28 Sep 2021

ETSON and IAEA cooperate to strengthen capabilities of Technical and Scientific Support Organisations worldwide

On the occasion of the 65th General Conference of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), representatives of the IAEA and the European Technical Safety Organisations Network (ETSON) agreed to continue their close cooperation. In line with the Practical Arrangements signed on September 21, ETSON commits itself to further develop a tool allowing for the self-assessment of Technical and Scientific Support Organisations (TSO) and to support the organization of the upcoming IAEA International TSO Conference.

Signing Practical Agreement © IAEA

For more than a decade, the IAEA has been emphasising the vital role of TSO in providing sound and reliable expertise in support of national regulators and governments regarding nuclear and radiation safety and related scientific issues. Within the framework of the IAEA TSO Forum (TSOF) founded in 2010, ETSON members have already been supporting the Agency´s activities in this context. In 2017, ETSON and the IAEA formally agreed on collaborating closely to enhance TSO´s capabilities and strengthening their role.

Following a meeting with ETSON Board members in the margins of this year´s IAEA General Conference, Ms Lydie Evrard, IAEA Deputy Director General and Head of the Agency´s Department of Nuclear Safety and Security and Mr Uwe Stoll, Technical Director of the German TSO GRS and current President of ETSON, signed the so-called Practical Arrangements which serve as the formal basis for the continuation of their collaboration in the next three years.

One key element of this collaboration is to further develop the TSO self-assessment methodology TOSCA. TOSCA aims in particular to develop and maintain TSO capabilities in countries embarking on nuclear power programmes. It comprises of a self-assessment questionnaire focussing on the core TSO technical areas as defined in the IAEA´s TECDOC-1835 and a specific database designed to analyse the results of the questionaire by means of a spider web chart analysis. This analysis is supposed to be evaluated and discussed in so-called National Workshops supported by the TSOF. 

A first version of TOSCA was tested by South African nuclear regulator NNR, including a respective pilot National Workshop conducted in 2019. The experiences gained from this initial trail were presented in the General Conference´s side event »Challenges for the TSOF« by representatives of NNR and ETSON. Under the newly signed Practical Arrangements, ETSON has committed itself to further develop TOSCA, based on the results of the test run. TOSCA is open to all TSOF members who may request assistance in organising National Workshops by the IAEA.

Furthermore, ETSON has also committed itself to support the organisation and implementation of the upcoming IAEA International TSO Conference which shall take place in St. Petersburg, Russia, in October 2022. Since 2007, these conferences form an integral part of the TSOF´s endeavours to foster exchange on ongoing initiatives and current challenges faced by TSO and respective networks such as ETSON. To coordinate their efforts, representatives of the ETSON Board met with Mr Alexander Trembitsky, Head of the Russian regulatory authority Rostechnadzor and IAEA representatives in the margins of the General Conference.


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