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Regulatory Guide - Applying for a source licence (or amendment)

Last updated date: 
1 May 2020
Reason for update: 
Administration update - no change to content.

This Regulatory Guide is provided to assist controlled persons apply for a source licence under section 33 of the Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Act. It may also assist licence holders seeking amendment to an existing source licence.

Associated forms

Selecting the correct application form

There are three application forms - the choice of form depends on the hazard of the source

Group 1 (G1)

ITEM KIND OF CONTROLLED MATERIAL OR CONTROLLED APPARATUS APPLICATION FORM
G1-1 Sealed source for calibration purposes of activity of 40 MBq or less LOW HAZARD
G1-2 Sealed source in a fully enclosed analytical device LOW HAZARD
G1-3 Sealed source with activity of 400 MBq or less in a fixed gauge LOW HAZARD
G1-4 Sealed source in a blood irradiator LOW HAZARD
G1-5 Sealed source in a bone densitometer LOW HAZARD
G1-6 Sealed source that:(a) is in storage and awaiting disposal; and (b) has a nuclide with a maximum activity of not more than 109 times the activity value for that nuclide in Part 1 of Schedule 1 LOW HAZARD
G1-7 Unsealed source, or sources, in a laboratory or particular premises, having nuclides of one kind only with a maximum activity of not more than 102 times the activity value for that nuclide set out in Part 1 of Schedule 1 of the Regulations LOW HAZARD
G1-8 Unsealed source, or sources, in a laboratory or particular premises, having nuclides such that when the maximum activity of each nuclide in the source, or sources, is divided by the activity value for that nuclide set out in Part 1 of Schedule 1 of the Regulations, the total of the results for all nuclides in the source, or sources, is not more than 102 LOW HAZARD
G1-9 Mammographic x-ray unit LOW HAZARD
G1-10 Conventional dental x-ray unit LOW HAZARD
G1-11 X-ray unit used for bone densitometry LOW HAZARD
G1-12 X-ray unit used for veterinary radiography LOW HAZARD
G1-13 Fully enclosed x-ray analysis unit LOW HAZARD
G1-14 Baggage inspection x-ray unit LOW HAZARD
G1-15 Mobile or portable medical x-ray unit LOW HAZARD
G1-16 Magnetic field non-destructive testing device LOW HAZARD
G1-17 Induction heater or induction furnace LOW HAZARD
G1-18 Industrial radiofrequency heater or welder LOW HAZARD
G1-19 Radiofrequency plasma tube LOW HAZARD
G1-20 Microwave or radiofrequency diathermy equipment LOW HAZARD
G1-21 Industrial microwave or radiofrequency processing system LOW HAZARD
G1-22 Optical source, other than a laser product, emitting ultraviolet radiation, infra-red or visible light LOW HAZARD
G1-23 A laser product with an accessible emission level more than the accessible emission limit of a Class 3R laser product as set out in AS/NZS IEC 60825.1:2014 LOW HAZARD
G1-24 An optical fibre communication system exceeding Hazard Level 3R as defined by AS/NZS IEC 60825.2:2011 LOW HAZARD
G1-25

Sealed source not mentioned in another item of this table or in the definition of Group 2 or Group 3, dealings with which do not have the potential for accidental exposure likely to exceed the dose limits mentioned in sections 77 and 79 of the Regulations

(a)    Sealed source for training and education purposes of 40 MBq or less
(b)    Manufactured item or component containing thorium
(c)    Clock, watch, heritage object, luminous dial or indicator with paint containing 1 MBq or less of radium 226 and no other controlled material
(d)    Clock, watch, heritage object, luminous dial or indicator with paint containing 1 GBq or less of promethium 147 and no other controlled material
(e)    Clock, watch, heritage object, military device or electronic component with paint containing tritium of activity of 100 GBq or less and no other controlled material
(f)    Tritium as an ionisation source
(g)    Sealed source in a static eliminator or aerosol neutraliser

LOW HAZARD
G1-26

Controlled apparatus that produces ionising radiation and is not mentioned in another item of this table or in the definition of Group 2 or Group 3, dealings with which do not have the potential for accidental exposure likely to exceed the dose limits mentioned in sections 77 and 79 of the Regulations for ionising radiation or the appropriate non ionising radiation exposure limits mentioned in section 80 of the Regulation:

