, hyperthyroidism and bone pain palliation associated with skeletal metastasis. More than 20,000 people per year are diagnosed and treated with radiopharmaceuticals in 15 nuclear medicine centres in Serbia. The Vinča Institute of Nuclear
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Sciences, situated in a close vicinity of Belgrade, is the largest national research Institute which provides continuous supply of high quality radiopharmaceuticals to medical centers for more than 50 years. During the long-term scientific research, in collaboration with nuclear medicine physicians, the Laboratory for Radioisotopes of the Vinča Institute, has developed a wide range of radiopharmaceuticals for diagnostic and therapeutic applications. One of the most famous products is the Universal 99Mo/99mTc generator which in the form of pertechnetate and 99mTc-labeled compounds has application in cardiology (e.g. myocardial perfusion,) oncology (e.g. tumour imaging and localization), neurology (e.g. cerebral perfusion), pulmonology, infection imaging and nephrology. Due to the unique dry column technology in the pertechnetate production,
T H E X- R AY
The invention of the x-ray by Wilhem Roentgen in 1895, was a transformative moment in the history of medicine, for the first time making the interior of the body visible
its quality is exceptional, hence the diagnosis is more accurate. Iodide capsules are applied in the leading centers for the treatment of thyroid gland disorders, hyperthyroidism and thyroid cancer in Serbia: the Institute of Oncology in Sremska Kamenica, the Čigota Institute for Thyroid Gland Diseases on the Zlatibor, and the Institute of Nuclear Medicine Kragujevac and Niš. The advantage of Vinča's radiopharmaceuticals is a strictly personalized approach, because, depending on the diagnosis, age and other parameters, an appropriate application of radiopharmaceuticals is determined for each individual patient. Vinča Institute also carries out extensive research programs on development of new biomolecules as carriers for radioisotopes with the aim of their application in cancer diagnosis and treatment. The Institute gathers research-
ers from different fields (chemists, biochemists, physicists, technologists, biologists, pharmacists, veterinarians, physicians) and is therefore able to realize all tasks, from organic syntheses of different compounds, their radio-labeling, physicochemical characterization and preclinical studies. Vinča has developed a very good communication network with regional nuclear medicine units, as well as with several international research institutions interested in radiopharmaceutical development. The participation in research projects coordinated by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) is conducted at the national level through the liaison office of the Serbian Radiation and Nuclear Safety and Security Directorate (SRBATOM), which also regulates and controls radiation safety and security of all activities concerning radiopharmaceutical production.
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BENEFITS OF RADIATION Applications in industry and medicine
r Milovan Matović, director of the Nuclear Medicine Centre of the Clinical Centre Kragujevac, doctor of nuclear medicine and head of the Department of Nuclear Medicine and Oncology at the Faculty of Medical Sciences, University of Kragujevac, was one of the participants of the Nuclear Safety Today Conference. He spoke about radiation for medical purposes: "We have been taught that electricity is a good servant but a bad master. When it comes to radionuclides and their application in medicine, we can say that they are a good servant - a great help in the diagnosis of various diseases and their therapies. For diagnostics, we use gamma emitters, as well as sixty other radionuclides, either independently or as markers of some compounds, which are then delivered to the target tissue. In all diagnostic and therapeutic procedures, the design of radiopharmaceuticals is such that the target tissue is as good as possible and that as much of the applied radionuclide as possible ends up in it to obtain the best possible overview, that is, to obtain the best therapeutic effect. Iodine 123 is also one of the radionuclides, but unfortunately, we cannot get it at the Vinča Institute because we still don't have a cyclotron that would produce it. We import it when it is
D r M I L OVA N M ATOV I Ć Director of the Nuclear Medicine Centre of the Clinical Centre Kragujevac
S E RVA N T
When it comes to radionuclides and their application in medicine, we can say that they are a good servant a great help in the diagnosis of various diseases and their therapies
necessary to do carry out certain diagnostic procedures. When it comes to therapeutic administration, the outcomes of administration of radiopharmaceuticals characterized by potent beta-emitters such as yttrium 90, are complete response, partial response, stable disease and progressive disease. We are looking to achieve at least the first three outcomes and avoid the fourth. It's not just about palliation of pain, but about the treatment of metastases of neuroendocrine tumours. This is a special type of tumour that originates from a specific type of cell and it is often the case that the first symptoms occur in a patient due to the metastatic spread of the disease, and in many patients, the primary origin of the tumour is not determined. Basically, these tumours metastasize to the liver and skeleton. Our goal is to radiate tumour cells so that we deliver the radionuclide to the tumour cells, which will kill the cells with radiation - bound to a specific transport system, such as one of the metastatic analogues - to achieve a therapeutic effect in cross-fire of beta particles. That is how we extend the lives of patients, ”explained Dr Matović and added: „Kragujevac has the first-ever facility to have started to apply this type of therapy. Our patients come from the EU, as well as from
the former Yugoslavia. We achieve the first three positive outcomes in between 75% and 80% patients.“ Are patients scared when they hear that they have to get radiation and do they radiate afterwards? "If a patient has received therapy on some of the routes of introduction of a radiation source, then that open source of radiation is introduced into their body and the patient radiates. That is why there are standards that are very strict and clear about what should and should not be done. As for external radiation, when a patient is exposed to radiotherapy, they do not radiate and does not pose any danger to the environment,“ Dr Matović said. „Also, we provide patients on a radionuclide therapy with a written document, so they are aware of the consequences. After receiving the radionuclide therapy, we keep the patient inhouse for 1 to 4 days, depending on how much radioactivity they were exposed to. When it comes to iodine-131, our law is very restrictive. The level of radioactivity that a patient is allowed to "take" home is 400 megabecquerels. The second reason why we hospitalize patients, especially when it comes to neuroendocrine tumours, is the possibility that very serious complications may occur after receiving that therapy, " Dr Matović concluded.
