iia Gamma Working Group – review and update

The iia formed the Gamma Working Group (GWG) in 2019 in order to collaborate with industry, support gamma irradiation technology and respond to industry needs as and when required.  Over the last 3 years the group has been highly engaged and productive working on a number of initiatives.

In March 2020 the GWG collaborated with the World Institute for Nuclear Security (WINS) to produce the Best Practice Guide ‘Security of Radioactive Sources Used in Industrial Radiation Processing’.  This guide was developed with input from GWG members that have experience in irradiator security so that the guide is appropriate and specific to the gamma irradiation industry.  It now provides a reference that supplements international recommendations and enhances security requirements prescribed by national regulation.  The Best Practice Guide can be downloaded at this link to the iia publications page.

In September 2020 the GWG continued its collaboration with WINS with the webinar ‘Security of Gamma Irradiation Facilities used for Radiation Processing’.  The objective of the webinar was to provide an opportunity to share lessons learned from strengthening irradiator security, promote best security practice and the Best Practice Guide, and encourage participants to explore the topic further.  The webinar that was attended by over 300 people included input from GWG members and panel discussions with industry experts.

In 2021 the GWG started working with a U.S. National Laboratory on their project to develop a novel physical security system for gamma irradiators.  The GWG has provided industry feedback through a series of webinars as the project develops through its various phases.  The focus of this feedback is to ensure that the system is industry appropriate and does not introduce any undesirable operating conditions.  This project is on-going and GWG continues to provide feedback.

The iia and WINS have continued their collaboration with the publication of the ‘Methodology for Assessing the Effectiveness of Security Arrangements at Gamma irradiation Facilities’ in May 2021.  This was developed with input from security practitioners from GWG to ensure that the methodology is industry appropriate and focussed.  A practical trial of this methodology was performed at a European gamma irradiator in March 2022 and the methodology will be trialled as a self-assessment by a U.S. irradiator operator later in 2022.  This methodology can be downloaded at this link to the iia publications page.

Members of GWG also contributed to an article in support of gamma irradiation titled ‘The Future of Gamma Irradiation for Medical Device Sterilization’.  The article summarises the current status of gamma irradiation and highlights why the technology remains critical to meeting the growing and long term demand for sterilization.  The article was published in MD+DI in order the reach a large and diverse audience within the medical device sector.  The article can be seen at this link to MD+DI.

In June 2022 the iia will present a paper titled ’Industry Collaboration to Enhance Security at Industrial Irradiators – A Case Study’ at the IAEA International Conference on the Safety and Security of Radioactive Sources: Accomplishments and Future Endeavours.  This paper will highlight the work of the GWG and the importance of industry engagement and collaboration between stakeholders when developing new arrangements to enhance security.

The next GWG meeting is planned for May 2022 during which updates will be provided on the ongoing projects and new initiatives will be agreed.

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