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Why Class II Radiation Safety Officer Candidates Fail Certification

Abstract of the technical paper/presentation given at:
Canadian Radiation Protection Association (CRPA) Annual Conference
April 30–May 3, 2018

Prepared by:
Jeff Sandeman
Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission


All licensees who operate Class II nuclear facilities or who service Class II prescribed equipment are required to appoint a certified radiation safety officer (RSO) in accordance with section 15.1 of the Class II Nuclear Facility and Prescribed Equipment Regulations. The certification exam administered by CNSC staff tests the RSO candidate’s knowledge of key topics, including applicable regulatory requirements, principles of radiation safety, the radiological hazards of the licensed facilities, equipment and activities for which they will be responsible, and their own institution’s radiation safety program. The focus of each exam is determined based on the applicable licensee sector (medical, academic and research, industrial or commercial) and the nature of the licensed facilities, equipment and activities.

A representative sample (n = 22) of RSO exam failures from 2011 to 2017 was reviewed to identify any common areas of weakness. Overall, the most common area of weakness shared among candidates from all sectors was knowledge of CNSC-related legislation and regulations. However, some surprising and significant variations between sectors were also noted. This presentation will discuss the findings of the review and highlight ways in which candidates may better prepare for the Class II RSO certification exam.

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