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Radiation Protection Adviser (RPA) and Radioactive Waste Adviser (RWA) Services

Mark Ramsay - Radiation Protection Adviser - Ionactive

Radiation Protection Adviser (RPA) services are available to all sectors of UK industry, commerce, research and teaching – they are suitable for all sources of ionising radiation in the workplace. Formal advice from an RPA, and their appointment in writing, is usually a requirement of the Ionising Radiations Regulations 2017 (IRR17).

Radioactive Waste Adviser (RWA) services are also available for compliance with the Radioactive Substances Act 1993 (RSA93) in Scotland and the Environmental Permitting (England & Wales) Regulations 2016 for the rest of the UK. We provide a Qualified Expert (QE) service in radiation safety for our international clients, contact us directly to discuss specific requirements.

Do I need a Radiation Protection Adviser (RPA)?

Ionactive RPA Service Example - Medicine

The following matters require mandatory RPA consultation (Schedule 4 of IRR17) . This applies to open and closed radioactive sources as well as x-ray generators. Please visit our contact page if you would like assistance.
  • Requirements for Controlled and Supervised designated areas
  • Prior examination of plans for installation (and acceptance into service) of new or modified sources of ionising radiation. This relates to engineering controls, design features, safety features - in fact any feature which is designed to restrict exposure
  • Calibration of equipment provided for the routine and non-routine monitoring of sources of ionising radiation. This also includes provision of advice on the regular checking and service of such equipment
  • The periodic examination and testing of engineering controls, design features, warning features and similar which are provided to restrict exposure to ionising radiation. This advice extends to the written systems of work and procedures as well as the physical control measures
In addition, it is often expected that matters below will also require RPA consultation. 
  • Risk assessments
  • The decision making process for designating areas as Controlled or Supervised
  • The investigation of incidents and accidents involving ionising radiation
  • Contingency Arrangements (including development and practice)
  • Source specific advice (e.g. Portable XRF applications, medical uses of radiation etc)

Available advice extends further still, encompassing all matters contained in IRR17 (and other legislation and international directives and standards). Examples include:

  • Content and approval of local rules and systems of work designed to restrict exposure
  • Radiation protection policy and management procedures
  • The justification, selection, purchase, use and maintenance of personal protective equipment
  • Onsite inspections of work areas
  • Radiation Protection Training
  • Transportation of radioactive materials

Do I need a Radioactive Waste Adviser (RWA)?

Radioactive Waste Drums  - Ionactive

The appointment of a Radioactive Waste Adviser (RWA) is now a specific requirement of the Radioactive Substances Act 1993 (RSA93) in Scotland, and the Environmental Permitting (England and Wales) Regulations 2016 (EPR2016). The appointment is required where the user is, or has the potential to, accumulate or dispose of radioactive waste.

Whilst the RPA and RWA roles can be held by different consultants, at Ionactive we wear both hats – therefore there is no additional charge or administrative burden where the user requires to appoint both positions.

The following areas fall under mandatory consultation of the RWA:

  • Achieving and maintaining an optimal level of protection of the environment and the population
  • Checking the effectiveness of technical devices for protecting the environment and the population
  • Acceptance into service, from the point of view of surveillance of radiation protection, of equipment and procedures for measuring and assessing, as appropriate, exposure and radioactive contamination of the environment and the population
  • Regular calibration of measuring instruments and regular checking that they are serviceable and correctly used
  • All the above are contained in the joint Environment Agencies Guidance: RWA-G-1 Version 1.0


The Radioactive Waste Adviser (RWA) will assist in the follow areas of radioactive material and waste environmental compliance: 

  • Authorisations (as required by RSA93 in Scotland)
  • Permits (as required by EPR2016 in England, Wales and Northern Ireland
  • Environmental discharge and radiological assessments (using latest standards and models)
  • Best Available Techniques (BAT), Best Practicable Environmental Options (BPEO) and Management assessments and procedures
  • Radioactive source security including High Activity Sealed Sources


Key Legislation

The Ionising Radiations Regulations 2017 (IRR17)
Users of open and closed radioactive sources, x-ray sets or other radiation generator are required to adhere to specific conditions made in these Regulations. These include risk assessment, restriction of exposure (ALARP), appointment of a Radiation Protection Adviser (RPA) and a Radiation Protection Supervisor (RPS).

Environmental Permitting (England & Wales) Regulations 2016
These regulations replace RSA93 in the UK (except Scotland). They are designed to bring radioactive substances and waste regulation within the general permitting regime adopted for other types of hazardous substances and wastes.Most users of radioactive substances require a permit. Permits are based on types of use and security classification and may be combined (e.g. open sources and waste).

Radioactive Substances Act 1993 (RSA 93) - Scotland
This Act requires users to be registered in order to keep and use of radioactive material, and authorised to accumulate and dispose of radioactive waste. Registrations and authorisations set down conditions including provision of adequate management arrangements, use of Best Practicable Means and limits on radioactive material acquisition and waste disposal. This Act is only valid in Scotland (UK).

Carriage of Dangerous Goods & Use of Transportable Pressure Equipment Regs 2009
These regulations regulate the safe transport of all types of hazardous materials including radioactive substances and waste. However, except for certain derogations, most of the substance of regulation is referenced to ADR (Accord européen relatif au transport international des marchandises dangereuses par route).

Radiation (Emergency Preparedness and Public Information) Regulations 2001
REPPIR applies to premises and certain transportation operations. Where radioactive material, above specified quantities, is handled or stored then REPPIR will apply (unless disapplication is allowed, e.g. use of non-dispersible sources on a premises). REPPIR includes hazard identification and risk evaluation, emergency plans, consultation and prior information to the public.

The Ionising Radiation (Medical Exposure) Regulations 2017
IRMER is designed to protect individuals undergoing medical exposures and to ensure that persons involved in medical uses of ionising radiation are adequately and appropriately trained. The regulations require a number of specific post holders including the operator, the referrer, the practitioner and medical physics expert. They also require specific written procedures including patient identification, diagnostic reference levels and quality assurance.