The Bureau of Recycling (BIR) said the code of conduct proposed would cover every trans-boundary movement of ferrous and non-ferrous scrap metal or semi-product will need to be monitored for radiation and a 'Radiation Monitoring Report' provided.

It said large scrap yards and metal melting facilities that are at risk of inadvertent radioactive contamination should have invested in monitoring equipment.

By doing so, they are best placed to monitor for radioactive sources that governments lost control of or never controlled, and so give a service to society as well as ensure the quality of their products.

The positive experience from the Spanish Protocol, a voluntary agreement, has shown that the recycling sector’s cooperation is the key to solving such contamination problems. Currently the scope of the Code of Conduct includes both ferrous and all non-ferrous metals as scrap and semi-finished products.

The BIR’s Ross Bartley said: “Not every metal is at risk of inadvertently containing radioactive material, for example primary aluminium semi-finished products such as ingot, slab, coil or billet should be considered for exclusion from the scope of this Code of Conduct.”

Following a meeting this week, attended by Mr Bartley and other recycling representatives, the Code of Conduct will pass through the IAEA Board of Governors and the General Conference for political agreement.