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Progress on actions from ANSTO safety review

29 October 2021

On 29 June 2018, the ARPANSA CEO issued a Direction to ANSTO under section 41(1A) of the Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Act 1998 (the Act) to initiate an independent safety review following a series of events with safety implications at the ANSTO Health (now Health Products) facility.

The most significant event involved contamination of a worker in August 2017 that exceeded the statutory dose limits.

In accordance with the Direction, ANSTO engaged an independent review team that was approved by ARPANSA to perform the review. The team reviewed ANSTO’s approach to occupational radiation safety of processes and operational procedures at its nuclear medicine facility.

In total, the review team raised 85 recommendations to be addressed by ANSTO in an implementation plan. The ARPANSA CEO approved the implementation plan in December 2019, following the ARPANSA Nuclear Safety Committee’s and Radiation Health and Safety Advisory Council’s advice on the matter.

The implementation plan prioritised actions based on the reduction of risk and the timely protection of workers. With the application of a licence condition, ARPANSA required that ANSTO report on progress of the implementation plan every six months, which has been occurring since the end of 2019. The most recent report was submitted to ARPANSA in July 2021.

After an action is considered by ANSTO to have reached practical completion, it undergoes a review and validation process prior to reporting to ARPANSA.

ARPANSA then reviews all documentation demonstrating completion. The majority of the recommendations have now been addressed and associated actions completed and validated. The remaining recommendations and associated actions are being progressed in line with agreed timeframes.

ARPANSA is generally satisfied with ANSTO’s actions to address the recommendations of the independent safety review and will continue to monitor progress of the implementation of actions to ensure the highest level of protection is achieved.