Go to top of page

Guide for Radiation Protection in Emergency Exposure Situations (RPS G-3)

ARPANSA is engaging in public consultation on the draft Guide for Radiation Protection in Emergency Exposure Situations (Radiation Protection Series G-3).

Consultation tabs

The Issue
Start/End Date: 
Friday 20 April 2018 - 09:00 to Monday 16 July 2018 - 17:00

What is a nuclear or radiological emergency situation?

The fundamentals of radiation protection allow all ionising radiation exposures to be classified into three types of exposure situations: planned, existing and emergency situations. Planned exposure situations are controlled and regulated, but must consider arrangements for preparedness and response to an incident.

A nuclear or radiological emergency situation is defined as a non-routine situation of radiation exposure that arises as a result of an accident, a malicious act or other unexpected event, and requires prompt action in order to avoid or reduce adverse consequences.

Existing exposure situations are exposure situations that already exist when a decision on control has to be taken, including prolonged exposure situations after emergencies.

Why do we need national guidance for emergency exposure situations?

Whilst safety and security measures reduce the likelihood of a nuclear or radiological emergency occurring, the consequences of such an emergency from the radiation exposure of people and the environment can be far-reaching.

This Guide describes the actions needed to reduce any adverse health effects to both members of the public and workers, in emergency exposure situations. It therefore considers all hazard types in Australia regardless of potential consequences.

In the unlikely event of a nuclear reactor accident, this guide will provide a comprehensive approach to establishing arrangements for preparedness and response. While other accident types, for example involving the transport of radioactive materials, which occurs every day in Australia, parts of the preparedness and response arrangements need to be considered.

This guide applies a graded approach when considering the application of preparedness strategies and response actions.

Is the current Guide out of date?

Current Australian guidance applicable to emergency exposure situations is provided in ARPANSA Radiation Protection Series 7: Recommendations for Intervention in Emergency Situations Involving Radiation Exposures (RPS 7 2004). RPS 7 provides guidance to support decision making on the implementation of protective measures such as sheltering, evacuation, issue of iodine tablets (iodine prophylaxis) and the restriction of food.

While the guidance provided in RPS 7 remains fit for purpose until this new guide is published and formed the basis for ARPANSA’s advice to Government and the public during the 2011 Japan nuclear power plant emergency, the approach and terminology does not reflect current international best practice. In 2015, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) published its General Safety Requirements: Preparedness and Response for a Nuclear or Radiological Emergency (GSR Part 7).

This new Guide updates Australia’s guidance to align with the IAEA’s GSR Part 7.

What’s changing in the new Guide?

As part of the alignment process with international best practice, the following concepts and recommendations have been introduced and incorporated into the new guide:

  • Development of a National Hazard Assessment
  • Development of a National Protection Strategy for Emergency Preparedness and Response
  • Adoption of a National Reference Level
  • Consideration of safety and security factors in the preparedness stage
  • Interventions based on projected dose and residual dose
  • Establishment of Emergency Action Levels and Observables in addition to Operational Intervention Levels
  • The concept of a transition phase
  • Application of a graded approach based on defined Emergency Preparedness Categories
  • Consideration of other factors such as public information, management of radioactive waste and medical response.

What is changing for workers and helpers responding to a nuclear or radiological emergency?

This Guide will provide a consistent approach to dose and operational criteria, which brings nuclear and radiological emergencies in line with an all-hazards approach nationally. Implementation of this guidance will provide a common operating picture for responding to an emergency and enable a compatible, cross-jurisdictional response should external/additional assistance be required. There is no change to dose and operational criteria for emergency workers and helpers between the current and proposed guidance.

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 new Guide. The new Guide does not substantially alter existing arrangements and will predominantly bring into effect internationally agreed best-practice standards that are deemed fit for the Australian context.

What will happen to the current Guide?

RPS 7 was a joint publication with the National Occupational Health and Safety Commission, the predecessor of Safe Work Australia (SWA). Formal agreement from SWA will be sought to withdraw RPS 7 from the Radiation Protection Series once the new Emergency Exposure Guide is published.

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 the 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.

PDF icon Making a submission on a draft document
File Making a submission on a draft document

Submission template

File Draft comments template - Emergency Exposure Guide

Draft – Guide Emergency Exposure Situations


20 Apr 2018 - 09:00
16 Jul 2018 - 17:00
Days Remaining 0 of 87

The following formal submissions have been made public.

Department of Health

Submitted: Monday, July 30, 2018 - 09:37

George Koperski

Submitted: Wednesday, July 18, 2018 - 16:24

Queensland Health

Submitted: Monday, July 16, 2018 - 15:24

South Australian Country Fire Service

Submitted: Wednesday, July 18, 2018 - 16:26

South Australian Metropolitan Fire Service

Submitted: Friday, June 22, 2018 - 09:35


Submitted: Monday, July 16, 2018 - 13:50