The government has reviewed the framework for exempting radioactive materials and radioactive wastes from the need for registration and authorisation under Radioactive Substances Act 1993 (RSA 93).
The review, part of a UK-wide project, was undertaken to: reduce the regulatory burden for radioactive substances that are either ubiquitous or present low risk; respond to stakeholder views that the regime was outdated and difficult to follow and demonstrate clearer compliance with the Euratom Basic Safety Standards Directive (96/29/Euratom) (BSSD).
When the Radioactive Substances Act 1960 (RSA 60) came into full force in 1963 a number of anomalies, difficulties and instances of over-regulation were identified. These were addressed by a series of Exemption Orders which were introduced to meet the needs of specific circumstances. In total there are 21 Exemption Orders (3 of which are amending Orders) and these were not developed with any underlying structure or philosophy.
Exemption Orders provide a degree of control, without excessive bureaucracy, over minor uses of radioactive substances where there is a clear benefit from their use, whilst ensuring continued protection of the environment and the public.
A new single Exemption Order will replace the current set of 21 Orders, many of which date back to the 1960’s. The Order implements certain provisions in the BSSD, which allow for the exemption of radioactive materials up to specified concentrations and total quantities as well as for low-risk activities. The aim has been to provide, where possible, equivalent exemptions to those already existing but using modern language, modern units and consistent structure to simplify the Order.