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Note on the entry into force of the Decree No. 2-20-131 on authorizations, declarations of activities, installations and associated ionizing radiation sources falling under Category II:

The legal framework governing the activities involving ionizing radiation sources in Morocco has been extensively reformed since the publication of Law No. 142-12 related to nuclear and radiological safety and security and the creation of AMSSNuR in 2014, which brought Moroccan law into a phase of transposition of the new safety standards and security recommendations established internationally by the International Atomic Energy Agency «IAEA». The transposition of these international standards and recommendations is mainly ensured in Morocco by  Law No. 142-12 and its implementing texts, whose development and review have made significant progress, including Decree No. 2-20-131 of  February 25, 2021,related to the authorizing and declaration of activities, installations, and ionizing radiation sources associated with falling within Category II, which was published on the 11th of March 2021 and enters into force on the 6th of June 2023 following the publication of its implementing orders provided in Articles 1 and 2 thereof, namely:

  • The Order of the Head of Government No. 3-15-23 fixing the classification of the activities, installations and associated ionizing radiation sources falling under Category II, and
  • The Order of the Head of Government No. 3-12-21 sets the exemption levels for activities, installations, and associated ionizing radiation sources falling under Category II.

Law No. 142-12, subject to authorization or declaration to the Agency, states that any activity falling under Category II and involving a risk of exposure of persons to ionizing radiation arising from the use of an artificial source, whether they are substances or devices, as well as from a natural source, and also whether they are natural radioactive substances or materials containing natural radionuclides, is in accordance with the provisions of Article 61 of the said law.

These authorizations and declarations concern all applications of ionizing radiation generated by radionuclides or X-ray generators, whether for medical purposes, industrial or research activities, mining and ore processing, radioactive waste management, or the transport and transit of radioactive material other than nuclear material. These authorizations cover all life-cycle operations of activities and facilities, from the design phase to the decommissioning and dismantling phase for facilities presenting an environmental risk.

Decree No. 2-20-131 sets out regulatory provisions adapted to the national and international context, highlighting the different stages of the authorization and declaration processes, with particular emphasis on amendment and renewal of the authorization.

The text also highlights the specificities of activities to which additional provisions apply.

In compliance with the principle of a graded approach based on risk, the activities, facilities, and associated ionizing radiation sources whose radionuclide activity, dose rate, or radiation energy exceed the exemption levels are grouped into five radiological risk classes. The risks taken into account concern not only the exercise of the activity, but also malicious acts, from the establishment of the activity until its cessation. For this purpose, classes I to IV are subject to authorization, while class V is subject to declaration.

The main changes following the transposition of the IAEA standards and recommendations can be summarized as follows:

  • Extending the scope of the decree to natural sources: the administrative regime will henceforth apply, in accordance with the provisions of Articles 61 to 64 of Law No. 142-12, to mining activities that involve the “fortuitous” presence of natural ionizing radiation sources and which are likely to cause a significant increase in the exposure of workers or the public. These activities are subject to an authorization or declaration regime.
  • A reassessment of the justification of authorized activities whenever significant new knowledge regarding the efficacies or consequences of said activities is acquired. This reassessment may lead to a revision of the authorization of such activities.
  • A new concept is introduced: the dose constraint. This is an additional restriction on the doses that a source, practice, or task can deliver to individuals, even when dose limits are respected. In particular, discharge authorizations issued to Class I and Class II facilities will have to be based on compliance with a dose constraint for the exposure of members of the public, including children.
  • The classification of facilities, activities, and associated ionizing radiation sources falling within Category II into five classes, divided according to the characteristics of ionizing radiation sources, their design, conditions of use, and provisions required to ensure radiological safety and security, in accordance with the provisions of the Order of the Head of Government No. 3-15-23.
  • The conditions and procedures for granting or revoking are determined in accordance with radiation protection, safety, and security requirements. The Decree No. 2.20.131 specifies for each class of activities or facilities the time required to review and assess the application for each class of activities or facilities and conditions the granting of operating authorization for Class I and II facilities, as well as for facilities and activities generating radioactive waste, to the prior conformity control of the premises by the AMSSNuR’s inspectors. For the remainder of the facilities and activities, an evaluation of the facility acceptance report is sufficient for granting an operating authorization.
  • The maximum period of validity for all types of authorizations is 5 years.
  • In addition to the common provisions for all types of facilities or activities, the decree provides specific provisions for granting authorizations concerning the transport and transit of radioactive materials other than nuclear materials, such as the extraction and processing of ores generating a naturally occurring radioactive material called “NORM”, as well as for the management of radioactive waste other than nuclear fuel.

Applications for authorization and declarations should be submitted using the form available at www.amssnur.org.ma

These files, accompanied by the required constitutive documents, should be submitted to the agency for review and assessment.

The authorization request (initial application, modification, renewal, cessation of activity) can be made online at https://sigam.amssnur.org.ma/,with effect from October 6, 2023. It will allow the filing of all the necessary information and supporting documents.

Holders of authorizations issued before the date of entry into force of the decree n° 2-20-131 are required to comply with the specific conditions prescribed by the authorization and to take the necessary measures to comply with the transitional provisions of the aforementioned decree.

The renewal of authorizations that have expired should be carried out in accordance with the provisions of Decree No. 2-20-131, in the same way as the new applications relating to the authorizations rendered invalid because of the changes and modifications provided for in Section 53 of Law 142-12.

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