What is ORPNET?
ORPNET is a web-based network with an ultimate goal to promote optimization of the occupational radiation protection. It acts as a focal point for the occupational radiation protection providing comprehensive knowledge about worldwide, regional and national networks and systems for radiation protection of workers. In addition, the user can find here also information about the upcoming occupational radiation protection related meetings, latest publications, joint projects, posters, and news. ORPNET spreads good practices, facilitates ALARA implementation, supports experience exchange, and aims to prevent any overlap of activities at the national and international level.
Exposure of workers to radiation is a pressing issue in workplace safety. It can occur as a result of various human activities, including work associated with the different stages of the nuclear fuel cycle, the use of radioactive sources and X ray machines in medicine, scientific research, agriculture and industry, and occupations that involve handling of materials containing enhanced concentrations of naturally occurring radionuclides. Adequate radiation protection of workers is therefore essential for the safe and acceptable use of radiation, radioactive materials and nuclear energy.
Development of ORPNET
Various networks at the national and international level in the field of radiation protection has been formed with the aim to facilitate information exchange about optimization of occupational radiation protection as well as about implementation of the ALARA principle.
As an outcome of the IAEA/ILO International Action Plan on Occupational Exposure, the Occupational Radiation Protection Networks website has been established in 2010 as a shared platform providing perspective for improving occupational radiation protection worldwide.
Coordination of the networks
Development and progress of ORPNET was discussed during the International and Regional ALARA Networks Coordination Meetings, which were organized by the IAEA in 2012 and 2014 and contributed by the representatives of international and regional networks.
At the international level, ISOE (International System on Occupational Exposures), and ISEMIR (International System on Occupational Exposure in Medicine, Industry and Research) and at the regional level, EAN (European ALARA Network), EAN NORM (The European ALARA Network for Naturally Occurring Radioactive Materials), and EMAN (European Medical ALARA Network) were represented during the coordination meetings. Some regional networks, originally set up by the IAEA, have also participated, such as RECAN (Regional European and Central Asian ALARA Network), ARAN (Asian ALARA Network) and REPROLAM, Red de Optimización de Protección Radiológica Ocupacional en Latino América). Besides, the second meeting was also attended by the observers of the national platform for coordination of all fifteen French regional Radiation Protection Officer’s networks (CoRPAR) and ESOREX (European Study on Occupational Radiation Exposure). Coordination activities are essential for the continuity of ORPNET.