Environmental guidance for your business in Northern Ireland & Scotland

Radioactive substances authorisations

Radioactive substances and radioactive waste disposal

If you keep or use radioactive materials and the amount of radioactivity on site, or the concentration of radioactivity in the materials you use are above the threshold values listed in the regulations, then you must have:

  • a certificate of registration from the Northern Ireland Environment Agency (NIEA)
  • an authorisation from the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA.

You must register:

  • open or unsealed sources on your premises
  • closed or sealed sources on your premises
  • mobile apparatus incorporating a sealed radioactive source
  • mobile apparatus (open sources) for use in environmental studies
  • radioactive packages stored in transit.

You must have a certificate of authorisation from the NIEA or an authorisation from SEPA if you are accumulating (storing) radioactive waste on your premises or disposing of radioactive waste from your premises, unless an exemption order applies (Northern Ireland) or unless they are covered by General Binding Rules (GBRs) in Scotland. Disposal of radioactive waste includes disposal of radioactive gases, vapours, liquids and solids to the air, land, sea, surface waters (such as rivers and lakes) and sewers. You are also disposing of radioactive waste if you transfer it to other premises.

You must not keep or use radioactive materials, or dispose of or accumulate radioactive waste, before you receive your certificate of registration or authorisation from the NIEA or receive your authorisation from SEPA. You must comply with the conditions it contains.

If you are unsure whether you need a certificate of registration or authorisation for radioactive substance activities, you should contact your environmental regulator

Contact your environmental regulator

Northern Ireland: Exemptions from certificates of registration or authorisation

You won't need a certificate of registration or authorisation if an exemption order applies to your activities.

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:

GOV.UK: Guidance on the scope and exemptions from radioactive substances regulations in the UK

Scotland: Activities covered by General Binding Rules (GBRs)

In Scotland you may not need to contact SEPA for authorisation if the activities you carry out are covered by GBRs. As long as you comply with the conditions of the GBR you will be authorised.

SEPA: Authorisations guide for radioactive substances activities

Scotland: Online Notifications

You need to notify SEPA if you:

See our guideline:

NetRegs: Radioactive substances and wastes

Further information

NIEA: Radiation

SEPA: Radioactive substances

In this Guideline

Types of environmental licence

Pollution prevention and control permits and waste management licences

Authorisations and consents for discharges

Trade effluent consents and agreements

Water abstraction and impoundment authorisations

Waste carrier, broker and dealer registration

Hazardous/special waste notifications

Radioactive substances authorisations

Environmental News Blog

NetRegs on NetRegs on youTube

View our latest videos & subscribe to our channel.

NetRegs Update Newsletter

Free monthly email newsletter with environmental updates for Northern Ireland and Scotland

Sign up for free today!


NIEA - Apply online

SEPA - Application forms