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Regulatory Guide - Transfer or Disposal of Sources (ARPANSA-GDE-1733WEB)

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

Associated forms

Introduction

Under section 65 of the Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Regulations 2018, a licence holder must have prior approval from the CEO of ARPANSA to:

(i) dispose1 of a controlled apparatus or controlled material (source) 

(ii) transfer a source to another jurisdiction (outside of the Commonwealth) 

Under subsection 65(3) of the Regulations, transfer of sources within the Commonwealth2 requires the licence holder to notify the CEO within 7 days. 

How to apply for approval to transfer or dispose of a source

Licence holders seeking approval to transfer or dispose of a source should use the standard Transfer/Disposal Request Form. Completed forms should be submitted via email to licenceadminatarpansa.gov.au.

Under section 59 of the Regulations, licence holders must comply with the Code of Practice for the Safe Transport of Radioactive Material (RPS C-2) and the Code of Practice for the Security of Radioactive Sources (RPS 11). Licence holders must also ensure that disposal of controlled material is in accordance with the Code for Disposal of Radioactive Waste by the User (RPS C-6).  

Once the transfer or disposal has occurred, it should be reported in the following quarterly report.  The status of the source in the Source Inventory Workbook (SIW) should be changed to ‘Transferred’ or ‘Disposed’ and the date recorded. The Licence Administration Database will be updated when the updated SIW is received.   

A. Disposal of a source

Controlled apparatus 

Controlled apparatus means any of the following:

a) an apparatus that produces ionising radiation when energised or that would, if assembled or repaired, be capable of producing ionising radiation when energised

b) an apparatus that produces ionising radiation because it contains radioactive material

c) an apparatus prescribed by the regulations that produces harmful non-ionizing radiation when energised

To satisfy ARPANSA of the ‘destruction’ of a controlled apparatus it must be rendered inoperable in such a way that only expert knowledge and the use of specialised components could potentially restore its function. 

In most cases, removal of a critical component(s) and severing of power cables will render the apparatus inoperable. For example: 

  • In the case of x-ray apparatus, eliminating the vacuum inside the x-ray tube by breaking the glass envelope and severing the high-tension cables will effectively destroy the apparatus.  
  • In the case of lasers removing the power supply, critical optical components or the amplifying medium will render the apparatus inoperable. 

In all cases, the licence holder must take into account the presence of other hazardous materials, for example: beryllium, mercury, cadmium, etc. The licence holder should seek guidance from their local environmental agency on disposal requirements for such material or investigate possible recycling options.  

Once destroyed, the apparatus ceases to meet the definition of a controlled apparatus and is therefore no longer subject to regulatory control. Individual dismantled parts are not deemed to be controlled apparatus.
If apparatus is to be disposed of because it has ceased to function, a critical component should still be removed so that repair is not possible.

In the case of apparatus containing radioactive material, removal of the material will result in the apparatus no longer being ‘controlled apparatus’. However, depending on the activity of the material that is removed, this material may still be subject to regulatory control, in which case it would become controlled material and must be authorised by a licence. 

Where disposal to landfill is proposed, the licence holder should ensure that the removed critical components are discarded separately to the rest of the apparatus unless they are to be retained as spare parts. This is to prevent any chance of them being recombined, repaired and operated. Recycling should be considered where possible.

Controlled material

Controlled material means any natural or artificial material, whether in solid or liquid form, or in the form of a gas or vapour, which emits ionising radiation spontaneously. 

Disposal in this case means that there is no intention of retrieving the controlled material after disposal (e.g. it is being sent to a waste facility or other site for incineration or burial).  

The method of disposal and disposal path should be described. How receipt of the controlled material at the final destination will be confirmed and recorded should be stated. If applicable, details should be provided of how the Code of Practice for the Safe Transport of Radioactive Material (RPS C-2) and the Code for Disposal of Radioactive Waste by the User (RPS C-6) will be met. For sealed sources of category 1, 2 and 3, details should be provided of how the Code of Practice for the Security of Radioactive Sources (RPS 11) will be met.

If a contractor is used for the disposal the details of the contractor must be specified. In the case that the contractor is licensed under another jurisdiction, the licence number and name of jurisdiction in which the licence is held must be given. 

B. Transfer of a source out of Commonwealth jurisdiction

Prior approval from the CEO of ARPANSA is required for the source to leave Commonwealth jurisdiction.

Sources are often sold, leased, hired, or given away to an organisation in another jurisdiction; such action is regarded as a ‘transfer’. This includes replacement of a source by a service agent, or the return of controlled material to the original manufacturer or supplier, outside of Commonwealth jurisdiction.   

Full details of the source and the organisation receiving the source must be provided before ARPANSA will consider approval. 

NOTE: If a source is temporarily sent to a service agent for repair or maintenance, the service agent can be considered to be a Commonwealth contractor and will therefore be covered by the licence holder’s source licence. In this case, control of the source remains with the licence holder and no approval is required. 

C. Transfer of a source within the Commonwealth 

Sources may be transferred between ARPANSA licence holders without prior approval provided that the type of source is authorised by the recipient’s licence.  

The licence holder transferring the source must tell the CEO of ARPANSA within 7 days of the transfer:

(a) that the transfer has happened

(b) the name of the transferee

(c) the number of the licence held by the transferee

(d) the location of the controlled apparatus or controlled materials after the transfer.

NOTE: Under the Code of Practice for the Security of Radioactive Sources (RPS 11), the transfer of a security enhanced source must have prior approval from the CEO of ARPANSA even if the transfer is within the Commonwealth. Applicants seeking approval to transfer a Category 1, 2 or 3 source should use the request form on the ARPANSA website.


1 Disposal of controlled apparatus for the purpose of section 65 of the Regulations includes destruction

2 Transfer of a security enhanced source even within the Commonwealth requires prior approval from the CEO of ARPANSA