Summary of the Radiation Protection (Ionising Radiation) Regulations 2023
These Regulations were first implemented in 1974. They were amended in 2000 to incorporate the 1990 Recommendations of the International Commission on Radiological Protection (ICRP) and the requirements of the International Basic Safety Standards (IBSS) published in 1996 by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). In 2007, the 1990 ICRP was updated recommending a shift from a practice-based approach to an approach based on exposure situation for radiation protection. In 2014, the IAEA also published its General Safety Requirements Part 3 Radiation Protection and Safety of Radiation Sources (GSR Part 3) recommending an approach based on exposure situation to radiation protection.
Following these international developments, NEA has incorporated the revised requirements and recommendations under GSR Part 3 into the amended Radiation Protection (Ionising Radiation) Regulations 2023. NEA also took the opportunity to review the licensing framework for irradiating apparatus and radioactive materials to streamline the licensing regime and reduce the administrative burden for both NEA as well as licensees.
The main requirements under the Regulations are explained below.
Radiation worker registration
No individual below the age of 18 years may engage in radiation work. Any individual engaging in radiation work must be registered as a radiation worker. The individual must be: (a) adequately trained to do such work or fully instructed to do such work in all the working procedures and rules, and the emergency procedures appropriate to the individual’s duty, and (b) adequately informed of the hazards associated with such work. In addition, within 12 months prior to the individual’s application for registration as a radiation worker, the individual must have undergone a medical examination, which must include any examination as required by NEA (such as full blood examination), and been certified fit to be engaged in radiation work by a registered medical practitioner.
NEA may cancel or suspend the registration of any radiation worker if the worker commits an offence under the Radiation Protection Act or its Regulations, or fails to comply with any of the conditions stipulated in the registration.
Licences are issued by NEA under the Radiation Protection Act 2007 and the Radiation Protection (Ionising Radiation) Regulations 2023 for the import, export, sale, dealing in, possession and use of radioactive materials and irradiating apparatus, as well as the transport of radioactive materials.
Application forms must be completed and submitted to NEA with the appropriate payment – except for consignment licences, which are applied for through the TradeNet System.
A single licence may be granted for multiple irradiating apparatus or radioactive materials under the charge of the same person. Agents who import irradiating apparatus or radioactive materials for sale or re-export, must give NEA an accounting at the end of each month, stating the irradiating apparatus or radioactive materials they have imported, exported, sold locally (including the name of the buyer) and those remaining in their possession.
NEA may cancel or suspend any licence if the licensee commits and offence under the Radiation Protection Act or its Regulations, or fails to comply with any of the conditions stipulated in the licence.
Responsibilities of licensees
Every licensee must ensure that the licensee and every employee and worker employed by the licensee or under the licensee’s supervision comply with the Radiation Protection (Ionising Radiation) Regulations.
Every licensee has the prime responsibility for —
(a) establishing and implementing the technical and organisational measures that are necessary for ensuring protection and safety and for compliance with all applicable requirements of these Regulations, and
(b) designating suitably qualified persons to carry out actions and tasks related to these responsibilities.
Every licensee must ensure that any radioactive material is managed as radioactive waste where—
(a) no further use of the radioactive material is foreseen; and
(b) the radioactive material is unsuitable for authorised discharge, authorised use or clearance from regulatory control.
The exemption limits for the licensing of radioactive materials are taken from the GSR Part 3. They are given in terms of activity and activity concentration for each radionuclide.
Any educational institution which has in its possession or under its control any radioactive substance, being a sealed source, not exceeding 100 times the activity or activity concentration prescribed in the First Schedule of the Radiation Protection (Ionising Radiation) Regulations with respect to that particular radioactive substance is exempted from section 6(1)(b) and (d) of the Radiation Protection Act only in relation to that radioactive substance if —
(a) the radioactive substance is used or to be used solely for demonstration, teaching or research purposes in the educational institution;
(b) the radioactive substance is under the control of a competent employee or staff designated by the principal in the case of a primary or secondary school, or by the head of the relevant department, in the case of any other educational institution, to take full responsibility for the safe and secure storage and use of such radioactive substance and for the compliance with the relevant provisions of the Regulations relating to a sealed source; and
(c) the complete details of the radioactive substance have been submitted to NEA.