SUSTAIN NUCLEAR SAFETY
RADIOACTIVE WASTE AND NUCLEAR MATERIAL adioactive waste is no more dangerous than other hazardous waste if it is handled carefully and in line with the best technical solutions. These solutions have been continuously improved for over 70 years now. Dr Milutin Jevremović, Head of Sector for Radioactive Waste Man-
agement at PE Nuklearni Objekti Srbije (Nuclear Facilities of Serbia), Professor Dr Darko Trifunović, Director of the Institute for National and International Security and Vladimir Janjić, Assistant Director / Head of the SRBATOM Inspection were the panel participants. Dr Milutin Jevremović pointed out
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that the ultimate goal of PE Nuklearni Objekti Srbije was not to store radioactive waste in its premises in Vinča but to permanently dispose of it. Storage is a temporary measure and, when disposed of, radioactive waste is placed in licensed landfills with no plans for further use.
SUSTAIN NUCLEAR SAFETY
RADIOACTIVE WASTE MANAGEMENT
Radioactive waste, used sealed sources of ionizing radiation and nuclear material are currently temporarily stored in the dedicated storage facilities
he basic long-term objectives for radioactive waste management can be defined through the following stages: 1) Development and adoption of a national radioactive waste management strategy; 2) Improving regulatory control of radioactive waste management; 3) P rovision of conditions for safe and secure treatment and storage of radioactive waste; 4) Repairing the situation in the premises of the hydrometallurgical plant Gabrovnica near Kalna; 5) Educating the population and improving the pool of professionals dealing with radioactive waste management.
Radioactive waste, used and sealed sources of ionizing radiation and nuclear material are currently temporarily stored in the dedicated storage facilities, as the last phase in the radioactive waste management system in the Republic of Serbia. Public enterprise ‘Nuclear Facilities of Serbia’ (Nuklearni Objekti Srbije) manages facilities especially dedicated to the storage of radioactive waste, used and sealed sources of ionizing radiation and nuclear material. Following the decree of the Serbian government, public enterprise ‘Nuclear Facilities of Serbia’ was incorporated as “a public enterprise for management of nuclear facilities in Serbia”. This meant that, in mid-
Dr M I LU T I N J E V R E M OV I Ć Head of Radioactive Waste Management Department "Nuclear Facilities of Serbia"
2009, this public enterprise took over the management of the temporary storage facilities for radioactive waste, among other things, from the Vinča Institute of Nuclear Sciences. The condition of the old facilities and temporary storage facilities for solid RAW (hangar H1 and hangar H2) was assessed as unsatisfactory following the performed analyses, as they do not meet the requirements for safe and secure storage of radioactive waste (RAW) and thus could potentially endanger the environment. Based on the analysis of different options, it was concluded that implementing an acceptable solution requires substantial activities, which include both the treatment
SUSTAIN NUCLEAR SAFETY
of RAW and the construction of new storage facilities. Under the Decree of the Government of the Republic of Serbia from 2006, during the process of remediation of this situation, the construction of a new warehouse for solid RAW, of medium and low activity, as well as a safe warehouse for strong sources of radiation, as objects of special national importance, commenced. In order to improve the current state of the radioactive waste management system, in the premises of the Vinča / JP Institute, the preliminary project envisages construction of 3 new purpose-built facilities: solid radioactive waste storage facility (HZ), facility for safe storage of strong radiation sources (BS) and a radioactive waste treatment facility (PPO). The design and construction of the HZ and BS facilities took place from 2006 to 2010. A 20-week trial of these nuclear facilities was carried out in 2011 and 2012, while the license for the use of the facilities for storing radioactive waste, used sealed sources ionizing radiation and nuclear material was
obtained on September 27, 2012. Since then, these facilities have been fully operational. As a result of this, Public enterprise ‘Nuclear Facilities of Serbia’ and the Republic of Serbia have met a very important prerequisite for the storage of all radioactive waste, used sealed sources of ionizing radiation and nuclear material safely and securely following the applicable national and international regulations governing this field. The new storage facilities also meet stringent nuclear safety requirements in line with the Serbian Government’s regulations adopted in 2014. The plan is also to commission a Radioactive Waste Treatment Facility during 2020, which will enable the storage of all radioactive waste, nuclear material and used radiation sources and their transfer from the old storage facilities to the new storage facilities after proper treatment and conditioning. The capacity of the new storage facilities is sufficient to store all radioactive waste and nuclear material currently stored in the old storage, as well as the
Permanent disposal of radioactive waste is a segment of RAW management that has been foreseen and considered necessary at the national level
waste that will be generated in the coming years during radiation activities in the territory of the Republic of Serbia. The Law on Radiation and Nuclear Safety and Security (Official Gazette RS No. 95/18 and Official Gazette RS No. 10/19) prohibits the import of radioactive waste and used nuclear fuel into the territory of the Republic of Serbia. The ultimate goal of radioactive waste management is its permanent disposal. Permanent disposal of radioactive waste is a segment of RAW management that has been foreseen and considered necessary at the national level. The decision on how to deal with the permanent disposal of RAW is still a long way off. This implies that the RAW storage technology, as well as the criteria for receiving RAW, cannot be selected in line with the permanent landfill technology, but under the best global practices, that is, finding the optimal solution for national conditions, which ensures safe and secure storage and the minimum required number of technological operations for permanent disposal.
