Ionactive Radiation Protection Blog

Our radiation protection blog is predominately written by Mark Ramsay, Radiation Protection Adviser (RPA) for Ionactive Consulting. It contains a mixture of content including day to day descriptions of RPA work, advice and comment on current radiation protection issues, comment on regulator (HSE etc) inspections (suitably sanitised),  historic content (i.e. the Co-60 drop and run story, Alexander Litvinenko Po-210, Fukushima nuclear accident, industrial radiography accidents), radiation safety legislation updates and practical radiation protection in the workplace.  

For formal radiation safety advice. please see our Radiation Protection Adviser (RPA) service pages. 

  • IRR17 - Formal investigation levels (where you don't measure personal exposure with dosimetry)

    Published: Apr 16, 2024

      Tags:
    • IRR17
    • Ionising Radiations Regulations 2017
    • Formal investigation level
    • Dose investigation level
    • Radiation Risk Assessment
    • Dosimetry
    • HSE
    • Health and Safety Executive (HSE)
    • Ionising radiation regulator
    • Instantaneous dose rate (IDR)
    • Accumulated dose
    • X-ray unit
    • X-ray food industry
    • Tritium

    Knowing (and admitting) you are wrong about something is professional - but it is still often difficult to do. This latest blog article is partly about such a case where we wrote in some local rules that a dose investigation level was not formally required. This was wrong and a regulator picked up on this, stating it was a requirement of IRR17. We were not correct with our wording - a formal investigation level in terms of a dose which had been 'pre-assessed' in the risk assessment, and was further verified by regular dose rate monitoring (to show the pre-assessment was still valid), was not considered a formal dose investigation level.  Anyway, a formal dose investigation level was placed in the local rules and we are all happy.

    Well not quite. In IRR17 - 9(8) 'investigations', the limit specifically relates to 'effective dose of ionising radiation ' (whole body dose). In our featured example, assessed whole body dose for routine work and reasonably foreseeable accidents was no greater than background. No dosimetry was being worn (or needed). In our view the practical method of how you demonstrate if a formal investigation level is exceeded (via dose rate monitoring and pre-risk assessment) was more important (and useful) than simply stating the formal investigation level based on an effective dose. Why were there local rules anyway (?) - because our regulator has stated that all cabinet x-ray systems contain controlled areas, regardless of the output of a risk assessment (which might suggest otherwise).

    So, read on!

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  • Inverse square law - Radiation protection widget

    Published: Mar 16, 2024

      Tags:
    • Inverse square law
    • Ionactive
    • Radiation protection widget
    • 1/r2
    • Dose
    • Dose Rate
    • Point source
    • Ionising Radiation
    • Intensity
    • Simulation
    • Demonstration
    • Interactive

    A short set of articles introducing new Ionactive radiation protection training resource as widgets. The widgets are small interactive teaching aides that will feature on our public website and also extensively in our on line radiation protection training service. First up is the inverse square law.

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  • Radiation accident or radiation incident? When are IRR17 contingency plans appropriate?

    Published: Feb 04, 2024

      Tags:
    • Radiation accident
    • Radiation incident
    • Ionising Radiations Regulations 2017
    • IRR17
    • Contingency plan
    • Contingency Planning
    • Contingency arrangements
    • RIDDOR 2013
    • Reasonably foreseeable
    • Realistically possible
    • Significant exposure
    • Exposure of concern
    • X-ray generator failure to terminate
    • Industrial Irradiation
    • Gamma cell irradiator
    • X-ray unit bag jam
    • X-ray unit trapped item
    • Small radioactive spill
    • Significant radioactive spill
    • X-ray screening unit shielding curtain failure

    A few blog posts back we discussed radiation accidents in industrial radiography. We provided examples where immediate action was required to prevent or reduce exposures to ionising radiation. Where a radiation accident is reasonably foreseeable, IRR17 requires contingency plans to be available and rehearsed. There seems to be an expectation by many employers (and regulators) that local rules will always have contingency plans (or a reference to them). The potential for a radiation accident is determined by your radiation risk assessment. Are radiation users providing contingency plans regardless of the risk, and the definition of a radiation accident? Let's discuss.

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  • Drop and Run - Radioactive Cobalt-60 (Co-60) Source

    Published: Jan 23, 2024

      Tags:
    • Drop and run
    • Co-60
    • Cobalt-60
    • Radioactive
    • Radiation Protection
    • Radiation safety
    • Deterministic effects
    • Acute Radiation Syndrome (ARS)
    • Radiation injury
    • Inverse square law
    • HASS source
    • High Activity Sealed Source

    Drop and run (from a radioactive Co-60 source) has featured in a number of blogs and articles over the years, and more recently in some online videos from content creators. From a shock perspective many of these paint a pretty grim picture (and this is not without merit). However, third or 4th hand information tends to muddy the waters and inaccuracy creeps in. This article provides some radiation safety data and comment on the principles of drop and run, and in particular some analysis of the infamous Co-60 source picture which has found itself onto t-shirts and cushions!

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  • RPA bodies recognised by HSE (IRR17). Is Ionactive an RPA body? No! Do we need to be? No!

    Published: Jan 12, 2024

      Tags:
    • RPA
    • Radiation Protection Adviser
    • RPA Body
    • HSE
    • IRR17
    • Ionising Radiations Regulations 2017
    • RPA2000

    The UK Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has a system to recognise RPA Bodies (Radiation Protection Adviser Bodies). Those recognised will appear on a 'List of RPA bodies recognised by HSE under IRR17'. Ionactive Consulting Limited is not a RPA body and is not on this list. Does this matter? What does being on the list mean? If you are looking for a RPA should you only choose from this list? This brief article explores RPA Bodies in the UK.

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  • For action: Notification: registration - request for further information (re-register your work with radiation generators)

    Published: Dec 15, 2023

      Tags:
    • HSE
    • Registration
    • Re-registration
    • radiation generators
    • RADAN
    • x-ray systems
    • Ionising Radiations Regulations 2017
    • IRR17

    A quick review with comment on the new process for re-registering work with radiation generators which has been live since October 3rd, 2023. Generally the process seems to have started satisfactorily, but there have been some quirks which we will outline.

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In radiation protection I spend most of my time explaining to clients what they do not need to worry about.

– Mark Ramsay -