IVR: Radiation Monitoring Facilities in Spain (IVR)

Published on: 29/04/2011

The recent, relatively frequent appearance of radioactive material in scrap metal is generating a growing social concern about the risks it entails.
The measurement of radiation and radioactive material should be performed by qualified in radiation protection personnel so that each facility has the technical support on issues of radiation protection in order to act when there is suspicion of presence of radioactive material requiring special precautions and measures.

Therefore, in order to try to prevent incidents that may occur as a result of the existence of radioactive material in metal materials that are recycled, in November 1999 a "Protocol of collaboration on radiation monitoring of metallic materials " was signed between the former Ministry of Industry and Energy, the Ministry of Development, the Nuclear Security Council and various companies.
This Protocol foresees a series of commitments and actions to be carried out by each of the signatories and for all businesses that wish to adhere, aiming to create a set of radiation monitoring measures to try to avoid, detect and control the presence of radioactive material in scrap metal that some plants used as feedstock in the production process.
Companies that adhere to this Protocol are registered in the Registry of Radiation Monitoring Facilities in the Directorate General for Energy and Mines.

Policy Context

In order to try to prevent incidents that may occur as a result of the existence of radioactive traces in metal material that is recycled, in November 1999 a "Protocol of collaboration on radiation monitoring of metallic materials" was signed between the former Ministry of Industry and Energy, the Ministry of Development, the Nuclear Security Council, the National Radioactive Waste Management Entity (ENRESA) and various companies. This protocol is based on the existence of a register of participating enterprises and sets the commitments of the various signatories. It also establishes the need to monitor material upon entrance in the facility, as well as final products and waste and the actions to be taken in case of detection of radioactive traces.

Description of target users and groups

The collaboration protocol for radiological monitoring of metallic materials, has been signed by several companies, among which:  the National Radioactive Waste Company (ENRESA), the Union of steel companies (UNESCO) and the Spanish Recycling Federation (ERF), which subsequently have joined the Federation of Workers' Commissions Metallurgical Mining, the State Federation of Metal , Construction and Allied UGT, the Spanish Association of Aluminium Refiners (Ã…seral), the National Copper Industries (UNICOBRE), the Lead Industries Union (UNIPLOM) and the Spanish Federation of Foundry Associations (FEAF).
Access to the IVR application implies the record of the monitors or devices that are being used for radiation measurements of scrap metal and the facilities available for this purpose.
It has been developed in accordance with Royal Decree 230/98, which determines the required tobacco companies to label their products by sending the necessary information to the MITT. This information is considered, under Article 20, as information of public interest and consumer interest and should be made public and kept up to date with the latest available data.

Description of the way to implement the initiative

The IVR application's object is to keep records of the monitors that detect radioactivity in scrap metal, and the relevant data in each facility. It is important to keep the history of all changes, so for the responsible to be able to answer questions like what were the installation data at a given date or what monitors were installed and their characteristics at a given date. The Ministry will be responsible for categorising high and low grade facilities. The facilities themselves are responsible for updating their data. Organizations may also be acting on behalf of the Facilities and update data in the same context.
Users, once registered or identified, may be associated with one or more organisations, with all their registered installations, which in turn will have documentation and monitors radioactivity associated with it.
The scope of this system covers several points:
On one hand it may give the partner organizations High Radiation Monitoring facilities with which they will manage their data, monitors, documentation, etc. The main organizations adhering to the protocol will be recorded creating a list of all registered organizations.
Once registered, you can access the management section of your organization where several options, such as modifying the details of the organization, associate with or assign users to one or more IVR are available.
The system will also provide the possibility to insert Radiation Monitoring Facilities and users associated with them, subsequently creating a list of all registered facilities and a list of all users. Once installed the application offers several possibilities such as: Managing an Installation provision of historical data, listing data changes etc. It also allows direct comparison between two data records showing the differences between them.

Technology solution

Access to the application via the Internet is done through a secure connection (https) and two possible ways:
1) Access by username and password.
Users need to have the permission to access this module. Of course it is necessary to also hold the corresponding password to successfully login to the application.
2) Access via Digital Certificate.
It is essential to hold a valid certificate issued by the following certification authorities:
a. Fabrica Nacional de Moneda y Timbre (FNMT - www.fnmt.es )
b. General Directorate of Police and Civil Guard (Electronic ID www.dnielectronico.es )
The application has been developed with Visual Studio.NET technology, managed using Oracle Database as well as HTML and Javascript.

It can run on the most common Internet browsers on the market (such as Internet Explorer and Firefox).

For its part, internally it operates with its own core applications belonging to the Ministry of Industry, Tourism and Trade, such as the Electronic Registration and Validation Service Electronic Certificate. Communication with these services is done through Web Services.

Technology choice: Standards-based technology

Main results, benefits and impacts

Radioactive materials are used in medicine, industry, research, etc. When in use it is necessary to apply radiation protection standards that prevent harm from happening. Despite these security rules, in recent years the presence of radioactive material in scrap metal has frequently been detected. These materials can cause serious injury to those who handle them without the necessary precautions and enormous economic damage to companies that process them.
Currently, there is a large group of companies that are registered with IVR, having recorded the equipment used for radiation measurements of scrap metal. This action allows for greater control of radiation monitoring in the recycling of metal.

Track record of sharing

The development of a joint cooperation project involves both the Ministry of Industry, Tourism and Trade, as well as other agencies such as the CSN or Spanish Recycling Federation ERDF, the EU steel firms (UNESCO), the National Union of Industries Copper (UNICOBRE), the Lead Industries Union (UNIPLOM) or the Spanish Federation of Foundry Associations (FEAF), which use the information through the application to carry out their activity.

Lessons learnt

IVR allows organizing the means to control the radioactive scrap metal. The Nuclear Safety Council of Spain in cooperation with the International Atomic Energy Agency, and the participation of the Nuclear Energy Agency of OECD, the MITT, ENRESA, and major companies in the sector, as the Spanish Federation of Recovery (FER ), the International Iron and Steel Company (UNESCO) organised the International Conference on Control and Management of radioactive material in the scrap metal, which to place  from 23- 27, 2009 in Tarragona. More than 200 experts from some 62 countries and 5 international organizations participating in the meeting were unanimous in recognizing the benefits that result from some form of binding international agreement between governments to unify the control of radioactive scrap metal.

Experts also agree that the inadvertent presence of radioactive material in scrap metal is a global problem, and that both prevention and detection require efforts from all stakeholders (industry, metal, steel, regulators and organizations managing radioactive waste.)
This international meeting, apart from having stressed the global nature of the problem and the difficulty involved in moving the particular experiences at international level, has also underlined the validity of some national experiences learned, as the Spanish case.

Scope: National