SUSTAIN NUCLEAR SAFETY
VLADIMIR JA N J I Ć Assistant Director and Head of the Inspection Sector at SRBATOM
ladimir Janjić, Assistant Director and Head of the Inspection Sector at SRBATOM, spoke to the participants of the Nuclear Safety Today Conference about how to responsibly manage nuclear materials, i.e. radioactive waste, how SRBATOM implements the relevant control in practice and how state-level inspection works. "The inspection services for nuclear and radiation activities have
SRBATOM NOW CARRIES OUT THE INSPECTION
existed before in Serbia, but with a new law passed last year, SRBATOM now carries out the inspection which means that this regulatory body has rounded off comprehensive control over nuclear and radiation materials in Serbia," he said and added: "The authorization process for conducting nuclear and radiation-related activities consists of licensing, which requires the submission of documentation proving to
QUALITY OF STAFF TRAINING IS OF PARAMOUNT IMPORTANCE nly after the Chernobyl disaster the world seriously began to consider all segments of nuclear safety. At the Nuclear Safety Today Conference, the participants discussed ways to safely manage nuclear material and waste and the potential dangers of their misuse. Professor Dr Darko Trifunović, Director of the Institute for National and International Security, spoke about safety services, generally unknown to the general public, in the context of nuclear safety. „The bottom line of the story about nuclear material is about a group of people who have various reasons to obtain nuclear waste or material or to damage a nuclear, chemical, or biological plant,“ Professor Trifunović warned. „It is a good thing that we finally realize that good internal security and safety of nuclear, atomic and chem-
us, as a regulatory body, that all legal requirements regarding safety and security and materials and personnel have been met. "When it comes to the most important institutions and facilities of national importance, the employers themselves are obliged to carry out a safety check on all their employees, which is performed by the Interior Ministry and other government intelligence services," Janjić concluded.
P rofe ss o r Dr DA R KO T R I F U N OV I Ć Director of the Institute for National and International Security
ical plants is not possible unless experts from the national and international security sector participate in it, " Trifunović underlined, after which he gave a short overview of the challenges and dangers of this sector. „One of the first challenges I encountered was the one from 1993 when the Serbian intelligence services learned that Bosnian Muslim forces had obtained chemical mortar shells and in 1996 when they tried to obtain chemical agents in Tuzla. I would also single out the attack on the Twin Towers in the United States on September 11, 2001, when I was the first Secretary of the Mission to the UN. In addition to fear from being attacked from the air, the biggest concern was whether these planes carried explosives. This prompted me to meet with our leading nuclear physicist, Dr Vojin Joksimović. The two of
us were given a task by the FBI to assess the consequences of a plane crash into a nuclear plant. And to assess many more crises around the world," he added. “The primary task of our services is to look at four separate processes: the acquisition of nuclear material, the procedure that is taking place at the plant itself, the disposal of nuclear waste and last but not least, are all these processes part of an integrated process aimed at abusing the mentioned agents. "Quality of staff training is of paramount importance for the safety of nuclear installations. There is a special methodology for intelligence and safety services, which is little known, and is used to identify those people whose motive is to threaten or misuse these assets,“ warned Professor Dr Trifunović.
SUSTAIN NUCLEAR SAFETY
REGULATION, CONTROL, COMMUNICATION WITH THE PUBLIC AND THE CHERNOBYL PHENOMENON IN POPULAR CULTURE orking with radiation is one of the most regulated and controlled human activities in the world and our country. SRBATOM has an integrated system of regulation, control and supervision of all activities using radiation, as well as comprehensive protection of the population from this risk. Dr Bojan Radak, Advisor/Director at SRBATOM, Radmila Ćorović Medenica, Director of Foreign Trade of the Vinča Institute of Nuclear Sciences, Robert Čoban, President of Color Press Group and Professor Goran Milašinović, cardiologist and writer, were the participants of the panel dedicated to regulation, control, communication with the public and the Chernobyl phenomenon in popular culture. In his introductory presentation, Dr
Bojan Radak underlined that fear comes from ignorance, and that those people who are intimidated believe misconceptions, such as that irradiated people emit radiation or that radiation is spread like an infectious disease. For this to be avoided, people need to be informed and make the right decisions based on the right information and make rational conclusions about radiation. This is one of the most regulated fields of human activity and the aim of the Law on Radiation and Nuclear Safety and Security is to achieve a higher level of protection of the health of individuals, the population and the environment, now and in the future, from the harmful effects of ionizing radiation. Dr Radak also pointed out that atomic energy was handicapped in as much that it was first
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associated with an atomic bomb, and drew a parallel by saying that if the first information about electricity was associated with an electric chair, we would have a different view of it. Dr Goran Milašinović, PhD, noted that he first started to investigate the case of Vinča when he read that the first bone marrow transplant was performed in 1958 by Georges Mathe on scientists who came from Vinča, but that there was no mention of it. The Nobel Prize for First Transplant was awarded to Dr. Wilson, an American, 20 years later, who in his speech, said that the first human bone marrow transplant attempt was made on scientists involved in the Vinča case, although the attempt was unsuccessful and that was one of the paradoxes that drew him to write a book on the case.
