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Guide for Classification of Radioactive Waste (RPS G-4)

ARPANSA is engaging in public consultation on the draft Guide for Classification of Radioactive Waste (Radiation Protection Series G-4).

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The Issue
Start/End Date: 
Friday 13 December 2019 - 10:30 to Friday 14 February 2020 - 17:00

In April 2010, ARPANSA published the Safety Guide for Classification of Radioactive Waste, Radiation Protection Series No. 20 (RPS 20). This guide sets out non-prescriptive, best-practice guidance for classifying radioactive waste and was based on the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)’s General Safety Guide: Classification of Radioactive Waste, GSG-1 (IAEA 2009).

Recently, the Radiation Health Committee (RHC) found that RPS 20 does not fully align with IAEA GSG-1, and other RPS and IAEA documents. The non-alignment is described below:

  • During the publication of RPS 20 the description of high level waste (HLW) did not include the concentration values that determines the upper boundary of the intermediate level waste (ILW) noting that Australia does not hold and/or generate HLW. The IAEA GSG-1 provides a typical activity concentration range (1016 – 1018 Becquerels per cubic metre (Bq/m3)) to describe HLW. Therefore, the activity concentration value 1016 Bq/m3 is used to define the upper boundary for ILW. This upper boundary for ILW is not mentioned in RPS 20. [Note: activity concentration is defined as the activity of radionuclide per unit mass (or per unit volume) of a material].
  • RPS 20 provides four examples of disused sealed radioactive sources in Table 1, which are not consistent with the examples of disused sealed radioactive sources in Table III-1 of GSG-1. These inconsistencies are also reflected in Figure 3 of RPS 20. Table 1 and Figure 3 of RPS 20 require amendments to correct these inconsistencies.
  • The glossary in RPS 20 is not in line with other RPS documents and the IAEA’s Safety Glossary Terminology Used in Nuclear Safety and Radiation Protection (2018 Edition).

In order to address the discrepancies the Guide has been revised and presented at the RHC meeting in July 2019 and the RHC agreed to amend the guide. 

Objectives of the revision

The objectives of the revision are to ensure that:

  • the classification of radioactive waste is consistent with international standard and the boundaries between different classes of wastes are clearly identified on the basis of long term safety considerations 
  • RPS 20 is consistent with the IAEA General Safety Guide: Classification of Radioactive Waste, GSG-1 (IAEA 2009), which Australia, as a member state of the IAEA, has agreed to implement.

Is a Commonwealth regulatory impact statement required?

No. The Office of Best Practice Regulation (OBPR) advised ARPANSA that no consultation Regulatory Impact Statement was necessary for the revised Guide. The proposed changes do not involve any mandatory requirements. The proposed amendment of RPS 20 in line with GSG-1 will ensure compliance with IAEA standard for classification of waste that would provide a high degree of harmonisation and guidance on practices and management of radioactive waste.

Making a comment

As many public consultations attract high levels of interest, we prefer to accept submissions via the online webform available below. Our website is secure and is suitable for uploading submissions. You should use the template provided below to prepare your submission. If the template is not used your submission may not be considered.

You can submit by email, but please be aware that this is not an automated process and it may take longer for you to receive an acknowledgement that your submission has been received, and for us to publish your submission on our website. You can email your submission to stakeholdercommentatarpansa.gov.au.

You have the option to remain anonymous by selecting 'Remain Anonymous' in the web form below. Comments made on submissions by other parties will not be published.

We have prepared a guide on how to make a submission on this public consultation.

File Making a submission on a draft document

Submission template

File Comments template (RPS G-4)

Draft - Guide for Classification of Radioactive Waste (RPS G-4)

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13 Dec 2019 - 10:30
14 Feb 2020 - 17:00
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