Introduction of the National Radiation Protection Institute (SÚRO), Czech Republic
The National Radiation Protection Institute (SURO) is a non-profit organization established by the State Office for Nuclear Safety (SUJB, Czech regulatory authority in the field of in the peaceful utilisation of nuclear energy and ionizing radiation) in 1995. SURO was built on the bases of the former Centre for Radiation Hygiene of the National Institute of Public Health in Prague, and it continues its long lasting tradition. SURO headquarters is placed in Prague together with main laboratories, but it also has three branches outside Prague. SURO currently has 168 employees,
The main mission of SURO is acknowledged in the support of SUJB in the field of a human and environment protection against ionizing radiation and, since 2017, also in the field of nuclear safety, including radioactive waste management.
Besides expert function provided to SUJB, the research activities also represent a significant part of SURO mission. The key research areas cover: (i) the safety of the life cycle of nuclear facilities (nuclear and technical safety and radiation protection), (ii) research on monitoring and management of radiation emergencies, (iii) research on the exposure of workers and the general public from artificial sources of ionizing radiation and (iv) natural sources of ionizing radiation incl. Radon programme of the Czech Republic, as well as (v) research on medical irradiation (radiotherapy, radiodiagnostics) and (vi) research on new detection and evaluation technologies. In addition to research for the needs of the state, there is a new but extensive effective cooperation with industry. For all these purposes a sustainable research infrastructure has to be ensured by SURO.
Additionally, SURO is dealing with a collection and long - term storage of qualified information and knowledge in radiation protection and nuclear safety, including data storage and processing; methodologies and guidances development; contribution to the legislative process in the area.
Based on the SUJB requirements, especially for the performance of its duties under the Act no. 263/2016 Coll. (Atomic Law), SURO is supporting the state administration in evaluation and control activities, performing measurements at workplaces with sources of ionizing radiation requested by inspectors, performing laboratory analysis of samples, as well as providing special personal dosimetry, incl. internal exposure. SURO also provides advisory and consulting services, staff training and carries out educational and awareness-raising activities, including training courses.
SURO participates in the monitoring of the radiation situation in the Czech Republic, which is ensured primarily through the Radiation Monitoring Network (RMS), the management of which is entrusted to SUJB. SURO provides the function of the Central Laboratory of the Monitoring Network, which coordinates the measurement of samples taken by laboratory and mobile groups, provides selected measurements of these samples and nationwide evaluation of measurement results, and coordinates and ensures the measurement of internal contamination of persons. RMS works in two modes, in the common monitoring, which is focused on monitoring in normal radiation situations, and in the emergency monitoring, into which the monitoring networks switch in case of accidental exposure situations.
Since 2017, the nuclear safety section has been built in SÚRO to support SUJB as a Technical Support Organization (TSO for nuclear safety). The TSO includes the Nuclear Safety Assessment and Research Department, the State Supervision Support Department and the Department for the Safe Management of Radioactive Waste and the Decommissioning of Nuclear Facilities. Due to the end of the gradual transition of TSO experts from CV REZ to SURO at the end of 2020, which was launched by the new Atomic Act, SURO is currently a fully functional scientific and research institute of SUJB for nuclear safety, and a member of the European association ETSON since January 1, 2021.
SÚRO participates in programs and projects of international organizations such as the IAEA, the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization (CTBTO), the United Nations Scientific Committee on the Effects of Atomic Radiation (UNSCEAR), and works in the EU GoE Article 31 of the Euratom Treaty, SURO is a founding member of SITEX.Network, it is involved in the European platforms NERIS, EURADOS, ESTRO, EFOMP.
SURO is a partner of national and international research organizations involved in radiation protection and nuclear safety research, including radioactive waste management, and has the capabilities to carry out competent and independent expertise in all basic areas related to nuclear safety assessment. Its further personnel and professional growth will depend on the further development of nuclear energy in the Czech Republic.