SUSTAIN NUCLEAR SAFETY
REGULATION, CONTROL AND COMMUNICATION
What are the challenges in designing an efficient safety system?
here is overwhelming evidence that humans have taken over the planet. Nature is almost completely in our hands. So, we are responsible for managing it, and constantly developing and improving systems of safety and control – primarily of our own activities, since all of them make an impact. On our environment, and on our life. Along those lines, using radiation and nuclear power is one of the most controlled human activities at the moment. As expected, Chernobyl and Fukushima accidents prompted a lot of development in the field of safety. The number of direct deaths from radiation in the case of Chernobyl was 31, in the case of Fukushima it was 0 (zero) – which, in itself, indicates an advance in safety measures. In Serbia, regulation and control of this field of human activity has been greatly advanced at the end of 2018, when the new Law on Radiataion and Nuclear Safety and Security was enacted. It established the Serbian Radiation and Nuclear Safety and Security Directorate (SRBATOM) as a national regulatory body, independent and directly answerable to the Government of Serbia, with an important asset in the form of inspection. This meant a completely independent and responsible regulatory work, coupled with direct control of implementaton of regulations. National Strategy for Radiation and Nuclear Safety is one of the new obligations. What are the challenges in de-
signing an efficient safety system? They are twofold: expert issues and psychological issues. Expert issues (reference levels or limits of exposure, safety measures, etc.) are addressed by established methodologies. Psychological issues are, however, more volatile, since they include common radiophobia, misunderstanding of the safety system, distrust as a result, etc. These are typical barriers that need to be overcome in order to implement safety culture, an important part of the safety system. Where does the psychological fear from all things nuclear come from? Definitely from the fact that nuclear energy was introduced into the human civilization by the nuclear bomb. Even today, the perception of many is that explosions in Chernobyl and Fukuchima were nuclear explosions, like the one in Hiroshima in 1945, for example. Even though it is not technically possible. This shows how much mass fear created at one point in history can obstruct rational comprehension, needed for further development. How to overcome such an obstacle? By knowledge, first of all. Education is always the answer. At a common level, though, things can be made more familiar to the public with presenting a wider picture, in which radiation and nuclear phenomena would be placed accordingly and proportional to their true importance – in comparison with other risks. There are many risks to health
Dr B O JA N RA DA K Serbian Radiation and Nuclear Safety and Security Directorate SRBATOM
National Strategy for Radiation and Nuclear Safety is one of the new obligations
in the environment, even without pollution introduced by humans. People are more or less aware of them. It will be beneficial to device a scheme in which radiological risks would be compared to non-radiological risks, so as to create a comprehensible picture to the public, helping the public to relate to them. This will help the so-called graded approach, meaning – addressing each risk proportionally to its true ipact. At the moment, the public often puts a radiological risk ABOVE all other environmental or other risks in an extremely disproportionate manner. So, how to do it? An example is the comparison of lung cancer risk coming from radon, a naturally present radioactive gas in dwellings, in combination with habitual smoking. It has been proven that this natural health risk multiplies by 10 to 20 times in case of smoking. That is a very illustrative comparison. Another approach to getting familiar with radiation and rationalizing perception is what has been the recent advancment in Ukrainian tourism – organizing tourist visits to Chernobyl. It is an efficient way of alleviating the fear and starting to look at things in a rational manner. Due to long embedded fears, many people are exposed to fake facts and conceptions that circulate in the media. In such an environment, SRBATOM serves as an all-important reference point where only true information is available, and only true answers are given.
