Key messages

  • There are mandatory legal requirements for the security of high consequence sealed sources and high consequence groups of sealed sources to ensure that they cannot be misused.
  • The legal requirements intend to limit opportunities for, and enhance detection of, the illegal/unauthorised use of high consequence sealed sources.

Overview

Potentially hazardous (high-consequence) radioactive sources must be secured, to ensure that they cannot be misused. Legislation aims to limit opportunities for, and enhance detection of, the illegal or unauthorised use of high consequence radioactive sources.

Radioactive material is used in many areas of medicine, industry, research and education. In the past, the focus of legislation controlling the use of radioactive material has been confined to protection of workers, the public and the environment. However, governments across the world have identified the need to secure potentially hazardous radioactive sources to ensure that these sources cannot be misused by those with malicious intent.

The Radiation Act 2005 established a number of requirements in relation to the security of high consequence sealed sources or a high consequence group of sealed sources. These include:

  • a requirement to hold a facility construction licence
  • mandatory security plans for premises where these sources are housed
  • mandatory transport security plans
  • a requirement to have these plans approved by a department approved assessor
  • physical protection of the sources.

Facility construction licences

A facility construction licence is needed by the owner or occupier of land prior to:

  • Constructing a radiation facility on land that they own or occupy that allows them to construct the facility
  • Permitting or allowing another person to construct the radiation facility on land that they own or occupy unless the other person holds a facility construction licence in relation to the radiation facility to be constructed.
  • Changing the use of land that they own or occupy to use for a radiation facility unless they hold a facility construction licence that allows them to use that land for a radiation facility.
  • Changing the use of a building that they own or occupy to use as a radiation facility unless they hold a facility construction licence that allows them to use that building for a radiation facility.

Failure to hold the required facility construction licence is an offence under Section 14 of the Radiation Act 2005.

Visit the facility construction licence section for further information.

Management licences

Applications for management licences or variations to existing management licences that relate to radiation practices:

A. involving the possession of a high consequence sealed source or a high consequence group of sealed sources must include the following:

B. Involving the transport of a high consequence sealed source or a high consequence group of sealed sources must include the following:

What are the responsibilities of the management licence holder – security plans

A management licence holder who is authorised to possess high consequence sealed sources must have an approved security plan for every high consequence sealed source or every high consequence group of sealed sources the holder is licensed to possess.

A security plan must:

The management licence holder must also;

  • within 30 days after receiving a security compliance certificate for a security plan, provide a copy of the approved security plan to the department.
  • review the security plan after a significant change in the operation of, or to the environment in which, the radiation practice involving the high consequence sealed source or high consequence group of sealed sources is being conducted and provide a copy of the revised security plan to the department.
  • review the security plan after the licence holder has been notified of an amendment to the security standards and provide a copy of the revised security plan to the department

What are the responsibilities of the management licence holder – transport plans

A management licence holder who is authorised to transport high consequence sealed sources must not transport a high consequence sealed source or high consequence group of sealed sources unless there is an approved transport security plan for that sealed source or group of sealed sources.

A transport security plan must:

The management licence holder must also;

  • in the case of a proposal to transport a category 1 sealed source or a category 1 group of sealed sources, provide a copy of the approved transport security plan and security compliance certificate to the department at least 7 days before the transport is proposed to take place; or
  • in the case of a proposal to transport a category 2 sealed source, a category 3 sealed source, category 2 group of sealed sources or category 3 group of sealed sources, provide a copy of the approved transport security plan and security compliance certificate to the department at least 7 days before the transport (or first transport in the case of a series of shipments) is proposed to take place.
  • review the transport security plan after a significant change to the manner in which a high consequence sealed source or high consequence group of sealed sources is to be transported and provide a copy of the revised transport security plan to the department.
  • review the transport security plan after the licence holder has been notified of an amendment to the security standards and provide a copy of the revised transport security plan to the department.

Approved assessors

A number of individuals have been approved by the department as 'approved assessors' who can assess and approve security plans and transport security plans and issue certificates of compliance under section 67K of the Act.

An approved assessor must hold an 'Assessors Approval' issued under the Radiation Act 2005.

Additional information

The department has published explanatory information describing:

  • how to determine whether a particular sealed source is a high consequence sealed source
  • how to determine the activity ratio for a particular sealed source
  • how to determine whether you have or may have a high consequence group of sealed sources.