Any person who has in the person’s possession or under the person’s control not more than 3 sealed sources for the sole purpose of checking or calibrating a particular radiation survey or monitoring instrument, and each of which contains any radioactive substance not exceeding 175 kBq, is exempted from section 6(1)(b) and (d) of the Radiation Protection Act only in relation to that radioactive substance and subject to all the following conditions:
(a) the complete details of the radioactive substance have been submitted to NEA;
(b) that person must ensure compliance with the provisions of the Regulations relating to a sealed source; and
(c) that person must ensure the safe and secure storage and use of the radioactive substance.
Radioactive substances, including waste, arising from the use of irradiating apparatus or radioactive material authorised by a licence issued under sections 6 and 7 of the Radiation Protection Act, can be released from further compliance with the requirements of the Act provided that —
(a) for radioactive substance of solid material, the activity concentration of a given radionuclide of artificial origin does not exceed the level prescribed in Part 2 of the First Schedule of the Radiation Protection (Ionising Radiation) Regulations;
(b) the activity concentration of any radionuclide in the uranium decay chain or the thorium decay chain does not exceed 1 Bq/g or the activity concentration of potassium 40 does not exceed 10 Bq/g;
(c) the radioactive substance when released is not reasonably expected to result in any individual incurring an effective dose of the order of 10 μSv or more in a year, or in the case of low probability scenarios, an effective dose of not more than 1 mSv in a year; and
(d) for radionuclides of natural origin in residues that might be recycled into construction materials, or the disposal of which is liable to cause the contamination of drinking water supplies, the activity concentration in the residues does not exceed specific values derived so as to meet a dose criterion of the order of 1 mSv in a year.
Every licensee must take all reasonable steps to ensure that —
(a) the clearance of radioactive waste complies with the above paragraph;
(b) a formal mechanism is in place to demonstrate compliance with the regulatory requirements in respect of clearance;
(c) deliberate dilution of material, other than the dilution that takes place in normal operations, must not be carried out without the written approval of NEA; and
(d) any radiation markings will be removed from any material of which the requirements of the Regulations no longer apply.
Every licensee must take all reasonable steps to ensure that information on material which has been removed from regulatory control must be recorded, retained within a management system and submitted to NEA when required.
Labelling of radiation sources and radiation areas
The licensee must ensure that each irradiating apparatus and each container of radioactive material is properly labelled with the standard radiation hazard symbol. Any premises with radioactive materials or where radiation work is being performed must display the standard radiation hazard symbol and other appropriate signs and notices placed at prominent positions.
When the radiation hazard ceases to exist, all the labels and notices must be removed.
Supply of irradiating apparatus and radioactive materials
Every person must ensure that any irradiating apparatus or radioactive material is only sold or supplied to —
(a) a person who is authorised to possess that irradiating apparatus or radioactive material; or
(b) a person who has applied for a licence to possess that irradiating apparatus or radioactive material prior to receipt of the irradiating apparatus or radioactive material.
Where any irradiating apparatus or radioactive material was sold or supplied to a person under (b), the seller or supplier must make reasonable efforts to ensure that the person subsequently obtains a licence authorising the possession of that irradiating apparatus or radioactive material after receipt of the irradiating apparatus or radioactive material. Where the seller or supplier has reasonable grounds to believe that the licence authorising the possession is not obtained by the recipient, the seller or supplier must promptly notify NEA.
Accounting of radioactive materials
Licensees in possession of radioactive materials must keep proper records of the radioactive materials, e.g. date of receipt, quantity, nature and form, activity of radioactive material at the date specified by the manufacturer, location of radioactive material at any time, etc.
If the licensee has reasonable grounds for believing that any radioactive material is lost or mislaid, the licensee must immediately notify NEA and take immediate steps to find the radioactive material.
Checking of leakage of sealed source
Once in every 12 months, a wipe test must be performed on each sealed radioactive source to ensure that it is not leaking.
If it is found to be leaking, NEA must be informed immediately and the source must be removed and stored in a proper manner. It must not be brought back into use until all necessary repairs have been effected. The areas affected by the leakage must be decontaminated as soon as practicable: (i) by or under the supervision of the licensee, or (ii) by or under the supervision of other individuals approved as qualified to do so by NEA.
