Occupational, public and environmental radiation protection is a major challenge in the industrial applications of ionising radiation, both nuclear and non-nuclear, as well as in other areas such as the medical and research area. As is the case with all nuclear expertise, there is a trend of a decreasing number of experts in radiation protection due to various reasons. Therefore, maintaining a high level of competencies in this field is crucial for the future application of ionising radiation and to ensure the protection of workers, the public and the environment. A sustainable Education and Training (E&T) infrastructure for Radiation Protection is an essential component to combat the decline in expertise and to ensure the continuation of the high level of radiation protection knowledge in the future.
Such infrastructure has to be built in such a way that both the initial training (hereafter referred to as “Education”) and the unceasing maintenance of the level of competencies (hereafter referred to as “Training”) are available. Education is mainly provided by the universities leading to the legal recognition of the diplomas they deliver. On the other side, Training is usually the task of “training providers” such as Research Centres, Competent Authorities, and so on…
In particular, a recent study has shown that a wide variety of national approaches for E&T of the qualified expert, as required in the European Basic Safety Standards, exist in the EU Member States, the New Member States and the Candidate States. The development of a common European radiation protection and safety culture and, based on that, the mutual recognition for radiation protection courses and the acquired competencies of radiation protection experts becomes a real need. The harmonisation of E&T is a good starting point. Moreover, harmonisation will favour the mobility of workers and students throughout the European countries.
The main objectives of this project are:
- to better integrate existing education and training activities in the radiation protection infrastructure of the European countries in order to combat the decline in both student numbers and teaching institutions;
- to develop more harmonised approaches for education and training in radiation protection in Europe and their implementation;
- to better integrate the national resources and capacities for education and training;
- to provide the necessary competence and expertise for the continued safe use of radiation in industry, medicine and research.
These objectives will be reached by the establishment of a European E&T network in radiation protection which will:
- assess training needs and capabilities;
- identify the potential users and their future involvement in order to insure the sustainability of the network;
- launch a consortium of universities with the aim of create an European Master in Radiation Protection;
- review the scientific contents of E&T activities;
- explore the effectiveness of on-the-job training and identify options for additional programmes;
- propose recommendations for the recognition of courses and competencies of radiation protection experts;
- make recommendations for revising the current European Radiation Protection Course (ERPC) to include a system for credit points and modern educational tools, such as distance learning;
Two characteristics of this project need to be stressed on:
- the wish for promoting a “bottom-up” approach instead of the more usual “top-down”;
- the decision for developing a modular structure as well for the Education as for the Training programmes.
The main deliverables of the ENETRAP project are:
- the proposal for the establishment of a universities consortium;
- the delivery of a pilot session for the training in radiation protection;
- the recommendations to the EUTERP platform regarding the recognition of this training, especially for the qualified experts.
More information about the ENETRAP II project can be found at: http://enetrap2.sckcen.be/