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Invitation to comment: Existing Exposure Guide

Invitation to comment

Guide for Radiation Protection in Existing Exposure Situations (RPS G-2)

Published: 15 December 2016

Closing date:  March 2017

ARPANSA is inviting submissions on the draft Guide for Radiation Protection in Existing Exposure Situations (Existing Exposure Guide).

The purpose of this Guide is to provide best practice guidance on protection of occupationally exposed persons, the public and the environment from the harmful effects of ionising radiation in existing exposure situations.

Radioactive material is found naturally in the air we breathe, the food we eat and the water we drink. Humans also receive radiation exposure from naturally occurring radionuclides and from cosmic radiation from space. The population is also exposed to radiation resulting from releases to the environment of radioactive materials from human practices. For example exposure to radiation can continue long after a radiological or nuclear accident has occurred. These types of exposures may result in an 'existing exposure situation'.

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

There is recent international guidance and requirements relevant to the protection of the public and workers for existing exposure situations that allow a graded approach to optimise protection of exposed individuals. There are many types of existing exposure situations in Australia that may represent a risk to health to people and the environment. Examples include:

  • exposure to radon in homes and workplaces – radon is a naturally occurring radioactive gas and is present outdoors and indoors. Human activities such as construction of buildings or operation of mines may create or modify pathways that increase exposure to radon and its progeny
  • cosmic radiation – pilots and aircrew are exposed to elevated levels of cosmic radiation while flying at high altitude
  • past practices/legacy sites – some past activities, practices and/or accidents have resulted in contamination of the environment with radioactive material to levels that have warranted some form of remediation to reduce radiation doses.

ARPANSA and the Radiation Health Committee have developed guidance based on international best practice when considering the approach to take regarding existing exposure situations. The guide provides the following:

  • introduction into what is an existing exposure situation
  • established framework to protection people and the environment from existing exposure situations for the first time in Australia
  • identification and characterisation process for existing exposure situations
  • guidance using a graded approach to mitigation when required
  • and guidance reference levels to assist in decision making.

Comments are also invited on the future concepts for supporting information to accompany the Existing Exposure Guide.

Draft Guide Radiation Protection in Existing Exposure Situations

Download draft

PDF iconDraft Guide - Radiation Protection in Existing Exposure Situations

FileDraft Guide - Radiation Protection in Existing Exposure Situations

Closing date for submissions: 10 March 2017

Email address for submissions: StakeholderCommentatarpansa.gov.au