Radioactive substances regulation (RSR) for non-nuclear sites

Environmental permitting of radioactive material and radioactive waste at non-nuclear sites in England.

Radioactive substances are widely used by hospitals, universities and industry to diagnose and treat patients, in manufacturing processes and to test the safety and quality of pipes, boilers and vessels.

If you intend to carry out a radioactive substances activity, before you start you may need to apply to the Environment Agency for a permit. For example, if you:

  • keep or use radioactive material
  • receive, accumulate or dispose of radioactive waste
  • keep or use mobile radioactive apparatus

Other, less common radioactive activities are listed in Schedule 23, part 2, paragraph 11 of the regulations.

The government has set out how radioactive substances should be regulated.

Who to contact about your radioactive substances permit

You can talk to us about any aspect of the application process by phoning the Permit Support Centre on 020 3025 8174 or 020 3025 8207.

Or you can talk to your local RSR officer. Permit Support Centre staff can tell you who that is. You should do this if you’ve not had a permit before.


Exempt or out of scope radioactive substances activities

You may not require a permit for certain radioactive substances activities. This guidance will tell you if your radioactive substances activity is out of scope (not subject to regulation) or exempt (you won’t need a permit but you will need to comply with guidance).

See government guidance on exemptions from the legislation in the UK

  1. Radioactive substances regulation (RSR): use of exemption provisions (covers out of scope)

    • Guidance
  2. Radioactive substances regulation (RSR): very low level radioactive waste

    • Guidance
  3. Radioactive substances regulation (RSR): medical and veterinary uses of radioactive sources

    • Guidance
  4. Radioactive substance regulation (RSR): radioactivity in museums

    • Guidance
  5. Radioactive substances regulation (RSR): waste sealed radioactive sources

    • Guidance
  6. Radioactive substances regulation (RSR): small sealed radioactive sources

    • Guidance
  7. Radioactive substances regulation (RSR): uranium and thorium

    • Guidance
  8. Radioactive substances regulation (RSR): small amounts of open radioactive sources

    • Guidance
  9. Radioactive substances regulation (RSR): lamps with radioactive substances

    • Guidance
  10. Radioactive substances regulation (RSR): radioactive material and waste 'stored in transit'

    • Guidance
  11. Radioactive substances regulation (RSR): interpretation of 'relevant liquid'

    • Guidance
  12. Radioactive substances regulation (RSR): NORM industrial activities

    • Guidance

Apply for, change, transfer or surrender a radioactive substances permit (Parts A and F)

Before you apply, read the application form part RSR A and its associated guidance. This explains which other parts of the form you will need to complete. Part F tells you where to send it.

All applicants must fill in parts A and F:

Part B (new permits)

If you are applying for a new permit you must also fill in the relevant Part B.

Part C (variations)

If you wish to vary your permit you must also fill in the relevant Part C.

Part D (transfer)

If you wish to transfer your permit to another person, both you and that other person must also fill in Part D and both of you must sign the declaration in Part F.

Part E (surrender)

If you wish to surrender your permit you must also fill in Part E.

Radioactive waste disposal

This guidance is important for preparing a permit application to dispose of radioactive waste.

Pay for your radioactive substances permit

You will need to submit the right fee. Our charging scheme explains in full how much your permit will cost. The scheme refers to our non-nuclear RSR Opra scheme. In some cases, for example to work out if your use of open sources is considered to be complex, you will need to follow this guidance to work out your fee.

If you wish to pay by debit or credit card you should use form CC1.

Comply with your radioactive substances permit

See guidance that explains the conditions of your permit and what you need to do to comply.

If your permit requires you to submit High Activity Sealed Sources (HASS) reports you can use a HASS record form and post it to:

International Waste Shipments
Richard Fairclough House
Knutsford Road

Flood risk for radioactive substances users

You should consider how climate change could increase flood risk and so pollution risk. This guidance will help you assess your flood risk and measures you can take to prevent pollution.

Published 31 March 2014
Last updated 18 May 2016 + show all updates
  1. Regulatory position statement: The management of radioactive items found in scrap metal has been added to the collection.
  2. New documents added: * SR2014 no 4: accumulation and disposal of radioactive waste * Application for an environmental permit: Part RSR-B6 NORM waste from the production of oil and gas
  3. First published.