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Radiation – preventing exposure from sealed sources (until 2018)

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Radiation – preventing exposure from sealed sources (until 2018)

SUMMARY OF:

Directive 2003/122/Euratom — safety standards to protect against radiation

SUMMARY

WHAT DOES THE DIRECTIVE DO?

It introduces tighter rules on dealing with ‘sealed radioactive sources’. It also harmonises the EU-wide approach.

‘Sealed radioactive sources’ are small amounts radioactive material that are:

permanently sealed in a capsule, or

bonded to a non-radioactive material

to prevent leaks/contamination.

They have many uses (e.g. medicine, research and industry).

The Directive applies to high-activity sealed radioactive sources (HASS).

KEY POINTS

Abandoned, lost or misplaced sources (or sources moved without authorisation) are called ‘orphan sources’.

Orphan sources can be a health risk. The Directive aims to reduce this risk.

It asks EU countries to:

clarify who is responsible for recovering orphan sources

set up systems to detect orphan sources (e.g. in metal scrapyards)

run campaigns to recover orphan sources

train workers to handle sources safely.

Rules for source holders

Holders must keep records of all sources they are responsible for. Records must include:

location

transfer details (of location and/or responsibility)

identification markings.

They must also:

check source condition regularly

run tests (e.g. leak tests) to international standards

prevent loss, theft and unauthorised use (and tell authorities if this happens)

provide radiation protection training for workers

inform authorities if people are exposed to radiation.

EU countries must:

designate a competent authority to implement the Directive

set up a prior authorisation scheme for equipment using high-activity sources

ensure holders have safety rules in place and can pay for re-use or disposal

create a transfer tracking system

ensure funding is available to recover orphan sources

cooperate with other EU Member States in the event of loss, removal or theft — or discovery of orphan sources.

WHEN DOES THIS DIRECTIVE APPLY?

From 31 December 2003.

It has been repealed by Directive 2013/59/Euratom, which has incorporated its main provisions. Directive 2013/59/Euratom will take effect on 6 February 2014.

ACT

Council Directive 2003/122/Euratom of 22 December 2003 on the control of high-activity sealed radioactive sources and orphan sources

REFERENCES

Act

Entry into force

Deadline for transposition in the Member States

Official Journal

Directive 2003/122/Euratom

31.12.2003

31.12.2005

OJ L 346, 31.12.2003 pp. 57–64

RELATED ACTS

Council Directive 2013/59/Euratom of 5 December 2013 laying down basic safety standards for protection against the dangers arising from exposure to ionising radiation, and repealing Directives 89/618/Euratom, 90/641/Euratom, 96/29/Euratom, 97/43/Euratom and 2003/122/Euratom (OJ L 13, 17.1.2014, pp. 1–73)

Report from the Commission to the European Parliament, the Council and the European Economic and Social Committee: Experience gained in the implementation of Directive 2003/122/Euratom on the control of high-activity sealed radioactive sources and orphan sources (COM(2015) 158 final of 16.4.2015)

last update 15.10.2015

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