The key changes are summarised:
a) The regulatory approach is revised from a prescriptive, practice-based approach (e.g. specific requirements for use of sealed source for medical therapeutic purpose, use of irradiating apparatus for industrial purposes, etc.) to a performance-oriented approach based on exposure situations (i.e. occupational, medical and public exposure). To effect this change, Parts X to XV of the RP(IR)R 2000, which provided requirements for specific practices, is replaced by three new Parts on “Occupational exposure”, “Medical exposure” and “Public exposure”, in line with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Model Regulations. Correspondingly, the provisions under Parts V and VI of the RP(IR)R 2000 on “Control of radiation exposure” and “Medical and radiological supervision” respectively is subsumed under the new Part on “Occupational exposure”.
b) The licensing and radiation worker registration regime is revised. Please refer to Q3 – Q13 for more information.
c) Exemption provisions are aligned with latest international standards (i.e. IAEA General Safety Requirements (GSR) Part 3). The exemption provisions for maximum activities and activity concentrations of radionuclides are updated to be in line with Schedule I of the IAEA GSR Part 3, and the existing First Schedule of the RP(IR)R is replaced with Tables I.1 and I.2 of IAEA GSR Part 3.
d) Provisions for clearance of materials from regulatory control are included and the clearance criteria are established in Schedule I of IAEA GSR Part 3.
e) Provisions on justification of practices are included and practices that are deemed to be not justified are specified.
f) To further augment the changes in licensing regime, all IR1 and IR2 licensees are required to designate and maintain a list of qualified person(s) to be responsible for each apparatus or radioactive material under the licence. Licensees bear the prime responsibility for ensuring radiation protection and safety, and must designate suitably qualified persons to carry out actions and tasks related to these responsibilities.
g) New provisions for management of radioactive waste specify requirements in these areas:
- Responsibilities associated with management of radioactive waste
- Control of radioactive waste generation
- Radioactive waste characterisation and classification
- Acceptance criteria for radioactive waste
- Processing of radioactive waste from collection up to treatment
- Storage of radioactive waste
- Management of disused radioactive sources
- Discharge of radioactive materials to environment
- Radioactive waste management facilities
h) There are also provisions for application and granting of approval to accumulate or transport radioactive waste in Singapore. As local disposal of radioactive waste is generally not allowed in Singapore, provisions for application and granting of approval to dispose of radioactive waste are not included. Nonetheless, radioactive waste that meets the clearance criteria would fall under the provisions for clearance and hence, would be released from regulatory control. A fee is also introduced for the application for approval to accumulate or transport radioactive waste.
i) There are new emergency preparedness and response requirements for:
- Submission of emergency response plans (where there is any risk of an emergency affecting employees, workers or members of the public)
- Responsibilities of licensees
- Implementation of intervention
- Protection of emergency workers
j) Provisions for ensuring security of radioactive materials in storage and transport are strengthened and new requirements are included for reporting of breaches of security measures.
k) There are new provisions to enable NEA to reject an application, if: (i) the applicant is not a fit or proper person to hold the licence or to be registered as a radiation worker, (ii) it is not in the public interest to do so, or (iii) the grant of the licence or registration of the applicant as a radiation worker poses a threat to public order or the national security of Singapore. Similar provisions to expressly allow NEA to suspend or cancel an existing licence or registration if any of these criteria are met is also included.
l) Requirements for sale and supply of irradiating apparatus and radioactive materials (e.g. only allowed to sell to persons authorised to possess such apparatus or radioactive materials), formerly only stipulated in licence conditions, are included in the Regulations.
m) The requirement for educational institutions to submit the name of the teacher designated to be responsible for safe storage and use of the exempted radioactive substances is amended to instead require the educational institution to ensure that a competent staff has been designated to take full responsibility for the safe and secure storage and use of such exempted radioactive substances.
n) Dose limits and weighting factors in the Second Schedule of the RP(IR)R are updated to be in line with the IAEA GSR Part 3.