(a)    Fully enclosed x-ray unit (radiography for special purposes)
(b)    Portable handheld dental x-ray apparatus
(c)    Optical source, other than a laser product, emitting ultraviolet radiation, infrared or visible light – solar tower array
(d)    Ion beam etching unit
(e)    CT scanner (for inspection of baggage/freight etc.)
(f)    Dual energy x-ray absorptiometry (DEXA) unit for veterinary studies
(g)    Fully enclosed x-ray biological irradiator (low power)
(h)    CT, SPECT/CT or PET/CT scanner for imaging of small animals
(i)    Klystron amplifier for radio communication or radar
(j)    Laser used on animals
(k)    Handheld backscatter x-ray security inspection system

LOW HAZARD

GROUP 2 (G2)

ITEM KIND OF CONTROLLED MATERIAL OR CONTROLLED APPARATUS APPLICATION FORM
G2-1 Sealed source for calibration purposes of activity of more than 40 MBq MEDIUM HAZARD
G2-2 Sealed source in a partially enclosed analytical device MEDIUM HAZARD
G2-3 Sealed source of activity of more than 400 MBq in a fixed gauge MEDIUM HAZARD
G2-4 Sealed source in a mobile gauge MEDIUM HAZARD
G2-5 Sealed source for medical or veterinary diagnostic nuclear medicine use MEDIUM HAZARD
G2-6 Unsealed source, or sources, in a laboratory or particular premises, having nuclides of one kind only with a maximum activity of more than 102, but not more than 104, times the activity value for that nuclide set out in Part 1 of Schedule 1 of the Regulations MEDIUM HAZARD
G2-7 Unsealed source, or sources, in a laboratory or particular premises, having nuclides such that when the maximum activity of each nuclide in the source, or sources, is divided by the activity value for that nuclide set out in Part 1 Schedule 1 of the Regulations, the total of the results for all nuclides in the source, or sources, is more than 102 but not more than 104 MEDIUM HAZARD
G2-8 Unsealed sources used for tracer studies in the environment MEDIUM HAZARD
G2-9 Industrial radiography x-ray unit MEDIUM HAZARD
G2-10 Fixed medical x-ray unit, including a unit used for fluoroscopy, tomography and chiropractic radiography MEDIUM HAZARD
G2-11 Partially enclosed x-ray analysis unit MEDIUM HAZARD
G2-12 Medical therapy simulator MEDIUM HAZARD
G2-13 CT scanner MEDIUM HAZARD
G2-14

Sealed source not mentioned in another item of this table or in the definition of Group 1 or Group 3, dealings with which have the potential for accidental exposure likely to exceed a dose limit mentioned in sections 77 and 79 of the Regulations but unlikely to result in acute effect

(a)    Sealed source for training and education purposes of 40 MBq or more
(b)    Clock, watch, heritage object, luminous dial or indicator with paint containing more than 1 MBq of radium 226 and no other controlled material
(c)    Clock, watch, heritage object, luminous dial or indicator with paint containing more than 1 GBq of promethium 147 and no other controlled material
(d)    Clock, watch, heritage object, military device or electronic component containing more than 100 GBq of tritium and no other controlled material

MEDIUM HAZARD
G2-15

Controlled apparatus that produces ionising radiation not mentioned in another item of this table or in the definition of Group 1 or Group 3, dealings with which have the potential for accidental exposure likely to exceed a dose limit in sections 77 and 79 of the Regulations but unlikely to result in acute effects

(a)    Mobile backscatter x-ray security inspection system
(b)    Mobile fluoroscopic x-ray apparatus
(c)    CT scanner for imaging of non-human objects
(d)    Fixed medical x-ray unit used for research purposes, including a unit designed for fluoroscopy, tomography, mammography and chiropractic radiography
(e)    Personnel security screening system using backscatter x-rays
(f)    Orthopantomogram (OPG) (dental panoramic x-ray unit)
(g)    Fully enclosed x-ray biological irradiator
(h)    Personnel anti-smuggling screening system using transmission x-rays
(i)    Handheld X-ray Fluorescence Analyser
(j)    Portable Deuterium-Deuterium neutron generator for materials analysis

