Education and Training
HERCA activities on Education and Training in radiation protection are under the responsibility of the WG on Education and Training (WGE&T).
Radiation Protection Education and Training (E&T) has been of outmost interest for HERCA from the beginning of the Association in 2007.
On the occasion of the 14th meeting of HERCA, the HERCA taskforce Education and Training (E&T) in Radiation Protection was tasked with the development of criteria/guidelines for the implementation of the radiation protection expert (RPE) and radiation protection officer (RPO) making use of ENETRAP I, II, III results where appropriate and respecting diversity in implementation of the BSS in the framework of the HERCA Action Plan on the role of HERCA in the transposition of the Euratom-BSS. It was decided that a workshop on this topic should be organized while paying attention to the deadlines of the ENETRAP III project which include among the deliverables guidance documents to support the implementation of E&T requirements for RPE and RPO.
Following the approval to establish the Working Group on Education & Training in radiation protection at the 16th board meeting with a new mandate and action plan (approved at 17th meeting), the activities of the workgroup are focused on the achievement of a common understanding of the EU-BSS Directive requirements considering education and training in radiation protection. At the 20th Board meeting a guidance document for the implementation of RPE and RPO was presented to the board, approved and published on the HERCA public website.
Moreover, the roles of RPE and RPO are becoming more challenging considering the continuous advances in ionizing radiation applications and the radiation protection techniques. To gain more insight in the implications of these developments a second workshop on the challenges in RPE and RPO implementation was organised (May 10-12, 2021) by the WG E&T in RP core group. HERCA members presented the perceived challenges in RPE and RPO implementation and the implications of new and approaching techniques on education and training of RPEs/RPOs were discussed.
Based on the conclusions and recommendations of the above workshop, it was considered necessary the mandate of the HERCA WG on E&T to be updated accordingly in order to address effectively the significant issues that were raised.
- General considerations and working principles
The HERCA WGE&T shall:
- Investigate the implementation of a graded approach for the RPE/RPO assignment. A guidance document should be prepared describing the possibilities in the implementation of the graded approach for the RPE/RPO assignment.
- Identify the common criteria among MSs which could be used for the evaluation of the competences of the RPEs and RPOs. Assessing competences instead of educational background of RPEs and RPOs could be an effective solution to the common understanding of their recognition in the MS since this makes comparison possible even if original educational routes have been different.
- Define and describe the concepts of on-the-job training and work experience for the RPEs and RPOs as it is strongly related to the required competences for their recognition. Moreover, WG shall come up with a proposal regarding the implementation of the concepts of on-the-job training and work experience for the RPEs and RPOs as part of the recognition and re-recognition approaches.
- Investigate whether further action should be taken for the harmonization of the different approaches (specialization of RPEs/RPOs, combined functions, required work experience, on-the-job-training, etc.) to achieve a common understanding for the recognition of RPEs and RPOs among the MS. One of the main challenges concerns the differences in the required educational background of the RPEs. However, MSs despite their differences have implemented common or similar practices. In this respect a common understanding of practices could be a good start for the common understanding taking a graded approach into account.
- Create communication channels with research platforms for the exchange of information on advancements on radiation protection. Research is connected to new developments in ionizing radiation applications. However, researchers are not always aware of the impact of their research in practise. Additionally, the funding for E&T and dissemination is limited. Therefore, close collaboration is needed among the researchers and institutes. In this respect, the connection with national and international platforms such as MELODI, ENETRAP, EUTERP, etc. is considered of great importance.
- Define the different training and retraining approaches for the occupationally exposed workers and the associated role of the undertaking, RPE and RPO herein.
Since the activities of the WG take place in the framework of HERCA, in no way duplicate or substitute activities or systems that have been formally attributed to other organisations or institutions such as the IAEA, WHO or EC, but act in a complementary way, with the aim of reaching maximum mutual benefits.
- With regard to education and training
The WG shall:
- Identify in which ways a graded approach can be implemented in training and retraining activities of RPE, RPO and occupationally exposed workers.
- Identify any additional training requirements on specialized topics related to RP which are possibly created by the new technologies and advances in the uses of ionizing radiations and RP (Nuclear Medicine, Radiotherapy, Diagnostics, mixed modalities, etc.).
- Investigating the common training and retraining possibilities among the MS for the RPEs, RPOs and occupationally exposed workers. In this respect, the concept of Train the Trainers’ courses shall be investigated.
- Create and maintain communication channels with other national and international platforms, networks, or organisations (MELODI, EAN, ENETRAP, etc.) to facilitate the exchange of knowledge and views on E&T issues regarding E&T on RP. An international cooperation for the development and conduct of related training courses and the sharing of experience might facilitate the effort for common understanding.
- Come up with a new mandate to address any pending issues not solved.
- Practical consideration and timing
The WG shall:
- Come up with a proposal regarding the implementation of the concept of the on-the-job training and work experience for the RPEs and RPOs.
- Come up with a proposal for the organisation by MSs of common training and retraining activities on RP for RPEs, RPOs and occupationally exposed workers with the assistance of other national and international organizations, platforms, networks, etc.
- Come up with a proposal for common training and retraining requirements for occupationally exposed workers based on the related experience of HERCA MS.
- Come up with a guidance document on the necessary competences of the RPEs and RPOs based on a graded approach.
- Identify additional actions to achieve a common understanding for the recognition of RPEs and RPOs among the MS.
- Enhance its collaboration with other national and international platforms, networks and organizations on issues related to the E&T on RP.
- Prepare a new mandate considering issues unsolved for which a graded approach could be considered as well as assessing the potential of mutual recognition in EU MS/ EU neighbouring countries and further work on E&T in RP.
HERCA Worshop on RPE & RPO
The Heads of the European Radiation protection Competent Authorities (HERCA) have organised on 6-8 July 2015, a workshop kindly hosted by the French nuclear Safety Authority (ASN) in its premises in Montrouge (France) on the implementation of Radiation Protection Expert (RPE) and Radiation Protection Officer (RPO). This workshop is part of the HERCA Action Plan in relation with the transposition and implementation of the Directive 2013/59/Euratom (Euratom BSS). It has been organised by the HERCA Task Force on Education & Training in Radiation Protection on behalf of HERCA in collaboration with the Dutch Authority for Nuclear Safety and Radiation Protection (ANVS), the Greek Atomic Energy Commission (EEAE) and the French Nuclear Safety Authority (ASN).
Having a common understanding on the new requirements for RPE/RPO should facilitate the implementation of BSS on RPE and RPO at national level and the way towards a better harmonisation on this issue, the WG E&T produced in 2017 the guidance on the Implementation of :