Radiation Council Annual Report 2014–15

Chair’s review

It is my pleasure to present the Annual Report of the Radiation Council (the Council) for 2014–15.

In early 2015, Council member Pamela Brown announced her resignation from the Council. I would like to take this opportunity to thank Ms Brown for her service to the Council, and wish her well in her future endeavours. I would also like to welcome Fiona Jolly who is joining the Council as the appointed member of the public.

The Council has had a productive year, continuing to issue licenses, register radiation sources and consider issues that may affect the ACT community with regards to radiation safety and protection.

From 31 December 2014, the operation of commercial solariums in the ACT was prohibited following an amendment to the Radiation Protection Regulation 2007. The ban was introduced in line with similar changes across a majority of Australian jurisdictions, with an aim of reducing the incidence of melanoma, particularly in young people. The ban has been successfully implemented, with all previously registered tanning units removed from commercial premises as of 1 January 2015. No tanning units are registered in the ACT, and no person holds a licence to possess or operate a commercial solarium.

I wish to express my appreciation to the members of the Council for their expert contribution and to the staff of the Health Protection Service for their ongoing support.

Council functions

The Radiation Protection Act 2006 (http://www.legislation.act.gov.au) controls the safe use, storage, transportation and disposal of radioactive material and irradiating apparatus. The Council is established under Part 5 of the Radiation Protection Act 2006, and has the following functions:

  • issuing licences

  • registering regulated radiation sources

  • advising the Minister on radiation protection issues

  • exercising any other function given to it under the Radiation Protection Act 2006 or another territory law.

Council membership

The composition of the Council is specified in section 65 of the Radiation Protection Act 2006. Seven members are currently appointed to the Council, as shown in Table 67.

Table 67: Council members

Name

Position held

Appointed until

Elizabeth Croft

Chair

30 November 2016

Sean Geoghegan

Deputy Chair

30 September 2015

Mervyn Despois

Member

30 November 2016

Donald McLean

Member

30 November 2016

Stephen Tims

Member

30 November 2016

Ahmad Javaid

Member

30 September 2015

Fiona Jolly

Incoming member

30 November 2016

Pamela Brown

Outgoing member

Retired from Council

Council meetings 2014–2015

The Council meets approximately every six weeks and met nine times during 2014–2015. Meetings were held in:

  • July, August, September, November and December of 2014

  • February, March, April and June of 2015.

Regulatory standards

The Council refers to a number of standards, codes of practice, safety guides, and recommendations when:

  • considering matters relating to radiation protection

  • issuing licences and approving registrations under the Radiation Protection Act 2006.

This includes documents in the Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Agency (ARPANSA) Radiation Protection Series, which are available free of charge from www.arpansa.gov.au.

National Directory for Radiation Protection

The National Directory for Radiation Protection (the Directory) provides the basis for achieving uniformity of radiation protection practices across Australian jurisdictions, and is an incorporated document under the Radiation Protection Act 2006. The Directory is designed to be regularly updated to reflect the best radiation protection practice of the time. The Directory is prepared by the ARPANSA Radiation Health Committee, and is only updated in accordance with prescribed processes.

The Council is regularly briefed on developments with regard to the work of the ARPANSA Radiation Health Committee. ACT Health has a jurisdictional representative appointed to the committee.

Council activities

Approvals and decisions

Licences

The Council issued 194 new licences during the 2014–15 year, while 169 licences were not renewed. Overall this represents a 2.2% increase (25 licences) bringing the total number of licence holders in the ACT to 1,142.

Registrations

The Council registered 58 new radiation sources during the 2014–15 year, while 41 sources were decommissioned or transferred interstate. Overall this represents a 2.8% increase (17 sources) bringing the total number of registered radiation sources in the ACT to 602.

Radiation incidents

Eight radiation incidents were reported to the Council during the year and underwent further investigation, as explained in Table 68.

Table 68: Radiation incidents

Incident type

No. incidents

Details

Radiotherapy

3

  • One* incident involved equipment malfunction (safety interlock).
  • One incident involved equipment malfunction (system calibration and correction).
  • One incident involved a higher than normal result on a personal monitoring device.

Diagnostic Radiology

4

  • One incident involved the potential to deliver a diagnostic procedure other than prescribed.
  • Two* incidents involved a higher than normal result on a personal monitoring device.
  • One incident involved medical equipment malfunction.

Nuclear Medicine

1

One * incident, which involved a diagnostic procedure other than prescribed.

 

Following investigation, four of these incidents (marked with an asterisk *) were reported to ARPANSA for inclusion on the Australian Radiation Incident Register. In line with the ACT Health Risk Management Guidelines, the four incidents reported to ARPANSA were considered to be of minor consequence.

The remaining four incidents were deemed insignificant. The areas involved undertook reviews of working systems and, where necessary, amended procedures to reduce the likelihood of similar incidents occurring in the future.

Enforcement and remedial actions by the Council

No investigations or legal proceedings were commenced in 2014–2015.

Contact details

All correspondence should be addressed to:

Secretariat
Radiation Council
C/- Health Protection Service
Locked Bag 5005
WESTON CREEK  ACT  2611

Phone: (02) 6205-1700
Email: hps@act.gov.au
Website: www.health.act.gov.au\radiationsafety

Elizabeth Croft
Chair
3 July 2015