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ARPANSA issues a direction to ANSTO

19 July 2018

On 29 June 2018, the CEO of ARPANSA, Dr Carl-Magnus Larsson, issued the Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation (ANSTO) with a direction under section 41(1A) of the Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Act 1998 (the Act).

The direction requires ANSTO to take immediate steps to initiate an independent review of its approach to occupational radiation safety of processes and operational procedures at its nuclear medicine facility, ANSTO Health (Lucas Heights, NSW), in particular those associated with quality control of molybdenum-99 (Mo-99) samples.

Dr Larsson decided to issue the direction following four separate events with safety implications at ANSTO Health in less than 10 months. The first and most significant event was the contamination event of a staff member’s hands on 22 August 2017. After that event, the CEO of ARPANSA found ANSTO to be non-compliant with licence conditions and, due to its severity, tabled a report in Parliament under section 61(1) of the Act. Three further events including the latest event on 7 June 2018 indicate ongoing safety issues at ANSTO Health.

In line with the direction, ARPANSA today approved ANSTO’s appointment of an external review team to undertake the review at ANSTO. This review will provide recommendations to improve safety practices, along with a plan and associated timelines to implement any actions.

ARPANSA will make the direction including the complete statement of reasons publicly available once tabled in Parliament.