MEDIUM HAZARD

GROUP 3 (G3)

ITEM KIND OF CONTROLLED MATERIAL OR CONTROLLED APPARATUS APPLICATION FORM
G3-1 Sealed source for industrial radiography HIGH HAZARD
G3-2 Sealed source for medical and veterinary radiotherapy HIGH HAZARD
G3-3 Sealed source in a bore hole logger HIGH HAZARD
G3-4

Sealed source not mentioned in another item of this table or in the definition of Group 1 or Group 2, dealings with which have the potential for accidental exposure likely to exceed a dose limit mentioned in sections 77 and 79 of the Regulations and likely to result in acute effects

(a)    Reactor start-up source

HIGH HAZARD
G3-5 Unsealed source, or sources, in a laboratory or particular premises, having nuclides of one kind only with a maximum activity of more than 104, but not more than 106, times the activity value for that nuclide set out in Part 1 of Schedule 1 of the Regulations HIGH HAZARD
G3-6 Unsealed source, or sources, in a laboratory or particular premises, having nuclides such that when the maximum activity of each nuclide in the source, or sources, is divided by the activity value for that nuclide set out in Part 1 of Schedule 1 of the Regulations, the total of the results for all nuclides in the source, or sources, is more than 104 but not more than 106 HIGH HAZARD
G3-7 Veterinary or medical radiotherapy unit HIGH HAZARD
G3-8

Controlled apparatus that produces ionising radiation not mentioned in another item of this table or in the definition of Group 1 or Group 2, dealings with which have the potential for accidental exposure likely to exceed a dose limit mentioned in sections 77 and 79 of the Regulations and likely to result in acute effects

(a)    Industrial irradiator containing less than 100 TBq of a controlled material
(b)    Neutron Beam Instrument
(c)    Low Energy Implanter
(d)    Deuterium-Tritium (± Deuterium-Deuterium) neutron generator
(e)    Industrial irradiator containing at least 100 TBq but not more than 1 PBq of a controlled material
(f)    Sealed source in a fully enclosed and interlocked cabinet used for calibration purposes
(g)    Portable/mobile Deuterium-Tritium (± Deuterium-Deuterium) neutron generator

HIGH HAZARD

Completing the application form

Section A: Applicant Information

Department or Commonwealth Body

This is the name of the Department of State or Commonwealth Body on behalf of which the application is being made. It may include further information for ease of identification e.g. Division, Branch, Section etc.

Portfolio

Name of the Commonwealth ministerial portfolio in which the Department or Commonwealth Body resides.

Applicant/Responsible Person1

The applicant must provide their full name, position and business address. The applicant must be:

(a) the Secretary, Chief Executive Officer, or an equivalent person, of the Department or Commonwealth Body (the applicant) or 
(b) a person authorised by the applicant to lodge an application2

In the case of (b), the application must include a copy of the authorisation.

The applicant must provide their full name, position and business address.

Nominee

If the applicant is sufficiently removed from the source dealing that they cannot demonstrate effective control, the name and contact details of a person more directly in control of the source dealing (the nominee) must be provided. The nominee must be in effective control of the controlled material and/or controlled apparatus (sources). Generally the nominee will be the manager of a division or agency’s operation at the site of the proposed activity or, in the case of mobile devices, where the devices are usually stored. Other nominees may also be acceptable where the hazards of the activity are low and only minimal control is required. If a nominee is appointed, an organisational chart should be provided showing the relationship of the nominee to the applicant and end users.

Radiation Safety Officer3 

This is an individual appointed by the applicant to supervise radiation safety in relation to the sources for which the licence is sought. This person must be technically competent in radiation protection matters relevant to all sources, including non-ionising radiation sources if these are part of the application. Evidence of competency should be included. If there is more than one radiation safety officer, the details of other radiation safety officers should also be provided.

Declaration 

The declaration must be signed by the applicant or authorised person.

Section B: Description of the source and proposed dealing  

The applicant should indicate the kind of controlled apparatus and/or controlled material in the table provided. If there is any doubt about the hazard category or description of a source the applicant should seek advice from Regulatory Services on (02) 9541 8333. 

