The NEA has always played a major role in past developments of the International System of Radiological Protection. For example, co-operation with the International Committee on Radiological Protection (ICRP) has always been a pillar of the NEA programme of work, directly in a bilateral form or indirectly through the feedback from its 34 member countries on the system and underlying science, its translation into regulations, standards and supporting guidance documents, and in its implementation and related practices.
In this context, through a variety of mechanisms for sharing experience and for in-depth reflection on many issues, the NEA, and in particular the CRPPH, have contributed both to the evolution of the system, and to the improvement of its application by identifying new and emerging challenges, solving problems and identifying good practices. In turn, this valuable service has also provided a feedback to national governments and international organisations to help them remain at the state-of-the-art and share and implement best practices. Interaction and co-ordination with international organisations, notably the ICRP, is essential to seek synergy, complementarity, avoid duplication and contribute to a harmonised radiological protection framework.
In 2002, the NEA CRPPH established a dedicated expert group (EGIR) to evaluate draft general recommendations developed by the International Commission on Radiological Protection (ICRP) and to provide feedback on policy and implementation to the authors of the document, in order to ensure that the final recommendations reflect the views and concerns of the CRPPH.
Because of its positive experience with this process of document review, the CRPPH agreed at its 2009 meeting that the EGIR process is a powerful and useful assessment tool that could, in principle, be used to assess draft documents from many different organizations, providing, of course, that the CRPPH was interested in a particular document in development, and the drafting organisation was willing to provide draft material for assessment. As such, the CRPPH agreed that the EGIR should be thought of as a process “in standby”, to be implemented on an ad-hoc basis to assess specific draft documents identified by the CRPPH. Each such assessment will involve a new call for nominations to assure the participation of appropriate subject-matter experts. During its 76th meeting, the CRPPH agreed to change the name of the expert group from “Expert Group on the Implications of Recommendations (EGIR)” to “Expert Group on International Recommendations (EGIR)”, to reflect that the EGIR process may be used to assess draft documents from many different international organisations.
With perspective of the launch of a strategic review of the ICRP set of fundamental recommendations in 2021, the mandate of the EGIR has been extended until 2023 and will be renewed as many times as necessary with the objective “ensuring that the final document best serve the needs of national and international radiological protection policy makers, regulators and implementers”. The EGIR provides a unique opportunity for NEA member countries to reflect in depth on the current system of radiological protection and to assess areas that may require further attention in light of the lessons of the past 15-20 years, advances in science and knowledge, national experience and remaining challenges identified in regulation, implementation and practice.
The mandate of Reference of this Group is as follows:
The CRPPH assists NEA member countries in the implementation and enhancement of the system of radiological protection. It contributes to the adoption and the maintenance of high standards of protection for the public, workers and the environment in all activities involving the use of ionising radiations, and particularly, but not limited to the field of nuclear energy.