Radiation Protection Today - Spring 2022 - Page 14

Management of radioac ve sources

The management of radioactive sources is a complex process requiring compliance with legislation including the Ionising Radiations Regulations 2017 ( IRR17 ), environmental and transport regulations . Source holdings range from small numbers of low activity sealed and unsealed sources used , for example , in schools and colleges , pharmaceutical and university research , through to large numbers of low and high activity sealed sources ( HASS ) used on nuclear sites , in radiography , hospitals , universities , and the oil and gas industry . The IAEA has produced comprehensive guidance for the management of radioactive sources , such as its Safety Guide - Categorization of Radioactive Sources – RS-G-1.9 ( STI / PUB / 1227 ( https :// bit . ly / 3PbI0AG )). Most sources are manufactured abroad and imported , so the management and transport of highly active sources throughout the world by road , air and sea must be considered . Transport is governed by a separate set of regulations .
Key Regulations and Guidance Activities involving radioactive sources , whether sealed or unsealed , are subject to permitting under the Environmental Permitting ( England and Wales ) Regulations 2016 ( EPR ), the Environmental Authorisation ( Scotland ) Regulations 2018 , and the Radioactive Substances Act 1993 in Northern Ireland . This is unless they meet the criteria for exemption ( or , in Scotland , General Binding Rules ), but even then , sources need to be controlled for disposal purposes . Guidance on the environmental regulations for England and Wales can be found at Environmental permitting guidance : Core guidance ( https :// bit . ly / 3yhRDYl ). For Scotland , guidance can be found at RS authorisation guide v1.2 ( https :// bit . ly / 3KPbP6G ). Guidance for Northern Ireland is published at https :// bit . ly / 3L1mFGV . comply with Home Office requirements , coordinated through Counter Terrorism Security Advisers ( CTSA ). Sources classed as nuclear and fissionable material will also be subject to The Nuclear Safeguards ( EU Exit ) Regulations 2019 , to comply with international treaty obligations for global nuclear non-proliferation .
Regardless of the size and nature of the source holdings , the regulations ( particularly IRR17 ) require appropriate management of sources including :
• safe and secure storage , with the store being suitably ventilated , labelled and sources shielded
• suitable systems for record keeping , including inventory , accountancy and disposals of sealed and unsealed sources
• periodic leak testing ( for sealed sources )
• identification of responsible persons in local rules and work procedures
• appropriate calibrated instrumentation being available Most establishments use a form of database to control procurement , accountancy and disposal of sealed and unsealed sources , unless numbers are very small . Commercial software is available for non-nuclear , unsealed sources which records waste disposals as well as providing an inventory .
Routine Inspections Inspections are routinely undertaken by HSE ( Health and Safety Executive ) and ONR ( Office for Nuclear Regulation ) to monitor compliance with IRR17 . Where environmental permits / authorisations are held , the regulator may inspect on a regular basis depending on the nature and types of sources held . Nuclear materials will be inspected by the ONR Safeguards personnel .
The regulations also apply to high activity sealed sources ( HASS ) which are subject to additional security requirements and need to
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