Radiation Protection Today - Spring 2022 - Page 17

As RPA , I was summoned to a meeting of the Multi-agency Strategic Task Group at the City Council Offices . I tried to ensure that the meeting participants appreciated that these sources were relatively low risk . I had carried out a risk assessment and so had Public Health England . It was agreed that the risk was relatively low .

However , the police were treating the matter as a serious incident , due to heightened concerns in the light of the recent poisoning in Salisbury . The relevant agencies agreed it was low risk , but the police did not want to rule out criminal activity , and were keen to do a full-scale search of the school .
It was agreed that the teachers would search the rest of the school during term time and the police would search the whole school over the Easter break .
Letters were sent to parents to reassure them that risks were low , and that everything possible was being done to locate the sources .
Radiation Protection Today Summer 2022
Despite the whole school being searched , the sources never came to light . It is now three years since the incident , and it is suspected that the sources ended up in a consignment of general waste which was sent for disposal .
Lessons to be Learned Always ensure that teachers understand the requirements of the regulations and know that they are responsible for accounting for radioactive sources .
Gamma-ray sources – often used by schools for doing experiments
Ionising Radiations Regulations 2017 Under regulation 31 ( 3 ), employers are required to report incidents involving sources which have been lost or stolen , where the activity exceeds the levels in column 5 , Part 1 of schedule 7 . The school ' s Americium-241 and Radium-226 cup sources exceeded these levels , so the school was obliged to report the loss to the HSE .