On 5 October 2018, following a direction from ARPANSA’s CEO Dr Carl-Magnus Larsson, the Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation (ANSTO) provided ARPANSA with a report produced by an independent expert review team outlining 85 recommendations to improve ANSTO’s occupational radiation safety processes and operational procedures.

Dr Larsson issued the direction to initiate an independent review on 29 June 2018 under section 41(1A) of the Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Act 1998 (the Act) following four separate events with safety implications at ANSTO Health in less than 10 months. 

The first and most significant event was a skin contamination of a worker on 22 August 2017 that exceeded statutory dose limits. After this event, Dr Larsson found ANSTO in breach of the Act for being non-compliant with its licence conditions and tabled a report in Parliament under section 61(1) of the Act.

In accordance with the direction, ANSTO engaged an independent expert review team that was approved by ARPANSA. The team was drawn from a cohort of international and national experts in the fields of nuclear safety, safety and organisational culture, radiation protection and human factors. The team reviewed ANSTO’s approach to occupational radiation safety of processes and operational procedures at its nuclear medicine facility, in particular those associated with quality control of molybdenum-99 samples. 

ARPANSA has granted ANSTO with a 60 day extension to provide a full and complete response to the 85 recommendations, including a comprehensive action plan responding to the recommendations, for ARPANSA’s approval. 

In the meantime ARPANSA continues to monitor the safety of nuclear medicine production at ANSTO and is carefully reviewing the report in anticipation of ANSTO’s detailed response. 

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