For some time, NEA member country organisations have experienced a significant loss of a generation of highly experienced radiological protection professionals enter retirement age. Recognising the need to pass vital understandings about the radiological protection system to a new generation of radiological protection experts, the NEA, in co‑operation with the Swedish Radiation Safety Authority (SSM) and the Centre for Radiation Protection Research (CRPR) of Stockholm University, created the International Radiological Protection School (IRPS).
The third session of the IRPS was held on 23-27 August 2021 with 37 participants from 20 countries and 3 international organisations. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the school was held entirely online for the first time through a dedicated learning platform developed in co-operation with Oregon State University.
“The idea behind this course was recognising that, as the world has developed the radiological protection system over the course of decades, there was considerable inherent wisdom and knowledge that went into the rules written down by the International Commission on Radiological Protection (ICRP), the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and others over the course of time,” noted NEA Director General William D. Magwood, IV during his welcoming remarks to students.
“But the understanding about where those rules come from and why they are what they are is something that perhaps can only be gained through conversations with and lectures from people who were there, people who participated in these exercises.”
In this context, the five-day training featured lectures by radiological protection experts on the history of the development and implementation of the international system of radiological protection, as well as on the latest developments and future challenges in the field. The live lectures were accompanied by Q&A sessions, interactive quizzes, pre-recorded video lectures and selected reading materials. The participating students also undertook a number case studies and proposed solutions to hypothetical challenges in radiological protection regulation and implementation.
"Attendance in the IRPS 2021 gave me the opportunity to expand the horizons of my knowledge about the evolution of the international radiological protection system and I learned a lot from the case study sessions,” said Szymon Domański, a radiation physicist at the Polish National Centre for Nuclear Research (NCBJ). “Moreover, support from the world’s top experts and the forum discussions changed my perception of many radiological protection issues.”
Franklin Eze, Chief Radiographer at the Evercare Hospital Lekki in Lagos, Nigeria added: “Coming to the IRPS, I desired to understand the essence of the current system of radiological protection and to be inspired by the experts who fashioned it. It was a very marvellous learning, sharing, and networking experience, and through the lessons, I discovered opportunities to enhance my practice as a radiation protection professional.”