SUSTAIN NUCLEAR SAFETY
P rofe sso r D r G O RA N M I L A Š I N OV I Ć Cardiologist and writer
rofessor Dr Goran Milašinović, a cardiologist and writer, spoke about the motives for writing his book "The Vinča Case," the first novel about the so-called Serbian Chernobyl. "This type of catastrophe is very receptive to literature. Many good books have been written about Chernobyl, and one has been even awarded the Nobel Prize. The book is "Chernobyl Prayer" by the Belarussian writer, Svetlana Alexievich,“ Professor Milašinović said. A famous mini-series was
THE VINČA CASE - SERBIAN CHERNOBYL
filmed based on the novel and presented at the Nuclear Safety Today Conference. "I was interested in an accident that happened at the Vinča Institute of Nuclear Sciences in 1958, in which six Belgrade scientists were irradiated. They were transported to the Curie Hospital in Paris, where the first human bone marrow transplant was performed on them. The voluntary donors were citizens of Paris, who also did not know at the time whether they would survive as bone marrow donors themselves. Their only
IMPORTING NUCLEAR WASTE TO SERBIA IS ABSOLUTELY NOT POSSIBLE R
admila Ćorović Medenica, Director of the Foreign Trade Department at the Vinča Institute of Nuclear Sciences and a participant of the Nuclear Safety Today conference, spoke about the relevant regulation, strict control of the movement of all nuclear materials and the Vinča Institute. "Permits for the transport of nuclear material from and to Serbia are issued by the Directorate, and for the past 40 years, we have been in charge of importing and exporting radioactive material, nuclear material and fuel and used nuclear material. We have imported the so-called cobalt bomb, cobalt 60 for the Radiation Unit and a source of iridium 190 on several occasions. We also import raw materials for our laboratory and for radioisotopes used by the
motive was humanity. The transplant was performed by one of France's greatest scientists, Georges Mathe,” he went on to say. “Still the Nobel Prize for First Transplant was awarded to Dr Wilson, an American, 20 years later, who in his speech, said that the first human bone marrow transplant attempt was made on scientists involved in the Vinča case, although the attempt was unsuccessful and that was one of the paradoxes that drew him to write a book on the case,” concluded Professor Milašinović.
RA D M I L A ĆO ROV I Ć MEDENICA Director of the Foreign Trade Department at the Vinča Institute of Nuclear Sciences
Inep Institute in Zemun, which is the only manufacturer of radioactive materials, i.e. radiopharmaceuticals, in Serbia. “The Directorate has to issue an import and transport permit for every operation. At least 48 hours before the start of the operation, we have to inform the authorities which radioactive isotope we are importing, the name of the manufacturer, the type of packaging used, the date of arrival to our border and the name of the transport company and the end-user. So, we have total control from the moment of import to the moment of use,” she says and adds: “We recently had a huge radioactive source transiting our country. The Directorate’s inspectors, radiologists and colleagues were present at the relevant border crossing and the entire convoy was
followed by customs agents and the police. We checked the level of radioactivity on the vehicles which had lead protection. No radioactive isotope can be moved without being stored in adequate packaging. ” Ćorović Medenica categorically denied rumours that Serbia had been importing nuclear waste:” That is strictly forbidden and absolutely impossible. People who work at the Vinča Institute are transported by buses to their place of work. Recently, we had a case of a colleague having a thyroid examination during which she received a small diagnostic dose of radioactive iodine. As soon as she entered Vinča, an alarm went off. Our alarms are identical to those at the border and are extremely sensitive, so it is impossible for them not to detect nuclear waste.”
SUSTAIN NUCLEAR SAFETY
NATIONAL NUCLEAR SAFETY
First National Report Convention on Nuclear Safety SRBATOM
he Republic of Serbia is st ro n g l y co m m i tted to achieving the highest level of nuclear safety and security. The First National Report was prepared by the Serbian Radiation and Nuclear Safety and Security Directorate during spring and summer of 2019. The Report was prepared according to the INFCIRC guidelines. The Parliament of the Republic of Serbia adopted the Law on Ratification of Nuclear Safety Convention in November 2017. The Convention entered into force in the Republic of Serbia on 18 March 2018. This document is the first National Report on Nuclear Safety Convention relevant to the Republic of Serbia which provides information about the regulatory body. The Republic of Serbia has no nuclear installations on its territory and there are no plans for their
construction in the near future. There are no nuclear installations in the Republic of Serbia in terms of the definition of such installations in the Nuclear Safety Convention. The construction of nuclear power plants, nuclear fuel production plants and plants for processing used nuclear fuel for nuclear power plants has been banned in the Republic of Serbia since 1989. Research in the field of application of nuclear energy in the Republic of Serbia started in the late 1940s shortly after the Vinča Institute near Belgrade was established. The Vinča Institute was established on 10 January 1948, with direct governmental management. During the first several years, the basic infrastructure for research in physics, chemistry and biology was put in place at the Institute. Multidisciplinary research within the Institute for Nuclear Sciences was shaped
D AT E S
The Convention entered into force in the Republic of Serbia on 18 March 2018
by construction and the beginning of operation of research reactors RA and RB in the late 1950s, and opening of laboratories for highly active chemistry, reactor materials, radiation and medical protection and nuclear reactor technology. During its history, the Vinča Institute was significantly reorganized several times. The breakup of the former Yugoslavia in the early 1990s, accompanied by the economic crisis, lead to a significant decrease in all research activities in the nuclear field. Lack of human resources due to ageing and brain drain also had a great impact on the loss of knowledge and experience. Finally, the establishment of Public Company Nuclear Facilities of Serbia (PC NFS) in 2009, was the last organizational change, putting all nuclear facilities again under direct state control. The first regulatory body for
SUSTAIN NUCLEAR SAFETY
nuclear safety in the former Yugoslavia was the Federal Commission for Nuclear Energy (FCNE), established in 1955. The function of the regulatory body was transferred to different ministries in 1970 by the decision of the Federal Government on cessation of FCNE. The Serbian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Agency (SRPNA) was established as a regulatory body in 2009. Inspection control over implementing radiation protection and nuclear safety measures were performed by two ministries until 2018. The Parliament of the Republic of Serbia adopted the new Law on Radiation and Nuclear Safety and Security in November 2018. SRPNA was transferred to the Serbian Radiation and Nuclear Safety and Security Directorate (SRBATOM) by the provisions of the new Law with additional responsibilities including inspection supervision. Nuclear facilities in the Republic of Serbia are research reactors RA and RB on the VinÄ?a site near Belgrade, radioactive waste management facilities on the same site, and former uranium mine and associated hydrometallurgical plant in Gabrovnica near Kalna. PC NFS is the operator of all nuclear facilities in the Republic of Serbia.
