IRR17 (31) - Notification of certain occurrences

Where the quantity of radioactive material controlled by an employer exceeds the value given in Schedule 7 (column 5, part 1) of IRR17, they must notify the HSE if there has been a release (i.e. not being allowed under environmental legislation), or spillage in excess of the quantity listed in that Schedule.

Typical values for notification (taken from Schedule 7) are are follows.

Notification of a spill

  • H-3 [1 TBq (Tritiated)]
  • P-32 [10 GBq]
  • Ni-63 [100 GBq]
  • Ra-226 [10 MB]
  • Tc-99m [10 TBq]
  • U-238 [10 MBq]

Notification of loss or theft

This regulation also deals with circumstances where a radioactive material is believed or known to be lost or stolen. If loss or theft has arisen (after carrying out an immediate investigation) the radiation employer needs to forthwith notify the HSE and police.

Similar notifications will also be required by the previously mentioned environmental legislation.

  • H-3 [10 GBq (Tritiated)]
  • P-32 [1 MBq]
  • Ni-63 [1 GBq]
  • Ra-226 [0.1 MBq]
  • Tc-99m [100 MBq]
  • U-238 [0.1 MBq]

Other details

Investigation reports need to be kept for at least 30 years.

This regulation links with certain requirements contained in the Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations 2013. This link applies to radioactive substances and any other radiation generators, specifically requiring notification to the HSE where:

  • the malfunction of a ‘radiation generator’ used for fixed / mobile industrial radiography, irradiation of food or processing of products by irradiation, causes it to fail to de-energise at the end of the intended exposure period, or
  • the malfunction of equipment used in fixed / mobile radiography causes a radioactive source to fail to return to its safe shielded position at the end of the intended exposure period.

Atoms are very special: they like certain particular partners, certain particular directions, and so on. It is the job of physics to analyze why each one wants what it wants.

– Richard P. Feynman -