General responsibilities of licensees
Every licensee must ensure, for every employee and worker engaged in activities in which the employee or worker is or could be subject to occupational exposure, that —
(a) the occupational exposure is controlled such that the relevant dose limits for occupational exposure specified in Part 1 of the Second Schedule of the Radiation Protection (Ionising Radiation) Regulations are not exceeded;
(b) the protection and safety of the employees or workers are optimised;
(c) decisions with regard to measures for the protection and safety of the employees or workers are recorded and made available for inspection when requested by NEA;
(d) policies, procedures and organisational arrangements for occupational protection and safety are established for the purpose of implementing the requirements of the Regulations; and
(e) suitable and adequate facilities, equipment and services for protection and safety are provided.
Every licensee must ensure that every employee and worker has the same level of protection against exposure to radiation from sources as a member of the public if that exposure is not required by or directly related to the work of that employee or worker.
Whenever it appears from the radiation dose record that any employee or worker has received a radiation dose exceeding that permitted under the appropriate dose limit specified in the Second Schedule of the Regulations, the licensee must immediately —
(a) suspend the worker from any work in which he or she will be exposed to ionising radiation;
(b) conduct an investigation or arrange for an investigation to be conducted;
(c) arrange for an appropriate medical examination of the employee or worker and any other examination as may be required by NEA; and
(d) notify NEA.
Classification of areas
Every licensee must designate as a controlled area any area in which specific measures for protection and safety are or could be required for —
(a) controlling exposures or preventing the spread of contamination in normal operations; and
(b) preventing or limiting the likelihood and magnitude of exposures in anticipated operational occurrences and accident conditions.
Every licensee must —
(a) determine the boundaries of any controlled area on the basis of the likelihood and magnitude of expected exposures and the type and extent of the procedures required for protection and safety;
(b) delineate controlled areas by physical means or, where this is not reasonably practicable, by some other suitable means;
(c) where a source is only intermittently brought into operation or energised or is moved from place to place, delineate an appropriate controlled area by means that are appropriate to the prevailing circumstances and specify exposure times;
(d) establish measures reasonably necessary for occupational protection and safety, including physical measures to control the spread of contamination and the internal or corporate rules and procedures for controlled areas;
(e) restrict access to controlled areas by means of administrative procedures and by physical barriers, which could include locks or interlocks, the degree of restriction being commensurate with the likelihood and magnitude of exposures;
(f) provide, as appropriate, at entrances to controlled areas —
(i) personal protective equipment;
(ii) equipment for individual monitoring and workplace monitoring; and
(iii) suitable storage for personal clothing;
(g) provide, as appropriate, at exits from controlled areas —
(i) equipment for monitoring for contamination of skin and clothing;
(ii) equipment for monitoring for contamination of any objects or material being removed from the area;
(iii) washing or showering facilities and other personal decontamination facilities; and
(iv) suitable storage for contaminated personal protective equipment;
(h) periodically review conditions to assess whether there is any need to modify the measures for protection and safety or the boundaries of controlled areas; and
(i) provide appropriate information, instruction and training for persons working in controlled areas.
Every licensee must designate as a supervised area any area not already designated as a controlled area, but where occupational exposure conditions need to be kept under review even though specific protection measures and safety provisions are not normally needed.
Every licensee must take all the following measures which are appropriate to the nature, likelihood and magnitude of exposures or contamination in the supervised areas:
(a) delineate the supervised areas;
(b) display approved signs at access points to supervised areas;
(c) periodically review the conditions to assess whether there is any need for further measures for protection and safety or any need for changes to the boundaries of supervised areas.
Monitoring of workplaces
Every licensee, in cooperation with employers, must determine if a programme for monitoring at the workplace is necessary, and if so, must establish, maintain and keep under review a programme for monitoring at the workplace that is appropriate for the facility and activities to be carried out at that workplace.
The type and frequency of monitoring of workplaces must be sufficient to enable —
(a) evaluation of the radiological conditions in all workplaces;
(b) assessment of the exposure of employees and workers in controlled areas and supervised areas; and
(c) review of the classification of controlled areas and supervised areas.