Protection strategy The protection strategy complies with the Preparedness and Response for a Nuclear or Radiological Emergency, General Safety Requirements No GSR Part 7, IAEA, Vienna (2015). Protective actions for population and emergency workers, as well as criteria for their implementation have been set in NREP, and types of hazards have been recognized. No reference level has been established. The transition from an emergency to existing exposure situation is not clearly defined. Decision making According to the Law on Disas-
ter Risk Reduction and Emergency Management, the coordinating bodies for all emergencies, including the nuclear and radiological emergencies, are national, regional and local Disaster Response Headquarters (DRH), depending on the scale of an emergency. Members of DRH are representatives of state administration, local communities and experts from special organizations, scientific and other institutions, companies and other legal entities, whose competencies and duties relate to protection and rescue. The Republic of Serbia has no assessment and prognosis tools and the only way to set certain criteria was to apply the criteria of the international community. Therefore, the criteria for the implementation of protective measures have been taken from the international standards. The criteria for protective and other response actions that are expected to be undertaken to minimize severe deterministic effects or to reduce the risk of stochastic effects predicted by NREP coin-
NO PLA NS
The Republic of Serbia has no nuclear installations on its territory and there are no plans for their construction in the near future
cide with the Criteria for Use in Preparedness and Response for a Nuclear or Radiological Emergency, General Standards Guide No. GSG-2, IAEA, Vienna (2011) and Council Regulation (Euratom) 2016/52 of 15 January 2016 laying down maximum permitted levels of radioactive contamination of food and feed following a nuclear accident or any other case of radiological emergency. There are eight NPPs at a distance of less than 500km from the Serbian border. In line with the requirements of IAEA Safety Standards publication GSR Part 7, the Serbian territory is within emergency planning distances (extended planning distance and ingestion and commodities planning distance) of two NPPs in neighbouring countries - NPP Paks in Hungary. which is 70km from the Serbian border, and NPP Kozloduy in Bulgaria, which is 90km from the Serbian border (Figure 6). The use of Iodine Thyroid Blocking (ITB) as an urgent protective measure is not assumed on the territory of the Republic of Serbia.
SUSTAIN NUCLEAR SAFETY
NUCLEAR SAFETY AS A PRIORITY The Serbian Radiation and Nuclear Safety and Security Directorate monitors the level of radioactivity and the changes thereof, evaluates the effects of radioactivity on the public and the environment, gives instructions on the implementation of the appropriate measures, monitors the implementation of such measures, and publishes annual report on the level of public exposure to ionizing radiation in the Republic of Serbia
or the purpose of creating the conditions for professional and efficient performance of regulatory control over the practices regulated by the Law on Radiation and Nuclear Safety and Security, the Serbian Radiation and Nuclear Safety and Security Directorate (SRBATOM) was established as a separate and independent regulatory authority conducting regulatory, professional and other related executive duties in the field of radiation and nuclear safety and security, by law. In May 2009, the Republic of Serbiaâ€™s Parliament adopted the Law on Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety. This Law stipulates measures for the protection of human life, health and environment from harmful effects of ionizing radiation and
nuclear safety measures regarding nuclear activities. It also regulates the conditions for practices with sources of ionizing radiation and nuclear material, as well as radioactive waste management. The Law on Ban on the Construction of Nuclear Power Plants is also in force in the Republic of Serbia. Under this law, it is forbidden to build nuclear power plants, nuclear fuel production plants and plants for reprocessing used nuclear fuel for nuclear power plants. It is also forbidden to make investment decisions, investment programmes and technical documentation for the construction of nuclear power plants, production plants for nuclear fuel and plants for reprocessing used nuclear fuel for nuclear power plants. The Serbian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Agency (SRPNA)
SUSTAIN NUCLEAR SAFETY
was established by the Decree on Establishment of the Serbian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Agency, adopted by the Serbian Government, according to the Law on Public Agencies from 2009, to provide the conditions for quality and efficient radiation protection and nuclear safety measures while performing radiation practices and nuclear activities. According to Article 5 of the Law, SRPNA was established as a regulatory organization performing public authorizations pursuant to the Law from 2009. The Ministry of Environmental Protection, as the ministry responsible for radiation protection, provided financial resources for the SRPNA from the state budget. The new law of 2018 establishes The Serbian Radiation and Nuclear Safety and Security Directorate as an independent regulatory body, which drafts strategies and action plans for their implementation under Article 6 and 8, with the view of preparing draft regulations adopted by the Gov-
In May 2009, the Republic of Serbiaâ€™s Parliament adopted the Law on Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety
