With the advent of the many uses of ionising radiation and nuclear technology over the last century, experts in both national and international fora have worked for the establishment and the evolution of a system of Radiological Protection (RP). It is well established that the International Commission on Radiological Protection (ICRP) provides recommendations and guidance on all aspects of protection against ionising radiation that form the international RP system. Many RP principles have been agreed and accepted globally and serve as the basis upon which international standards from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), and many national regulations and guidance are built. International bodies addressing RP issues within their charters, such as the OECD Nuclear Energy Agency (NEA), through its Committee on Radiological Protection and Public Health (CRPPH), have contributed to the evolution of the system of radiological protection by sharing experience and knowledge. This practical feedback continues to refine the underlying principles of the international RP system. These principles also reflect state-of-the-art scientific knowledge, as well as the experience and collective understanding accumulated over many decades. Their application has long benefited from the very experts who helped to establish the global framework of guidance, standards, recommendations and best practices, and who are also involved in applying this framework in their home countries.
A wide variety of guidance and standards documents are available. The technical facts are provided in these documents but how the different elements have evolved, and the full body of understanding that they reflect, are not well documented. Understanding the spirit of the RP system is an integral component of its effective application. In order to appropriately apply the RP system to existing and emerging situations, such aspects – the nuances, history and between-the-line meanings – need to be fully understood by tomorrow's leading experts in order to progress in the radiological protection field.
The CRPPH has long served as a forum for exchange and co-operation, to establish best practices, contribute to the development of the key recommendations of the International Commission on Radiological Protection (ICRP) and issue innumerable technical and policy documents that capture the state of the art of RP thinking at specific points in time. The NEA decided to develop a learning programme in order to pass on a deep understanding of the spirit of the RP system, along with how it is intended to be applied in diverse and newly emerging circumstances, and how it is evolving on the basis of lessons from experiences.
The International Radiological Protection School (IRPS) has been successfully implemented since 2018 through a co-operation between the NEA, the Swedish Radiation Safety Authority (SSM) and the Centre for Radiation Protection Research (CRPR) of Stockholm University.
The IRPS programme has evolved over the last editions to address developments in radiological protection recommendations, standards, and related implementation and practices. The following subjects are covered during the five-day programme:
Sessions are built on a mix of presentations and illustrative case study discussions to introduce practical aspects of the implementation of RP actions. Other aspects such as stakeholder engagement skills are deliberated as an undercurrent of the more technical aspects of these topics.
This course is aimed at early- to mid-career experts with relevant education and ideally three to five years of work experience in the field of radiological protection. Applications from junior experts or PhD or Post-doc students, with advanced knowledge in the field of RP, can be considered.
IRPS participants may hold positions at government ministries, regulatory authorities, research institutions, nuclear fuel cycle industries or other industrial or medical sectors, where their jobs include providing policy and practical level advice on RP matters.
Even though medical radiological protection experts are welcome to join the course, the application of ionising radiation in medical diagnostics or treatment is not a main focus of the training.
The teaching for each module is practical, dynamic and interactive. Talks and presentations from radiological protection experts are accompanied by case-based discussions and group exercises. Participants will also have the opportunity to address relevant soft skills.
Lecturers take into account the participants' own experiences to keep discussions directly relevant to their situation and concerns insofar as possible.
All course instruction, course materials and discussions are in English.
Candidates have to meet the following two minimum requirements:
The call for applications usually opens between mid-February and mid-April. Candidates must submit their applications through an application platform in this period to be considered. Notification of selection is sent to the applicants around one month after the end of the application phase. Candidates should not make travel arrangements before receiving a confirmation of their selection. Registration fees are fixed annually for the 5-day course, including coffee/tea and lunch breaks, as well as social events.
Participants are requested to study the learning material provided on the IRPS online platform and to be familiar with a small set of reference documents before the course. Details are sent in due time to participants, together reference readings.
On completion of the programme, participants received a certificate of attendance.
University credits (ECTS) may also be awarded to participants and will be defined for each IRPS.
The IRPS is organised by the NEA in co-operation with the Centre for Radiation Protection Research (CRPR) of Stockholm University and with the support of the Swedish Radiation Safety Authority (SSM).
The International Radiological Protection School Advisory Board provides overall direction and strategy for the implementation of the IRPS. The Advisory Board is composed of well-respected radiological protection experts from around the world.
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.