Where a workplace monitoring programme is established, every licensee, in cooperation with employers (if any) must maintain records of the findings of the workplace monitoring programme. The records of the findings of the workplace monitoring programme must be made available to the employees and workers.
The programme for monitoring of the workplace must specify the dose quantities to be measured; where and when the measurements are to be made and at what frequency; the measurement methods and procedures; and the investigation levels and the actions to be taken if they are exceeded.
Occupational exposure assessment
Every licensee must make arrangements approved by NEA for the assessment of the occupational exposure of employees and workers. Correspondingly, every licensee must determine if monitoring of the individual radiation dose is required for the assessment, and if so, must ensure that arrangements are made with approved dosimetry service providers.
For any employee or worker who usually works in a controlled area, or who occasionally works in a controlled area and may receive a significant dose from occupational exposure, monitoring of the individual radiation dose must be undertaken where feasible. In cases where monitoring of the individual radiation dose is not feasible, the occupational exposure must be assessed on the basis of the results of workplace monitoring and information on the locations and duration of exposure of the employee or worker.
For any employee or worker who regularly works in a supervised area or who enters a controlled area only occasionally, the occupational exposure must be assessed on the basis of the results of workplace monitoring or of monitoring of the individual radiation dose, as appropriate.
Records of worker exposure
Every licensee must maintain records of occupational exposure for every employee and worker for whom assessment of occupational exposure is required. The records of occupational exposure for every employee and worker must be maintained during and after the employee’s or worker’s working life, at least until the employee or worker attains or would have attained 75 years of age, and for at least 30 years after cessation of the work in which the employee or worker was subject to occupational exposure.
Every licensee must —
(a) provide every employee and worker with access to records of their own occupational exposure;
(b) provide access to employees’ and workers’ records of occupational exposure to NEA;
(c) facilitate the provision of copies of employees’ and workers’ exposure records to new employers when their employees and workers change employment;
(d) make arrangements for the retention of exposure records for former employees and workers by the licensee, as appropriate;
(e) if required to do so by NEA, make arrangements for the provision of the dose records to NEA; and
(f) in complying with (a) to (e), give due care and attention to maintaining the confidentiality of records.
Workers’ health surveillance
Every licensee must make arrangements for the health surveillance of all occupationally exposed employees and workers. The arrangements must be reasonably necessary and appropriate in the circumstances, based on the general principles of occupational health, and designed to assess the initial fitness and continuing fitness of these workers for their intended tasks.
For workers engaging in high radiation risk activities (e.g. non-destructive testing, etc.), such arrangements may include annual medical examinations (including full blood examinations).
Special arrangements for female employees and workers and for persons below 18 years of age undergoing training
Every licensee must provide every female employee and worker, who is likely or required to enter any controlled area or supervised area or who may undertake emergency duties, with appropriate information on —
(a) the risk to the embryo or foetus due to exposure of a pregnant woman;
(b) the importance for a female employee and worker of notifying her employer as soon as possible if she suspects that she is pregnant or if she is breastfeeding; and
(c) the risk of health effects for a breastfed infant due to ingestion of radioactive substances.
Every licensee must ensure that every person below 16 years of age must not be and must not be likely to be subject to occupational exposure.
Every licensee must ensure that every person below 18 years of age must not be allowed access to a controlled area unless under supervision and unless for either of the following purposes:
(a) training for employment in which the person is or is likely to be subject to occupational exposure;
(b) studies in which sources are used.
General responsibilities of licensees
Every licensee must ensure, prior to providing care to an individual undergoing a radiological procedure, that a caregiver must not incur a medical exposure unless he or she has received, and has indicated an understanding of, relevant information on radiation protection and information on the radiation risks.
Every licensee must ensure that —
(a) the radiological medical practitioner performing or overseeing the radiological procedure has assumed responsibility for ensuring overall protection and safety for patients in the planning and delivery of the medical exposure and the optimisation of protection and safety, in cooperation with the medical physicist and the medical radiation technologist, as appropriate;
(b) radiological medical practitioners, medical physicists, medical radiation technologists and other healthcare workers with specific duties in relation to the protection and safety of patients in a radiological procedure have specialised or relevant training in the appropriate area; and
(c) any designation of responsibilities by a principal party is documented.
