Radiation Council Annual Report 2013-14

Chair's review

It is my pleasure to present the Annual Report of the Radiation Council for 2013-14.

Membership of the council changed significantly during the reporting period, with three longstanding members retiring in 2013. Tony Agostino, Keith Fifield and Jean Bennett donated their time and provided a wealth of knowledge to council, with their appointments to council amounting to a combined 51 years of experience. I would like to take this opportunity to thank these past members for the significant contribution they have made to radiation safety in the ACT, and wish them well for their future endeavours.

The council welcomes three new members, Ms Pamela Brown, Dr Stephen Tims and Dr Donald McLean who were appointed in December 2013 for a three-year term. Dr Mervyn Despois and I were reappointed for a three-year term commencing December 2013, joining existing members Dr Sean Geoghegan and Dr Ahmad Javaid. During this appointment process I was appointed as Chair of the council, and Dr Geoghegan was appointed as Deputy Chair.

The council has had a productive year, continuing to issue licences, register radiation sources and consider issues that may affect the ACT community with regard to radiation safety and protection.

I wish to express my appreciation to the members of the council for their expert contribution and to the staff of the Health Protection Service for their ongoing support.

Council functions

The Radiation Protection Act 2006 (www.legislation.act.gov.au) controls the safe use, storage, transportation and disposal of radioactive material and irradiating apparatus. The Radiation Council is established under Part 5 of the Radiation Protection Act 2006, and has the following functions:

  • issuing licences
  • registering regulated radiation sources
  • advising the minister on radiation protection issues
  • exercising any other function given to it under the Radiation Protection Act 2006 or another territory law.

Council membership

The composition of the Radiation Council is specified in section 65 the Radiation Protection Act 2006. There are currently seven members appointed to the council.

 

Radiation Council membership

Council meetings 2013-14

The council meets approximately every six weeks and met eight times during the year. Meetings were held in August, September, October and December of 2013 and in January, March, April and May of 2014.

Regulatory standards

A number of standards, codes of practice, safety guides, and recommendations are referred to by council when considering matters relating to radiation protection, and when issuing licences and approving registrations under the Radiation Protection Act 2006. This includes documents in the ARPANSA Radiation Protection Series, which are available free of charge from www.arpansa.gov.au

National Directory for Radiation Protection

The National Directory for Radiation Protection (the Directory) provides the basis for achieving uniformity of radiation protection practices across Australian jurisdictions, and is an incorporated document under the Radiation Protection Act 2006. The Directory is designed to be regularly updated to reflect the best radiation protection practice of the time. The Directory is prepared by the ARPANSA Radiation Health Committee, and is only updated in accordance with prescribed processes.

The Directory was republished in February 2014 to include Amendment No.6. This amendment added exemption requirements for lighting products that include krypton-85, clarified competency requirements for chiropractors that use x-ray equipment, and updated schedule 13, which relates to the national incident reporting framework.

The council is regularly briefed on developments with regard to the work of the ARPANSA Radiation Health Committee. ACT Health has a jurisdictional representative appointed to the committee.

Approvals and decisions

Licences

The council issued 188 new licences during the 2013-14 year, while 131 licences were not renewed. Overall this represents a 5.1 per cent increase (57 licences), bringing the total number of licence holders in the ACT to 1114.

Registrations

The council registered 69 new radiation sources during the 2013-14 year, while 36 sources were decommissioned or transferred interstate. Overall this represents a 5.6 per cent increase (33 sources), bringing the total number of registered radiation sources in the ACT to 586.

Radiation incidents

The following radiation incidents were reported to the council during the year and underwent further investigation:

  • Dental sources: one incident involved equipment malfunction
  • Soil density gauges: one incident involved damage to, or malfunctioning of, a radiation apparatus or sealed source.

In line with the ACT Health Risk Management Guidelines, the incident with the dental source was deemed insignificant and required no further action.

The incident with the soil density gauge was considered to be of minor consequence and was referred to ARPANSA for inclusion on the Australian Radiation Incident Register.

Both of the areas involved reviewed their working systems and where necessary amended procedures to reduce the likelihood of similar incidents occurring in the future.

Enforcement and remedial actions by the council

No investigations or legal proceedings were commenced in 2013-14.

All correspondence should be addressed to:

Secretariat
Radiation Council
C/- Health Protection Service
Locked Bag 5005
WESTON CREEK ACT 2611

Phone: 02 62051700
Email: hps@act.gov.au
Website: www.health.act.gov.au/radiationsafety

(signature)

Elizabeth Croft
Chair
July 2014