The applicant should describe the source, the proposed dealing, and provide the full street address where the sources will be used or stored.

Section C: Source details

Section 47 of the Regulations sets out the information that must be provided about the sources to be dealt with under the licence. This information must be recorded in a File Source Inventory Workbook (SIW) which is an Excel spreadsheet available from the ARPANSA website.

The SIW is the form approved by the CEO for maintaining source records. An explanation of terms and required information appears in the first worksheet. The completed SIW is to be submitted electronically with the application.

Note: For sealed sources, a copy of any source certificate or special form certificate should accompany the application as per item 1(b) in the table mentioned in paragraph 47(2)(a) of the Regulations.

Section D: Plans & Arrangements for managing safety 

The applicant must have plans and arrangements for managing the controlled apparatus or controlled material to ensure the health and safety of people and protection of the environment. The plans and arrangements should be a comprehensive program of policies and procedures that demonstrate how radiation safety will be assured. The content of these plans and arrangements will vary depending on the hazard and complexity of the sources to be dealt with. 

There is no pre-determined format for supplying this information. The applicant may either describe the plans and arrangements as required on the application form or may reference suitable organisational documents. If the latter option is taken, the applicant must clearly indicate on the application form where the relevant information can be found within accompanying documents.  

A brief description of what is expected in plans and arrangements is provided below. For more detailed information, applicants should refer to the Regulatory Guide: Plans and Arrangements

Applicants are required to identify the codes and/or standards relevant to the proposed dealing and describe how compliance with such documents will be achieved. This information may be incorporated into this section.  

Codes and/or standards applicable to each kind of source can be found on the ARPANSA website. Relevant codes and/or standards will become conditions of licence should the application be approved. 

ARPANSA also maintains a register of International Standards that may be relevant to the proposed dealing. Applicants should identify relevant international standards and describe how these will be applied or taken into account in managing the safety of sources.   

Depending on the application form, the applicant may be required to address some or all of the following:

1. Effective Control Arrangements

The applicant must demonstrate how he/she or the nominee will maintain control over the particular dealings for which a licence is sought. The arrangements should cover such things as organisational arrangements, management systems and resources.

2. Safety Management Plan

The applicant must describe the administrative arrangements for managing safety. These arrangements may be minimal, where only low hazards are involved, but will be more extensive for dealings of higher complexity or hazard. The safety management plan should cover things such as safety culture, safety of premises and equipment, competency and training, incidents and accidents, auditing and record keeping. 

3. Radiation Protection Plan

Radiation protection policies and procedures should be set out in a radiation safety manual and in specific operating procedures. Guidance on the content of such a manual is provided in chapter 3 of ARPANSA Code RPS C-1 Radiation Protection in Planned Exposure Situations (2016). 

The radiation protection plan should cover issues such as principles of radiation protection, planning and design of the workplace, classification of work area, local procedures, radiation monitoring of individuals and the workplace and protection of the environment.  

Where sources or facilities are to be used for medical purposes, the plans and arrangements should address the requirements of Code of Practice in the medical applications of ionizing radiation (RPS 14) and associated safety  guides for diagnostic and interventional radiology, radiotherapy, and nuclear medicine, in particular, optimisation of exposure and radiation protection of the patient.

In addition, the applicant is responsible for ensuring that arrangements are implemented for the appointment of a suitably qualified radiation safety officer and/or radiation safety committee as appropriate. The applicant must provide information about the qualifications and experience of such persons and the arrangements in place for their continued competency. 

4. Radioactive Waste Management Plan

A full description and anticipated amounts of any radioactive wastes, including discharges arising from the proposed dealing and the arrangements for the safe handling, treatment, storage and disposal of any such waste should be set out in a radioactive waste management plan.

5. Ultimate Disposal or Transfer Plan

The applicant must provide a plan for the ultimate transfer or disposal of sources. Copies of documented undertakings by other organisations to accept sources when no longer required should be provided where possible. Applicants should note that after a licence is issued section 65 of the Regulations applies to the disposal and transfer of sources. 

Note: Stricter requirements apply to security enhanced sources4 - applicants should refer to the Code of Practice for Security of Radioactive Sources (RPS 11).    

