Atomic Energy Council (AEC) thanks for that the Legislator Tzu-Yung Hong held a press conference today to pay attention to the issue of the safety of radiation workers in radiographic testing (RT) industry. AEC would like to reply the discussion issues raised by the Legislator Hong, including: inadequate personal protective equipment provided by non-destructive testing (NDT) licensee, causing cancer among employees, long-term neglect of radiation risks of first-line radiation workers, unable to effectively control of violations, and current regulations should be revised to protect RT employees, etc., AEC briefly reply as follows:
1.In this case, AEC and Occupational Safety and Health Administration, Ministry of Labor (OSHA, MOL) are actively cooperating in investigating the reasons for the occurrence of cancer in NDT labors. As for the preliminary results of the investigation and interview of relevant people, the employees of the NDT licensee said that they had provided protective equipments and personnel dose badges to radiation workers, and did not request not to wear personnel dose badges during RT operation. They also offer the annual health check-up in accordance with regulations. The radiation dose records of the employees are also under the limitation of regulations, if AEC finds any persuasive evidence of illegal behavior, AEC will strictly enforced according to law.
2.AEC conducts project inspections and non-scheduled spot-checks on high-risk radiation practice annually to ensure that the facility operators indeed implement the radiation safety control according to the regulations and approved radiation protection plan. In addition to the document check, AEC will also dispatch inspectors to the radiation operation sites to conduct radiation dose-rate measurement. The company and other non-compliance companies concerned by the Legislator Hong all are the high-risk radiation practice monitored by AEC, AEC carried out inspections annually. Obviously, there is no such thing as " no follow-up control and tracking mechanism in the following decade."
3.For the ionizing radiation operations contractor of the nuclear power plant, the management unit of the nuclear power plant has requested the contractors to arrange medical examinations for its employees, and must implement in the medical institutions approved by MOL, also, only the employee has the medical examination result of first or second level management can work in the nuclear power plant. AEC had checked the medical examination records of the nuclear power plant contractors in 2016-2018, and confirmed that all the employees had received medical examination annually according to the regulations. Among the 116 contractors in the first quarter, 2019, there are still 79 employees does not receive medical examination records yet (in 2019). Due to the medical examinations should be implemented in the "current year" according to law, so partial contractors have not yet been processed so far in 2019, AEC has requested Taipower Company to urge the contractors, must complete the medical examinations as required.
4.In the section of strengthening regulations to ensure the occupational safety of employees, AEC will adopt various measures and strictly request the licensees to implement all of the radiation protection tasks according to the regulations. Besides, AEC has drawn up a draft of the guidance entitled "Employment contract for engagement in radiographic test practice: contract agreement shall include and shall not include.". and forward MOL to assist in review this draft, and request the licensees to incorporate the guidance into their labor contract. As for the penalty part, AEC will set the relevant penalty basis, increasing the penalty amount depending on the circumstances of the violation; furthermore, the permission license will be abolished in severe cases.
5.Regarding the relevant appeal proposed by the Legislator Hong, AEC has already build an inter-departmental communication platform with MOL, conducting joint inspections, increasing the frequency of unannounced spot checks, and improving the health medical data management through the establishment of system interface mechanism on radiation facilities and workers. Through the inter-departmental cooperation mentioned above, to build a tight radiation protection and control network, further ensure the radiation safety of employees in RT/NDT.