International radiation safety course in Stockholm gives participants practical knowledge

With radiation protection experts from all over the world and a focus on practical exercises and case studies, International Radiological Protection School (IRPS) gives professionals from over 20 different countries the opportunity for increased understanding of international radiation protection issues.

For the fifth time, the Swedish Radiation Safety Authority (SSM) organized a week-long international radiation safety course in Stockholm this August, in collaboration with the OECD's Nuclear Energy Agency (NEA) and Stockholm University. The International Radiology Protection School (IRPS) has a target group of professionals in various types of radiation-related fields worldwide. More than 50 participants from over 20 countries participated this year, many of them are experienced and have worked in their fields for many years.

“This course is based on the idea that the participants are not beginners, they should have some experience in radiation protection but need further training and more advanced knowledge. That is the idea behind the course” said Andrzej Wojcik, professor of radiation biology at the Department of Molecular Biosciences at Stockholm University and one of the initiators of the training.

The five-day course at Stockholm University includes lectures in various radiation protection-related areas, research overviews, and also a large number of workshops and exercises with cases that the participants can really get into. The university's lab is also used for practical work and analyses.

“The course is completely focused on practical aspects of radiation protection. We want to give the students time to discuss, and to work with real case studies. The teachers also remain here throughout the week, so there should be many chances to discuss and meet. The participants seem to appreciate it very much, that the whole week becomes a way to meet between the different countries”, said Andrzej Wojcik.

The week began with speeches from the representatives of the three organizations, acting director general of SSM Michael Knochenhauer, NEA director general William D. Magwood IV and Catarina Rydin, professor and section dean at Stockholm University.

“SSM was one of the initiators of this course, when it first started in 2018, and it is of great importance to us. We place great value in professionals all over the world being able to make contact and gain a deeper understanding of radiation protection through interesting and up-to-date lectures” said Michael Knochenhauer.

On Wednesday, the participants have just finished a session in the laboratory, where radiation-damaged cells have been analyzed, then received a review of the latest studies on the development of cancer in survivors of the atomic bombs in Japan in 1945, and a presentation of the UN agency UNSCEAR's international radiation protection work . During the coffee break, a multitude of languages can be heard in Stockholm University's otherwise empty summer premises.

One of the participants is Asta Nekrasovaite, chief inspector of the Transportation and radiation safety division at the Lithuanian State nuclear power safety inspectorate. She sees the course as a continuation of the long tradition of cooperation between the countries on radiation safety issues.

“We have a long tradition of collaboration with the Swedish authority, and we were helped a lot in the previous years and we often refer to Swedish documents. What I like at this course is that there are many experts present. That was unexpected, and it is really a treasure for us to have access to so many experts in one place”, said Asta Nekrasovaite.