What are ORPAS missions?
ORPAS missions are conducted as an independent appraisal service in the field of radiation protection of workers. Such an appraisal is an opportunity for a Member State to have all or some aspects of its occupational radiation protection programme independently assessed and evaluated against international safety standards.
While each Member State is responsible for the radiation safety of occupational radiation protection, the appraisal service is provided by the IAEA at the request of a Member State. The purpose of the assessment is to check the legislative and regulatory infrastructure and practical implementation of a state's occupational radiation protection programme.
ORPAS is appropriate for all types of facilities and activities. It also covers technical and scientific support services or organisations for protection and safety in respect to the assessment of occupational exposure from external sources of radiation and due to the intake of radionuclides. It includes individual monitoring, as well as workplace monitoring, and advisory services. ORPAS promotes self-assessment, a radiation safety culture and quality systems at facilities and activities.
An independent assessment can be used to maintain or enhance the effectiveness of the programme and to identify in an objective and unbiased manner the areas where improvements may be required to meet international guidance and best practices. Such an appraisal tries to answer the question "Are arrangements adequate and will they work?"
How does it work?
The appraisal is based on international standards and takes into account the specific conditions in the requesting member state. It also identifies specific national strengths, such as good practices in occupational radiation protection, that could be shared with other Member States.
The assessment is conducted by international experts that are selected based on their experience with such reviews, as well as for their knowledge of international guidance and best practices. They should be also able to recognise and understand the features of different national radiation safety systems and arrangements.
The expert team concludes its review with a final report that identifies recommended improvements and actions.