ernment under this Law, adopting rulebooks and other guides according to this Law. It monitors the level of radioactivity and the changes thereof, evaluates the effects of radioactivity on the public and the environment, gives instructions on the implementation of the appropriate measures, monitors the implementation of such measures, and publishes an annual report on the level of public exposure to ionizing radiation in the Republic of Serbia. The Serbian Radiation and Nuclear Safety and Security Directorate ascertains protective measures for members of the public, the public and the environment from the harmful effect of ionizing radiation; establishes requirements for protection against increased exposure of workers, members of the public and the public to naturally occurring radiation; makes decisions on issuing, suspending or revoking authorizations for practices, stipulates the use of radiation sources, gives approvals to perform radiation protec-
tion, issues permits for trade-in radiation sources and the transport of dangerous goods, as well as for the exemption of duty to obtain authorization pursuant. The Directorate ensures continuous professional cooperation in the performance of duties by engaging consultants, preparing projects or establishing permanent and ad hoc advisory bodies. The Serbian Radiation and Nuclear Safety and Security Directorate creates and keeps records of facilities, radiation sources and radioactive waste, as well as other data relevant for radiation and nuclear safety and security. Also, it categorizes nuclear and radioactive material based on the evaluation of possible damage in case of theft or unauthorized use of certain type and amount of material, or in case of sabotage of the facility where nuclear or radioactive material is generated, processed, used, stored or disposed, and prescribes appropriate protective measures for different categories of material.
SUSTAIN NUCLEAR SAFETY
KEEPING UP WITH THE REST OF THE WORLD Agreement on the Application of Safeguards and Additional Protocol
he Republic of Serbia and the International Atomic Energy Agency concluded the Agreement on the Application of Safeguards in Connection with the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons that entered into force on 28 December 1973 (concluded with the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia and continues to be applied for Serbia to the extent relevant to the territory of Serbia). The application of safeguards is based on the assessment of the accuracy and entirety of the nuclear material declared by the Republic of Serbia, as well as the nuclear activities. The verification measures include site inspection (which can be ad hoc, regular and special), visits and continuous monitoring and evaluation. In essence, there are two groups of measures carried out depending on the scope
of the Agreement for the Application of Safeguards being in force. The first group relating to the verification of the state reports on the declared nuclear material and nuclear activities. These measures primarily refer to the accounting of the nuclear material, supplemented by deterrence and surveillance techniques, such as sealing and IAEA CCTV mounting in nuclear facilities. The second group contains additional measures serving to strengthen the IAEA inspection competence, incorporated within the Additional Protocol. The Additional Protocol is a legally binding document that authorizes the IAEA not only to verify the site-controlled declared nuclear material, but also guarantee the nonexistence of undeclared nuclear material and nuclear activities within the state. The Additional Protocol to the
The Additional Protocol to the Safeguards Agreements between the Republic of Serbia and the IAEA was concluded on 3 July 2009
Safeguards Agreements between the Republic of Serbia and the IAEA was concluded on 3 July 2009, and it underlines the readiness of our country to support the international efforts to control non-proliferation of nuclear weapons. The ratification of the Protocol implies the approval of an extremely complex and comprehensive process that primarily requires adequately educated and welltrained staff, as well as adequate financial resources. Our country is currently in the process of preparing for the ratification. The overview of specific measures that enter into force following the ratification of the Additional Protocol are as follows: â€˘ Provision of information by the state, and access to the IAEAâ€™a inspectors to the entire nuclear fuel cycle-related activities, including uranium mines, fuel fabri-
SUSTAIN NUCLEAR SAFETY
cation, fuel enrichment facilities, nuclear waste sites, as well as any other sites where nuclear material is or can be present. • Provision of information by the state and the access to the IAEA inspectors on short notice to all facilities on the site. The additional Protocol enables the IAEA inspectors to gain complementary access so as to ensure there is no undeclared nuclear material, or to solve the issues of inconsistency in the information that the state submits on its nuclear activities. The inspection is mostly announced 24 hours in advance. However this can be shorter – at least 2 hours in advance – in case of access to any location on the site deemd as required to verify the information on the facility design, or in case of ad hoc or routine inspections on the site. The activities within such inspection can include visual observation; collection of environmental samples; utilization of radiation detection and measurement devices; application of seals and other tamper-indicating devices. • C ollection of environmental samples by the IAEA in locations other than the declared ones when the IAEA finds it necessary. (Wide-area environmental sampling would require an approval by the IAEA’s Board of Governors and the consultation with the relevant state). • T he IAEA’s right to make use of internationally established systems of direct communications, including satellite systems and other forms of telecommunication. • T he instance of accepting the designated IAEA inspectors by the state and issuance of multiple entry/exit and/or transit visas, where required, (valid for at least one year) for the inspectors. • Provision of information by the state and the IAEA’s verification mechanism relating to nuclear
fuel cycle-related research and development activities. • Provision of information by the state on the production and export of sensitive nuclear technologies, and the IAEA’s verification mechanisms for the production and import locations in the state.