Pregnant or breastfeeding patients
Every licensee must ensure that there are arrangements established for appropriate radiation protection in cases where a patient is or is likely to be pregnant or is breastfeeding.
Every licensee must ensure that signs in appropriate languages are placed in public places, waiting rooms for patients, cubicles or other appropriate places, to request any female patient who is to undergo a radiological procedure to notify the radiological medical practitioner, medical radiation technologist or other personnel if she —
(a) is or is likely to be pregnant; or
(b) is breastfeeding and the scheduled radiological procedure includes the administration of a radiopharmaceutical.
Every licensee must ensure that there are procedures in place for establishing the pregnancy status of a female patient of reproductive capacity before the performance of any radiological procedure that could result in a significant dose to an embryo or a foetus that may be in the patient. Every licensee must also ensure that there are procedures in place for establishing that a female patient is not currently breastfeeding before the performance of any radiological procedure involving the administration of a radiopharmaceutical that could result in a significant dose to a breastfed infant.
Release of patients after radiological procedures involving radionuclides
Every licensee must ensure that there are arrangements established to ensure appropriate radiation protection for members of the public and for family members before a patient is released following radiological procedures where radionuclides are administered into the patient.
The radiological medical practitioner must ensure that every patient under his or her responsibility who has undergone a radiological procedure with sealed sources or unsealed sources must not be discharged from a medical radiation facility until it has been established that —
(a) the activity of radionuclides in the patient is such that doses that could be received by members of the public and family members would be in compliance with the requirements specified by NEA; and
(b) the patient or the legal guardian of the patient is provided with —
(i) written instructions for keeping doses to persons in contact with or in the vicinity of the patient as low as reasonably achievable and for avoiding the spread of contamination; and
(ii) information on the radiation risks.
Records related to medical exposures
Every licensee must maintain the following records:
(a) records of any designation of responsibilities by principal parties;
(b) records of training of personnel in radiation protection.
(c) records of the results of the calibrations and periodic checks of the relevant physical and clinical parameters selected during treatment of patients;
(d) records of dosimetry of patients;
(e) records associated with the quality assurance programme.
Every licensee must make available for inspection the records mentioned above when required by NEA.
Control of visitors
Every licensee must —
(a) ensure that the requirements under the Regulations that relate to public exposure are also complied with in relation to visitors to a controlled area or a supervised area;
(b) ensure that visitors are accompanied in any controlled area by a person who knows the measures for protection and safety for the controlled area;
(c) provide adequate information and instructions to visitors before they enter a controlled area or a supervised area so as to provide protection and safety for visitors and other individuals who could be affected by their actions; and
(d) ensure that adequate control is maintained over the entry of visitors to a controlled area or a supervised area, including the use of signs for such areas.
Sources of external irradiation
Every licensee must ensure that if a source can give rise to external exposure to members of the public —
(a) the floor plans and arrangements of equipment for all significant modifications to existing installations are subject to review and approval by NEA prior to commissioning; and
(b) shielding and other measures for protection and safety, including access controls, are provided for restricting public exposure, in particular at open sites such as for some applications of industrial radiography.
Monitoring of public exposure
Every licensee must —
(a) establish and implement monitoring programmes to ensure that public exposure due to sources under the responsibility of the licensee is adequately assessed and that the assessment is sufficient to verify and demonstrate compliance with the Regulations or the licence conditions;
(b) maintain appropriate records of the results of the monitoring programmes and estimated doses to members of the public;
(c) report or make available to and when required by NEA the results of the monitoring programme;
(d) report promptly to NEA any level of public exposure exceeding the limits in Part 2 of the Second Schedule of the Regulations or in licence conditions relating to public exposure;
(e) establish and maintain a capability to carry out monitoring in an emergency, in the event of any unexpected increase in radiation level or concentration of radionuclides in the environment due to any accident or other unusual event attributed to the source or facility;
(f) verify the adequacy of the assumptions made for the assessment of public exposure and radiological environmental impacts; and
(g) publish or make available, on request by NEA, results from source monitoring and environmental monitoring programmes and assessments made of doses from public exposure.
