Introduction

This report provides information about ongoing Australian National Radiation Dose Register (ANRDR) projects and summarises selected data held in the ANRDR since 2011 to the end of 2022. 

ANRDR projects

There are currently two significant ongoing ANRDR projects

  1. Enabling dosimetry service provider submissions to the ANRDR: 
    This project will allow dosimetry service providers to submit dose records to the ANRDR, this will greatly increase both the number of dose records held in the ANRDR, and coverage of the occupationally exposed workforce. This system is ready for deployment. The aim is to deploy it in early 2024 where it will undergo final testing requirements prior to full implementation. A separate but related project is the development of a dosimetry service provider standard, planned to be the basis of their accreditation. This standard requires dosimetry service providers to submit dose records to the ANRDR and is expected to be released for public consultation in early 2024.
  2. ANRDR upgrade with improved user portals:
    This project involves rebuilding the employer-submits ANRDR system to make it more user-friendly as well as creating new portals for accessing data held in the ANRDR. The portals will be developed to access/integrate the data held in both the dosimetry service provider submission and employer submission ANRDR systems. Access will be available to workers with dose records, radiation safety regulators, employers of monitored workers, and ANRDR Administrators. Currently, tender documents are being developed to go to market for the selection of an external service provider to develop the system. The tender is expected to be on the market early in 2024 with project completion by the end of 2025.

Data analysis

The ANRDR collects quarterly-assessed radiation doses for a range of dose types and exposures. Data is collected to monitor individual doses and to generate annual statistics related to exposure trends. Such data analysis may assist with the optimisation of radiation protection practices for workers. Data collected include personal information to allow matching of workers with their doses and to identify workers when dose history reports are requested. 

The ANRDR currently holds dose records for more than 60,000 individuals, primarily from the uranium industry, but also from the mineral sands industry, government organisations, research institutions and veterinary and medical practices.

ARPANSA acknowledges that doses below the minimum reporting limits from dosimetry service providers are entered into the ANRDR as a zero value; this causes the statistical results to skew downward. Nevertheless, the statistical methods used follow practices used by other national dose registers and by international bodies such as the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and United Nations Scientific Committee on the Effects of Atomic Radiation (UNSCEAR).

It should also be noted that there may be slight differences between the data last published (in 2021, that summarises data 2011-2020) and the data for the same period in this report. There are two main reasons for these discrepancies, specifically:

  • ANRDR administrators periodically perform data cleansing work. This generally involves the merging of records where it is identified that two record sets refer to the same individual. Major data cleansing was undertaken in 2020, as described in the previous publication ANRDR Review 2020. The result of the data cleansing is an increase in average doses since merging of record sets decreases the number of individual workers.
  • There are several instances where data has been submitted or resubmitted to the ANRDR after analysis was performed. Since the publication of the previous summary, numerous outstanding dose records have been uploaded.

Uranium industry data

The ANRDR has coverage of all licenced Australian uranium operators with exposure records for all operations from 2011. Doses are reported as received; dose calculation methodologies are approved by the relevant jurisdictional regulator.

Figure 1 (below) shows the trends for the average and maximum effective doses for workers in the combined work categories ‘mining’ and ‘processing’. The average effective dose for workers decreased monotonically from 0.90 mSv in 2020 to 0.79 mSv in 2022 while the maximum increased from 6.63 mSv in 2020 to 14.85 mSv in 2021 followed by a decrease to 5.71 mSv in 2022.

Figure 1 Uranium industry average and maximum effective doses, and count of workers by year (2011-2022)

Figure 1: Uranium industry average and maximum effective doses, and count of workers by year (2011-2022).

Figure 2 (below) shows the average effective doses for each of the work categories ‘mining’, ‘processing’ and ‘other’ (‘other’ includes administrative and other support staff). 

Figure 2 Uranium industry average effective doses per work category (2011-2022)

Figure 2: Uranium industry average effective doses per work category (2011-2022).

Since 2020, the average effective dose for miners has decreased from 1.53 mSv to 1.40 mSv in 2022. Despite this, the average effective dose did increase in 2021 to 1.99 mSv.

From 2020 to 2022, overall, average effective dose for process workers and others, has also decreased i.e., 0.53 mSv to 0.49 mSv and 0.48 mSv to 0.38 mSv respectively. Notwithstanding this, both work categories showed increases over the period 2021 to 2022. In 2021, average effective doses for process workers and others were 0.38 mSv and 0.26 mSv, respectively. 

In determining these averages, for workers that had more than one work category in a given year, the worker was assigned to the category in which they received the highest dose.

Collective effective doses

The collective effective dose can be used as a comparative tool for the optimisation of radiation protection practices. It has been used by UNSCEAR for reporting and comparing exposures from different practices around the world (UNSCEAR 2008).

The collective effective dose (CED) is the sum of the individual doses incurred by a group. The unit of CED is the ‘person-sievert’ (person.Sv); this distinguishes the collective dose from the individual dose (IAEA 2007). Collective effective doses from the uranium industry, for the work categories ‘mining’ and ‘processing’, are shown in Figure 3 (below). 

Figure 3 Uranium industry collective effective dose and worker numbers by category (2011 -2022)

Figure 3 Uranium industry collective effective dose and worker numbers by category (2011 -2022)

Commonwealth organisations

Data to be published


 

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