Environmental guidance for your business in Northern Ireland & Scotland
If the radioactive materials you keep and use, along with the radioactive waste you accumulate and intend to dispose of are not out of scope then they are the subject of regulation.
It is recognised that the risk associated with a number of common activities, and the use of certain radioactive materials, poses a very low risk to the public if certain conditions are met. These activities are classed as exempt from the need for a certificate of registration or authorisation, meaning there is no need to inform the regulator, or apply for a certificate when working with these materials, so long as the conditions are complied with in full.
Failure to meet the conditions of an exemption could result in a fine or imprisonment.
If the materials you keep or use and the wastes you accumulate and intend to dispose of are not out of scope or exempt, then you will need a certificate of registration or authorisation from your environmental regulator.
It is your responsibility to satisfy yourself that the radioactive materials you use, and the radioactive wastes that you produce are exempt from the regulations. You must be able to demonstrate the reasons for your decision to your environmental regulator.
Certain conditions must be met if you intend to carry out activities using radioactive materials that are exempt from regulation.
You can find the information you need to decide if your radioactive substances or radioactive waste is exempt from the regulations in Section 3 of the Government guidance:
If your use of radioactive material or the radioactive waste you produce is not “out of scope” and is not covered by an exemption then you must apply for:
You must comply with the conditions in your certificate of registration or authorisation. Conditions control the impact your radioactive substance activities could have on the environment and human health.
Your environmental regulator will carry out site inspections, conduct audits and review information it receives about your site to make sure you are complying with your certificate of registration or authorisation.
You can be fined, or even sent to prison, if you do not comply with the terms of your certificate of registration or authorisation.
The conditions in your certificate of registration or authorisation will depend on what radioactive substances you keep and what activities you carry out at your site. Your certificate of registration or authorisation may contain conditions that relate to:
For example, if you store radioactive substances the conditions in your certificate of registration or authorisation might require you to:
If your business keeps or uses HASS, disposes of HASS or holds sealed sources with a similar level of potential hazard, your certificate of registration or authorisation will contain additional conditions to protect people and the environment. For example, you must comply with additional site security arrangements. There are also special reporting requirements and additional financial requirements for HASS.
You must display a copy of your certificate of registration or authorisation on your business premises, unless it relates to sealed radioactive sources or it is otherwise subject to national security restrictions.
The NIEA has a range of enforcement tools to ensure that businesses comply with radioactive substances legislation. They will take enforcement action that is appropriate for the severity of the non-compliance. Enforcement action includes verbal and written warnings, enforcement notices, prohibition notices and prosecution with the possibility of a fine or prison.
An enforcement notice may be issued if you breach the conditions of your certificate of registration or authorisation. A prohibition notice is issued if there is an imminent risk of serious pollution or harm to human health.
The Northern Ireland Environment Agency has published a short guide to the duty of care responsibilities including advice and information for waste producers, carriers and those accepting, storing and treating waste.
Any person intending to alter the use or management of areas of uncultivated or semi-natural land must obtain prior approval from the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA).
Read more on the DAERA website
The NetRegs team at SEPA, in partnership with The Northern Ireland Environment Agency, Natural Resources Wales and a number of industry bodies have produced 9 new GPPs to replace out of date PPGs. More are coming! Check the available topics
New guidance for Start-ups, charities and community projects
View our latest videos & subscribe to our channel.
Free monthly email newsletter with environmental updates for Northern Ireland and Scotland