Every provider of any consumer product, who imports the consumer product for sale and distribution as an exempt product must ensure that —
(a) where practicable, a legible label is firmly affixed to a visible surface of each consumer product that —
(i) states that the product contains radioactive substances and identifies the radionuclides and their activities;
(ii) states that the provision of the product to the public has been authorised;
(iii) states that the product has been exempted from licensing under the Radiation Protection Act; and
(iv) provides information about required or recommended options for recycling or disposal, if relevant; and
(b) the information specified in paragraph (a) is printed legibly on the retail packaging of the consumer product.
Every provider of any consumer product must provide clear and appropriate information and instructions with every consumer product on —
(a) the correct installation, use and maintenance of the product;
(b) the servicing and repair of the product;
(c) the radionuclides and their activities;
(d) the dose rates in normal operation and during servicing and repair; and
(e) required or recommended options for recycling or disposal, if relevant.
Every provider of any consumer product must provide all the retailers of the consumer product with relevant information on safety and instructions on transport and storage.
Radioactive waste management
Approvals to accumulate or transport radioactive waste are granted by NEA under the Radiation Protection Act and the Radiation Protection (Ionising Radiation) Regulations 2023.
Application forms must be completed and submitted to NEA with the appropriate payment. Every person applying for the approval must submit relevant information and documents that are necessary to support the application as required to do so, such as supporting safety assessment, environmental assessment, security assessment, and emergency plan.
Every approved person must develop a suitable and comprehensive recording system for radioactive waste management activities under the person’s responsibility, which must include discharges and must allow for traceability of radioactive waste from the point of its collection through to its long term storage and its disposal. Every approved person must also ensure that all records related to radioactive waste inventory and radioactive waste management activities are kept up to date and retained in such a way as to ensure that relevant information is accessible in the future.
Radioactive waste must be stored in a manner that ensures proper segregation, and protection of the employees, workers, the public and the environment, and enables its subsequent inspection, monitoring, retrieval and reservation in a condition suitable for movement, handling, transport or disposal.
Management of disused sealed sources
Every licensee must review their sealed source inventory at least annually to identify any sources that have become disused. Before declaring any disused sealed source as radioactive waste, the licensee must first attempt to return the sealed source to its supplier and consider possible reuse or recycling of the source.
Emergency preparedness and response
Where there is any risk of an emergency affecting either employees, workers or members of the public, the licensee must prepare an emergency plan for the protection of people and the environment, which must include arrangements for the prompt identification of an emergency, and for determining the appropriate level of emergency response.
In relation to the arrangements for the emergency response at the scene by the licensee, the emergency plan must include provisions for individual monitoring and area monitoring, arrangements for medical treatment, and arrangements for assessing and mitigating any consequences of an emergency.
Every licensee must be responsible for the implementation of their emergency plans and must be prepared to take any necessary action for effective response. To prevent the occurrence of conditions that could lead to a loss of control over a source or to the escalation of such conditions, every licensee must —
(a) develop, maintain and implement procedures to provide the means for preventing loss of control over the source and for regaining control over the source as necessary;
(b) make available equipment, instrumentation and diagnostic aids that may be needed; and
(c) train and periodically retrain personnel in the procedures to be followed and conduct exercises on the procedures.
Every emergency plan must —
(a) characterise the content, feature and extent of a risk of an emergency taking into account the results of any hazard assessment and any lessons learnt from operational experience and from accidents that have occurred with sources of a similar type;
(b) identify the various operating conditions and other conditions of the source which could lead to the need for intervention;
(c) describe the methods and instruments for assessing an accident and its consequences on and off the site;
(d) provide for protective actions and mitigation actions, and assignment of responsibilities for initiating and discharging such actions;
(e) provide for rapid and continuous assessment of the accident as it proceeds and determining the need for protective actions;
(f) allocate responsibilities for notifying the relevant authorities and for initiating intervention;
(g) provide procedures, including communication arrangements for contacting any relevant response organisation and for obtaining assistance from firefighting, medical, police and other relevant organisations;
(h) provide for training of personnel involved in implementing emergency plans;
(i) be rehearsed at suitable intervals; and
(j) provide for periodic review and updating of the plan.
Every licensee must ensure that the protective actions or remedial actions aimed at reducing or averting accidental exposure are only undertaken when they are justified, taking into account health, social and economic factors.
