The main object of the Radiation Safety Act 1999 is to protect persons and the environment from the harmful effects of particular sources of ionising radiation and harmful non-ionising radiation.
The Act provides for:
- the establishment of a licensing regime to regulate the possession and use of radiation sources and the transportation of radioactive substances,
- the establishment of a legislative framework to ensure radiation sources and the premises at which they are used, and the premises at which radioactive substances are stored, comply with radiation safety standards,
- imposing restrictions on the acquisition and relocation of radiation sources and the disposal of radiation apparatus and radioactive material,
- requiring a person who possesses a radiation source for a radiation practice to have an approved radiation safety and protection plan,
- ensuring the health and safety of any person is not adversely affected by the carrying out of radiation practices with radiation sources,
- establishing a legislative framework within which compliance monitoring, investigative and enforcement activities, may be undertaken; and
- establishing the Radiation Advisory Council.
The Regulation provides the following details:
- the specification of what is considered to be a radioactive substance and a radiation apparatus,
- the limits on radiation exposure of persons,
- the limits on the radioactive material that may be disposed of without an approval to dispose, and
- exemptions from the requirements to hold licences in certain circumstances.
The following Subordinate Legislation should also be examined:
- Radiation Safety Regulation 2010
- Radiation Safety (Radiation Safety Standards) Notice 2010.
An obligation defined in law. A business must comply with relevant services.
Definition of terms
- Ionising radiation
electromagnetic or particulate radiation capable of producing ions, but does not include electromagnetic radiation of a wavelength greater than 100 nanometres.
- Non-ionising radiation
electromagnetic radiation of a wavelength greater than 100 nanometres or sonic radiation.
- Radiation apparatus
an apparatus that
when energised, emits an amount of ionising radiation higher than 1 microgray per hour measured at a distance of 10cm from any accessible surface of the apparatus, or
would, if assembled or repaired, and when energised be capable of emitting an amount of ionising radiation higher than 1 microgray per hour measured at a distance of 10cm from any accessible surface of the apparatus, or
when energised emits an amount of non ionising radiation in excess of the accessible emission limit for a class 3B laser as stated in, and measured in accordance with, Australian Standard AS2211, or
would, if assembled or repaired, and when energised be capable of emitting an amount of non ionising radiation in excess of the accessible emission limit for a class 3B laser as stated in, and measured in accordance with, Australian Standard AS2211.
- Radiation source
a radioactive substance or a radiation apparatus.
- Radioactive material
material that spontaneously emits ionising radiation as a result of the radioactive decay of a radionuclide in it, but does not include a mineral within the meaning of the Mineral Resources Act 1989 situated within boundaries of land the subject of a mining lease, mineral development licence or exploration permit within the meaning of that Act.
- Radioactive substance
a radioactive material, whether or not it is sealed,
containing more than the concentration or activity of a radionuclide prescribed under a regulation, or
prescribed under a regulation to be a radioactive substance.
Compliance Mechanisms and Penalties:
Inspectors appointed under the Act have powers to monitor and enforce compliance with the Act and investigate suspected breaches of its provisions. Inspectors may issue improvement notices, prohibition notices, and may seize equipment.
Penalties include suspension or cancellation of a licence, seizure of equipment, significant fines and requirement to bear the cost of cleanup of radioactive contamination. Provision to recover the cost of an investigation is also made.
Proceedings for an offence against this Act are to be taken in a summary way under the Justices Act 1886.
Review or Appeal Mechanisms:
You may make an appeal against a decision to refuse to grant or renew a licence or other Act Instrument, or suspend or cancel a licence or other Act Instrument, to the Chief Executive in the first instance.
Health Protection Unit
Radiation Health Unit
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