6. Security Plan

Arrangements for the security of sources to prevent theft, damage or unauthorised use must be provided. These arrangements should ensure that control of sources is not relinquished without compliance with any requirements of the Regulations and conditions of licence, and provide for periodic inventories to confirm that all sources are in their assigned locations and are secure.

Applicants should refer to the Code of Practice for Security of Radioactive Sources (RPS 11). Compliance with this code is mandatory for security enhanced sources; in particular, the need for an approved security plan.  

7. Emergency Plan

Emergency arrangements must be developed for all foreseeable emergencies such as dispersion of materials, overexposure of operators, or theft or loss of controlled material. The arrangements should include the responsibilities of all parties in the event of an emergency, contact arrangements, emergency procedures, emergency equipment and reporting arrangements. Where necessary, arrangements for involving external agencies such as police and other emergency services should be included.

The plan should include arrangements for testing the emergency arrangements through regular reviews and exercises, and rectifying any deficiencies found in the emergency plans.

Section E: Matters to be taken into account by the CEO

Under section 33(3) of the Act, the CEO, in deciding whether to issue a source licence, must take into account matters prescribed in the Regulations and international best practice in relation to radiation protection and nuclear safety. Section 54 of the Regulations lists the matters that the CEO must take into account for the issue of a source licence and section 47 of the Regulations prescribes the information that the CEO may require an applicant to provide. Section E of the application form is designed to enable an applicant to provide the information that the CEO needs to take these matters into account. The matters are described below:

1. International Best Practice in Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety 

Sub-sections 32(3) and 33(3) of the Act require the CEO to take into account international best practice in relation to radiation protection and nuclear safety when making a decision whether to issue a licence. 

Adherence to national codes and standards and international standards is generally an indication of international best practice.  The ARPANSA website provides guidance on International Best Practice

2.  Information asked for by the CEO 

The CEO must consider if the application includes all the information required by subsection 47(1) of the Regulations and whether the extra information requested under subsection 47(2) of the Regulations has been provided. 

The CEO must also take into account the items in section 54 of the Regulations, namely: 

Undue Risk 

Under paragraph 54(c), the CEO must consider whether the information provided by the applicant establishes that the controlled apparatus or material can be dealt with without undue risk to the health and safety of people and to the environment. The applicant must demonstrate that the radiation risks to people and the environment arising from the proposed dealing have been fully assessed, including the probability and magnitude of potential exposures arising from accident scenarios or abnormal occurrences.  

Net Benefit 

Under paragraph 54(d), the CEO must consider whether the applicant has shown that there is a net benefit from dealing with the controlled apparatus or material.  The applicant must demonstrate that dealing with the controlled apparatus or material produces sufficient benefit to individuals or to society to offset the radiation harm that it might cause, taking into account social, economic and other relevant factors, that is, the applicant must justify and demonstrate a net benefit from the dealing.

Optimisation of protection

Under paragraph 54(e), the CEO must consider whether the applicant has shown that protection has been optimised so that radiation risks are as low as reasonably achievable. The level of protection should be the best under prevailing circumstances and should provide for an adequate margin of benefit over harm. The applicant must show that the likelihood of incurring exposures, the number of people exposed and the magnitude of exposures are as low as reasonably achievable, having regard to economic and societal factors. For this purpose, the applicant could provide actual dose information, including dosimeter readings and surveys or sample dose calculations or both. 

Capacity to Comply 

Under paragraph 54(f), the CEO must consider whether the applicant has shown a capacity for complying with the Regulations and any licence conditions that would be imposed under section 35 of the Act. For this purpose, the applicant may provide evidence of compliance with similar legislation such as that administered by Comcare or the Australian Safeguards and Non-Proliferation Office (ASNO) in order to demonstrate its capacity to comply. A current ARPANSA licence holder may provide details of its compliance history.  

An applicant should also demonstrate that it has or will have sufficient financial and human resources to safely deal with the controlled apparatus or material.      

Authorised signatory 

Under paragraph 54(g), the CEO must be satisfied that the application has been signed by an office holder of the applicant, a person authorised by an office holder of the applicant, or if the licence is for a Commonwealth entity mentioned in section 45 of the Regulations, someone described in paragraph (b) of that section. An office holder is the Secretary, Chief Executive Officer or an equivalent person of the Department or Commonwealth Body named as the applicant in the application. Where a person authorised by an office holder of the applicant signs the application, an instrument of authorisation must be provided.