In an emergency exposure situation, the requirements for occupational exposure must be applied for emergency workers, where applicable. Every response organisation and every employer must ensure that no emergency worker is subject to exposure exceeding 50 mSv other than —
(a) for the purpose of saving life or preventing serious injury;
(b) when undertaking actions to avert a large collective dose; or
(c) when undertaking actions to prevent severe deterministic effects and actions to prevent the development of catastrophic conditions that could significantly affect people and the environment.
Under such circumstances, every response organisation and every employer must make all reasonable efforts to keep doses to emergency workers below the appropriate guidance values for restricting exposure of emergency workers specified in Part 4 of the Second Schedule of the Regulations.
Every response organisation and every employer must ensure that every emergency worker who undertakes any action in which any dose received is likely to exceed 50 mSv —
(a) does so voluntarily;
(b) has been clearly and comprehensively informed in advance of the associated health risks, as well as of available measures for protection and safety; and
(c) is, to the extent possible, trained in the action that the worker is required to take.
Every response organisation and every employer must take all reasonable steps to assess and record the doses received in an emergency by every emergency worker.
A worker who has received a dose in an emergency exposure situation must normally be precluded from incurring any further occupational exposure, and medical advice from a medical practitioner must be obtained before further occupational exposure if the worker has received a dose exceeding 200 mSv or at the request of the worker.
Security of radioactive materials
Where any radioactive material is in use, being stored at a facility or site, or being transported, the licensee must establish, implement and maintain, at a minimum, security measures capable of preventing unauthorised access to the radioactive material. In the event that the security measures at the facility or site are insufficient to prevent unauthorised access to the radioactive material, NEA may require the licensee to establish, implement or improve the security measures at the facility or site, or in transport.
The licensee must inform NEA of any incident involving a breach of security measures (in relation to the radioactive material), by means of a preliminary oral report within 24 hours after the incident, which is to be confirmed in writing within 48 hours and a final full written report within 10 days after the incident. The preliminary written report must contain details of the circumstances of the breach and the steps taken to rectify the breach to the extent possible and the final full written report must contain all such details in full.
If, as a result of a breach in security measures, any radioactive material has been lost, or an actual or attempted theft of radioactive material has occurred, the licensee must immediately inform NEA.
Radiation accidents in medical and non-medical applications of ionising radiation or radioactive materials are defined in the Regulations.
In a non-medical application, a radiation accident is considered to have occurred if an unplanned, uncontrolled high level of radiation occurs; or a person enters a high radiation field by accident; or if there is a spillage or leakage of unsealed radioactive material causing contamination; or if radioactive material is accidentally released into the environment in excess of the permitted discharge level.
In a medical application, a radiation accident is considered to have occurred if any therapeutic treatment is delivered to the wrong patient or to the wrong tissue of any patient; or if the wrong radiopharmaceutical is used; or if the patient is treated with a dose or dose fractionation which differs by more than 10 per cent from the value prescribed by the medical practitioner in charge of the treatment. A radiation accident is also considered to have occurred if any diagnostic exposure given is 50 per cent greater than the intended dose or if the patient receives a dose significantly different from that which was intended.
If an accident should occur, the actions to be taken by the licensees or safety officers are spelt out in the Regulations. The licensee must notify the appropriate authorities and in all cases, the licensee must notify NEA by means of a preliminary oral report within 24 hours after the accident, which is to be confirmed in writing within 48 hours and a final full written report of the accident within 10 days after the accident.
The First Schedule provides a table of the licensing exemption limits for each radionuclide in terms of maximum activities and activity concentrations. The Second Schedule provides the dose limits for occupational exposure and for members of the public. The Third Schedule lists the exempted articles or irradiating apparatus for import, export, possession, use or sale. The Fourth Schedule shows the standard radiation hazard symbol and the Fifth Schedule provides the list of fees for the various licences, registrations and approvals under the Regulations.
Unlicensed radioactive sources
In the event that any individual encounters a suspected unlicensed radioactive source, please contact NEA via the online feedback form (https://www.nea.gov.sg/corporate-functions/feedback) or myENV app. Members of the public are advised to minimise physical contact with the suspected radioactive source. Radioactive sources should not be disposed of without authorisation from NEA.