Go to top of page

Regulatory Guide - Surrender of a facility licence and release from regulatory control (ARPANSA-GDE-1745WEB)

Last updated date: 
1 February 2021
Reason for update: 
Slight rearrangement of content but no substantial change; added references to appropriate regulatory guides

Regulatory expectations that must be met for the CEO to accept surrender of a facility licence and release the site from regulatory control.

Associated forms

Purpose

This document sets out the regulatory expectations that must be met for the CEO of ARPANSA to accept the surrender of a facility licence and release the site from regulatory control. 

Notes: 

  1. A site may be released from regulatory control with conditions for future use   
  2. For a multi-facility site, the facility can be released from regulatory control or incorporated into another licensed facility

Assessment criteria 

Before the CEO will consent to the surrender of a facility licence the operating organisation must account for the full inventory of non-exempt radioactive material arising from the decommissioning process or previous authorised activities. 
A licence holder seeking approval to surrender a facility licence should ensure the following expectations are fully addressed in their application:  

1. The remaining structures, systems components and the environment at the location of the facility must no longer contain controlled material unless the activity concentrations of the material(s) are exempt from regulatory control. 

Schedule 1 Part 1 of the Regulations1 sets out values for the total activity and activity concentration of radionuclides that require regulatory control. ARPANSA must be satisfied that the licence holder has adequately demonstrated, by analysis or measurement or both, that radionuclide total activity or activity concentration is below the stated values. Consideration should be given to commissioning independent assessment or measurement.

2. Radioactivity levels at the site which are associated with the facility (i.e. above natural background) should not pose an ongoing danger.

ARPANSA must be satisfied that any residual radioactivity resulting from the previously controlled activity is sufficiently low to not pose an ongoing hazard. An application to surrender a licence should demonstrate that the dose expected to be incurred by any member of the public is in the order of 10 µSv per year or less above natural background. This will be considered to demonstrate that there is no residual hazard from the controlled facility based on the following international standards, guidance and practices:

  • IAEA Safety Guide WS-G-5.12 (Item 6.1) sets a basic exposure limit of 1 mSv/yr above natural background for any critical group at a site released from regulatory control. However the IAEA also state that a dose constraint in the order of 0.1 mSv/yr should be applied if any other practices are to be undertaken at the location.  
  • IAEA Basic Safety Standards3 (Schedule I, Item I.2) states that, that under all reasonably foreseeable circumstances the effective dose expected to be incurred by any individual owing to the exempt practice or the exempt source within the practice is of the order of 10 μSv or less in a year. 
  • In regard to International Best Practice (IBP) some regulatory bodies use the 10 µSv/yr as equating to no ongoing danger. The IAEA Basic Safety Standards also considers low probability scenarios where a different criterion could be used, namely that the effective dose expected to be incurred by any individual for such low probability scenarios does not exceed 1 mSv in a year.
  • IAEA advice on the application of exemption principles is provided in IAEA Safety Guide RS-G-1.74. This guide includes information on radionuclide concentrations which are consistent with this objective. 

Justification should be provided by the licence holder to deviate from this objective.  

3. All materials containing non-exempt radionuclide concentrations must be transferred to an appropriate licence or disposed of via an approved method.

The licence holder must account for the full inventory of non-exempt waste arising from the decommissioning process or prior operation of the facility. The licence holder must demonstrate that all non-exempt waste has been managed appropriately before a licence may be surrendered. Guidance on the disposal or transfer of controlled material is provided in Regulatory Guide: Disposal and transfer of sources.

References

  1. Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Regulations 2018
  2. ARPANSA Regulatory Guide: Decommissioning a controlled facilities
  3. ARPANSA Regulatory Guide: Disposal and transfer of sources
  4. IAEA Safety Standards – Release of Sites from Regulatory Control on Termination of Practices IAEA Safety Guide WS-G-5.1 – 2006
  5. IAEA Safety Standards – Radiation Protection and Safety of Radiation Sources: International Basic Safety Standards IAEA General Safety Requirements GSR Part 3 – 2014
  6. IAEA Safety Standards – Application of the Concepts of Exclusion, Exemption and Clearance IAEA Safety Guide RS-G-1.7 – 2004

1 See ARPANSA Regulatory Guide: Decommissioning a controlled facility (para 9.11-9.14 & Appendix III)