M AT E R I A L
The application of safeguards is based on the assessment of the accuracy and entirety of the nuclear material declared by the Republic of Serbia, as well as the nuclear activities
EU Projects Through the Legal Support for Negotiations (PLAC II) project, the European Union is assisting Serbia in improving the degree of harmonization of its domestic legislation with the Acquis Communautaire and the implementation of legal acts, and in building up the capacity of relevant institutions to successfully conduct accession negotiations. The main project beneficiaries are the Ministry of European Integration and the Negotiating Team for conducting the negotiations on Serbia's accession to the European Union. Other beneficiaries of the project are line ministries and institutions in charge of harmonizing legislation in specific areas. Within Chapter 15 - Energy, nine project activities were imple-
mented in the period from June 2016 to December 2018, of which the Serbian Radiation and Nuclear Safety and Security Directorate is a beneficiary, either alone or in cooperation with other ministries. The PLAC III project provides legal support to the Government of Serbia during the process of harmonization of national legislation with the Acquis, by enhancing the existing and drafting new legislation, as well as by assisting with the process of accession negotiations with the European Union. Assistance during the negotiation process will be provided through workshops and trainings organized under the auspices of the project. The main objective of the project is to achieve a high degree of harmonization of national legislation with the Acquis Communautaire and its implementation. Within Chapter 15 - Energy, implementation of 7 project activities is planned in the period from January 2019 to July 2021, of which the Serbian Radiation and Nuclear Safety and Security Directorate is a beneficiary, either alone or in cooperation with other ministries and institutions.
SUSTAIN NUCLEAR SAFETY
RADIATION IS A DAILY OCCURRENCE
Brings a huge advantage when it is controlled and used knowingly he Serbian Radiation and Nuclear Safety and Security Directorate (SRBATOM) organized the Nuclear Safety Today conference at the House of the Parliament of the Republic of Serbia. The conference focused on nuclear safety, the use of knowledge of nuclear energy and ionizing radiation for peacetime purposes, as well as the regulation and supervision of these activities. Nuclear safety in the EU terminology today also involves radiation safety. Through the four panel discussions and introducto-
Nuclear safety in the EU terminology today also involves radiation safety
ry speeches, the conference participant talked about the importance of nuclear safety today, the Chernobyl accident and the development of nuclear safety after this incident. Like most other inventions and discoveries, nuclear technologies are a valuable asset of civilization. Radiation is a daily occurrence and brings a huge advantage when it is controlled and used knowingly in medicine, industry, agriculture... Radioactive waste is no more dangerous than other hazardous waste, provided it is handled conscientiously and with the implementation of the best technical solutions, which are constantly improved. Working with radiation is one of the most regulated and controlled human activities. SRBATOM has an integrated system of regulation, control and supervision of all activities using radiation, as well as comprehensive risk protection of the population. Cooperation with the public is very important in order to have a good protection system in place and mutual trust. Dr. Djordje Lazarević, Deputy Head of the Nuclear Technology Development and Implementation Division of the public enterprise Nuklearni Objekti Srbije (Nuclear Facilities of Serbia), presented an analysis of the accident at Unit 4 of the Chernobyl Power Plant and the III+ and IV generation of nuclear power plants. Zoran Drače, Head of Sector at the International Atomic Energy Agency - IAEA, pointed out that it is normal for people to fear something that can have fatal consequences. However, we all live with daily risks, so we must also learn to live with radiation too, to which we are constantly exposed: "People need to be educated that radiation is not fatal. There is nothing safer than working in a nuclear facility because all employees are subjected to constant control. So, there is no reason to fear in advance that a power plant will cause a disaster. Of course,
nuclear accidents happen and that's part of the story of life at risk. However, it is important that there is a way to manage them and that the consequences could be severe but not catastrophic. ” Professor Darko Trifunović, Director of the Institute for National and International Security, spoke about safety services, generally unknown to the general public, in the context of nuclear safety. "Quality of staff training is of paramount importance for the safety of nuclear installations. There is a special intelligence and safety methodology, which is little known, and is used to identify those people whose motive is to threaten or misuse these assets,“ warned Professor Trifunović. Dr Milovan Matović, director of the Nuclear Medicine Centre of the Clinical Centre Kragujevac, doctor of nuclear medicine and head of the Department of Nuclear Medicine and Oncology at the Faculty of Medical Sciences, University of Kragujevac, reminded us of the fact that even electricity can be a good servant, but a bad master. “When it comes to radionuclides and their application in medicine, we can say that they are a good servant - a great help in the diagnosis of various diseases and their therapies. For diagnostics, we use gamma emitters, as well as sixty other radionuclides, either independently or as markers of some compounds, which are then delivered to the target tissue. In all diagnostic and therapeutic procedures, the design of radiopharmaceuticals is such that the target tissue is as good as possible and that as much of the applied radionuclide as possible ends up in it to obtain the best possible overview, that is, to obtain the best therapeutic effect.” After a panel discussion, the audience was shown a recording of the international drill called ConvEx-3 which is used to assess the country's readiness to react adequately in the event of an accident.
SUSTAIN NUCLEAR SAFETY
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SUSTAIN NUCLEAR SAFETY