Radiation - compliance

You must comply with the conditions in your certificate of registration or authorisation. These conditions control the impact your activities could have on the environment and human health. NIEA will carry out regular inspections of all sites holding Certificates of Registration or Authorisation and have a range of enforcement tools to ensure that operators comply with the legislation.

Sealed source certificates

The type of sealed sources you hold - high activity sealed sources (HASS), sources of similar potential hazard to HASS or category 5 (low hazard or risk) – will determine the conditions in your certificate. Your certificate will contain details of the sources you are permitted to hold and the purposes for which those sources can be used.

Conditions applicable to sealed source certificates

  1. All sealed source certificate holders will have to nominate a person competent and able to ensure compliance with the Certificate. The name of their competent person must be notified to NIEA every year.
  2. A copy of the Certificate should be on display in the premises along with the name of the competent person.
  3. All sources need to be appropriately labelled.
  4. The security and integrity of the source must be maintained - there will be conditions covering storage of the source and what to do if loss, theft or damage of the source is suspected.
  5. Detailed records of the storage and use of the source must be kept and made available to the NIEA inspector.

Conditions applicable to certificates covering HASS or similar sources

For sealed source Certificates covering HASS or sources of similar potential hazard to HASS , there a number of additional conditions. These mainly relate to security.

  1. The operator is expected to have a management system in place sufficient to achieve compliance with the Certificate.
  2. All staff involved  in work affected by the requirement of the Certificate should be given appropriate written operating instructions and have received adequate training.
  3. There will be conditions covering the maintenance of equipment and testing of the integrity of sources.
  4. Written emergency procedures are required and staff must have passed appropriate security checks.
  5. Document security must be considered.
  6. There also needs to be in place adequate arrangements for disposal or recycling of the radioactive source at the end of its use.

In addition for HASS sources there must be a financial provision in place to ensure the appropriate disposal of disused sources. There are additional notification and reporting requirements for HASS sources too with a HASS record form having to be returned annually to NIEA.

Before any HASS or sources of similar potential hazard to HASS sources are kept or used in NI, the PSNI’s Counter Terrorism Security Advisor will be asked by NIEA to provide advice on the security arrangements. Any improvements necessary may be included in your Certificate.

Mobile source certificates

A Certificate for a mobile sealed source contains many of the same conditions as that for a normal sealed source (see above). Records of movement of the source should be kept. If the source is normally kept outside Northern Ireland the user will be required to give at least 21 days notice of their intention to move the source into NI.

Open source certificates

If you hold a Certificate of Registration for open sources, it will contain details of the sources you are permitted to hold and the purposes for which those sources can be used. It will also contain the same conditions as a sealed source Certificate in relation to nomination of a competent person, maintenance of source security and record keeping (see above). There will also be conditions covering the prevention of contamination.

Certificate of authorisation

Certificates of authorisation for the accumulation and disposal of radioactive waste will contain details of the radioactive material you are permitted to accumulate or dispose of and the disposal routes which can be used.

An accumulation period will be specified after which all waste must be disposed of. Accumulated waste must be appropriately stored. There will be conditions covering the loss or escape of accumulated waste.

Your Certificate of Authorisation will require you to use Best Practicable Means to minimise the activity disposed and the radiological effects on the environment or human health. Systems must be maintained in good repair. There are requirements for an adequate management system, written operating procedures, appropriate training and the appointment of a Radioactive Waste Advisor (see below) as well as the nomination of a competent person and display of the Certificate.

There will be conditions covering record keeping. The Certificate may also contain requirements for sampling and analysis of waste and other substances.

Radioactive Waste Advisers

Anyone who holds a Certificate of Authorisation to accumulate or dispose of radioactive waste is required to appoint a Radioactive Waste Adviser. A Radioactive Waste Adviser (RWA) is a specialist in radioactive waste disposal and environmental radiation protection who has demonstrated competence in the Radioactive Waste Adviser syllabus.

More information on the RWA certification scheme can be found on the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA) website:


Back to top