Checklist

A checklist is provided as final confirmation that the application is complete and in an acceptable form.

Application fee

Applicants should refer to Division 4 of the Regulations to determine the fee. The fee should be paid by cheque or EFT and must be received before the application can be assessed. 

Submitting the application

The completed application form and all supporting documentation should be emailed to licenceadminatarpansa.gov.au.

How an application is decided

Once an application has been submitted to ARPANSA, the application will be examined to ensure that all the necessary information has been included and that it is properly signed and that the application fees have been paid. If so, the applicant will receive a letter of acknowledgment. However, if any of the basic information is not included, the applicant may be contacted for further information or the application and application fee may be returned with a covering letter describing the omission.

Applications are then forwarded to a Regulatory Officer for assessment. Where matters require clarification, the Regulatory Officer will contact the applicant or nominee. The Regulatory Officer may also consider that an inspection or site visit is necessary and may contact the applicant to make arrangements.

Once the Regulatory Officer has reviewed and assessed all the information provided, a Regulatory Assessment Report (RAR) is produced. This report will address the matters to be taken into account by the CEO of ARPANSA in accordance with subsection 32(3) of the Act, namely international best practice in relation to radiation protection and nuclear safety and the matters specified in the regulations. Division 5 of the Regulations specifies those matters. They are:

(a) whether the application complies with subsection 46(1) of the Regulations
(b) whether the application includes the information asked for by the CEO 
(c) whether the information establishes that the controlled apparatus or material can be dealt with without undue risk to the health and safety of people and to the environment 
(d) whether the applicant has shown that there is a net benefit from the proposed dealing
(e) whether the applicant has shown that the magnitude of individual doses, the number of people exposed, and the likelihood that exposure will happen, are as low as reasonably achievable, having regard to economic and social factors 
(f) whether the applicant has shown a capacity for complying with the Regulations and the licence conditions that would be imposed under section 35 of the Act 
(g) whether the application has been signed by an office holder of the applicant, or a person authorised by an office holder of the applicant
(h) In the case of a nuclear installation, the content of any submissions made by members of the public about the application

The Regulatory Assessment Report will make a recommendation to the CEO (or Delegate) about whether to issue a licence and may recommend the licence conditions to be imposed under section 35 of the Act. All relevant documentation is sent to the decision maker. The applicant will be advised in writing of the decision.  

Under section 37 of the Act, a licence may be issued for an indefinite period or for a period specified in the licence. Once issued a licence remains in force until it is cancelled or surrendered or the specified period has elapsed.

Appealing a licence decision

Section 40 of the Act describes the rights of review available to eligible persons in respect of licence decisions made by the CEO. The following decisions are reviewable:

(a) to refuse to grant a licence
(b) to impose conditions on a licence
(c) to suspend a licence
(d) to cancel a licence
(e) to amend a licence 
(f) not to approve the surrender of a licence
(g) to issue a licence for a particular period, rather than for a longer period or indefinitely
(h) not to extend the period for which a licence was issued

An eligible person in relation to a decision to refuse to grant a licence means the person who applied for the licence, and in relation to any other licence decision, it is the licence holder.

Review by the Minister

Should an applicant wish to have a licence decision reviewed, the applicant may request the Minister for Health to review the decision. The request must be in writing and be given to the Minister within 28 days of the making of the licence decision.
Once a request for review has been lodged, the Minister must reconsider the licence decision and confirm, vary or set aside the decision.

The Minister is taken to have confirmed the licence decision if the Minister does not give written notice within 60 days of the request.

Review by the Administrative Appeals Tribunal (AAT)

An application may be made to the AAT for review of a decision of the Minister.


1 Responsible person is defined in RPS C-1 Radiation Protection in Planned Exposure Situations

2 Refer paragraph 45(b) of the Regulations

3 In some cases a RSO may not be required. Applicants should refer to Regulatory Guide: Plans and Arrangements or contact ARPANSA

4 A security enhanced source is a radioactive source or aggregation of sources assigned Security Category 1, 2 or 3 when using the methodology set out in Schedule B of RPS 11.