Regulation & Licensing

Security of Radiological Material

Information about the security aspects of the regulation and control of radiological material

ARPANSA is responsible for implementing and coordinating the response to the Council of Australian Governments Report on the Regulation and Control of Radiological Material (COAG Report) .

During 2006, COAG agreed to a National Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear Security Strategy to provide a framework to strengthen and enhance Australia’s existing arrangements for chemical, biological, radiological material and nuclear security. In addressing the security of radiological materials, COAG agreed to a number of recommendations including the establishment of a national regulatory scheme for the storage, possession, use and transport of certain radiological materials to minimise the risk of such materials being misused.

COAG recommendations (PDF 308kb)

A significant component of the response to COAG’s decision was the publication of the Code of Practice for the Security of Radioactive Sources (ARPANSA, 2007).

ARPANSA is working with State and Territory governments and other Commonwealth agencies to implement the recommendations in the COAG Report for the regulation and control of radiological material. Part of this assistance has been the provision of workshops in each State and Territory to raise awareness of the COAG report and assist State and Territory licencees with implementation of the requirements of the Code of Practice for the Security of Radioactive Sources. For further information regarding assistance with the implementation of the Code of Practice, licencees should contact the relevant radiation regulator for their jurisdiction.

The Code of Practice sets out a graded approach for the security of sealed sources. That is, the stringency of the security measures applied is proportional to the likelihood of the source or aggregation of sources being acquired and the consequences of malicious use. The Code of Practice groups sources into five categories and allocates security measures commensurate with the risk posed by the sources in each category (see Radioactive Sources: Use, Safety & Security (PDF 310kb) for background information on radioactive sources and the security categorisation of the sources). The Code of Practice is given force of law by each State and Territory and the Commonwealth and administered by the regulatory authority in each jurisdiction as part of the regulatory framework governing the use of radiation. The publication and implementation of the Code is one of the ways in which Australia is demonstrating its commitment to implement the IAEA Code of Practice for the Security of Radioactive Sources. In 2004, the development process was further strengthened by Australia’s formal commitment to the IAEA Code of Conduct on the Safety and Security of Radioactive Souces.

ARPANSA has also developed Security Guides to assist with implementation of the Code of Practice. The guides are available from radiation regulators in each jurisdiction. The Guides currently cover Category 1, 2 and 3 sources used in the following practices:

  • Blood irradiator
  • Panoramic industrial irradiator
  • High dose rate brachytherapy
  • Research irradiator
  • Industrial radiography
  • Well logging
  • Fixed gauges
  • Moisture and density gauges

Guides for further practices are being developed and will also be available from radiation regulators. For further information regarding assistance with the implementation of the Code of Practice or to report information in relation to security breaches contact the relevant radiation regulator for your jurisdiction. To report information that may have national security implications, contact the National Security Hotline 1800 123 400.

For further enquiries about the information on this webpage contact

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