Environmental guidance for your business in Northern Ireland & Scotland

Managing Radioactive Substances

Managing Radioactive Substances

Radioactive substances are used in some industries, including the medical industry and some manufacturing activities. There are legal controls on keeping and using radioactive materials and accumulating and disposing of radioactive waste. These aim to protect people and the environment from the harmful effects of radiation.

The regulation of radioactive substances and waste has changed in Scotland and a new structure for permitting has been introduced. 

SEPA: Radioactive substances

SEPA: Authorisation guide for radioactive substances


In Northern Ireland:

If your business keeps or uses radioactive material, or accumulates or disposes of radioactive waste you must work out if the materials you use:

  • are out of scope
  • are exempt (conditions apply)
  • require a certificate of registration or a certificate of authorisation.

Many common uses for radioactive substances will be out of scope of the regulations, or will be covered by an exemption.

This guide is intended for users of radioactive substances on non-nuclear sites. It is not intended for radioactive waste disposal sites, underground storage or disposal facilities, or nuclear licensed sites (such as nuclear power stations).

It outlines what radioactive substances are, how to decide if you are out of scope, exempt, or if you need to apply for a certificate of registration or authorisation.  It also outlines the conditions required for an exemption, and what you must do to comply with your certificate of registration or authorisation should you need one.

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NIEA - Apply online

SEPA - Application forms