Exceeding limits in radioactive substances permits
If you have difficulty complying with your radioactive substances permit limits due to problems caused by EU exit or Covid 19, please refer to this regulatory decision.
This decision applies as a temporary emergency contingency measure only. It is subject to review.
Normally you need to comply with all of the conditions in your permit under regulation 13 and Schedule 23 of the Environmental Permitting (England and Wales) Regulations 2016 (EPR). This includes numerical limits that apply to radioactive material and waste.
When you use the exemption in Schedule 23, Part 6 paragraph 4(7) of the EPR (the exemption) you normally need to comply with the maximum accumulation period of 26 weeks. The exemption allows you to accumulate these waste sources:
- electrodeposited sources
- tritium foil sources
- sealed sources which are not high-activity sealed sources (HASS) or similar sources
If you follow the conditions in this regulatory decision (RD), you may temporarily exceed these numerical limits that restrict:
- radioactive material (including sealed sources) that you keep and use
- radioactive waste that you accumulate on your premises
- radioactive waste that you dispose of by transfer from your premises
If you use radioactive materials for medical diagnosis and treatment in humans, you may also be able to make disposals to the sewer above the limits in your permit. Based on an impact assessment, we will agree in writing the additional disposals that you can make.
How to notify us
You must provide written confirmation to us before you use this RD.
- For unsealed ‘open’ sources. Please email: email@example.com and copy in your Natural Resources Wales officer and their team email account below. You can also use the phone number below if necessary.
South East firstname.lastname@example.org
South Central email@example.com
South West industryregulation.swwales@firstname.lastname@example.org
North West/East email@example.com
- For sealed sources please call your usual Natural Resources Wales officer or use our 24-hour hotline 0300 065 3000 and ask to speak to your local industry regulation team. We will tell you how to submit the information securely.
Your written confirmation must explain how you will manage any additional radioactive waste (including waste sealed sources).
When you need to get written agreement from us
You will need our written agreement if you intend to:
- make disposals to the sewer above the limits in your permit
- hold additional sealed sources that would result in the security category changing
- hold HASS or similar sources at a location not specified in your permit
If you generate additional radioactive waste by providing urgent medical care for a patient treated with radioactive materials at another hospital, you may not be able to tell us in advance. You should, however, notify us as soon as possible.
When this RD applies
This RD only applies to:
- keeping and using radioactive material (including sealed sources) above the limits specified in your permit
- accumulating radioactive waste (including sealed sources) above the limits and for longer than specified in your permit or the exemption
- disposal by transfer above the limits in your permit – but you must only dispose of the waste using the routes specified in your permit
- keeping and using alternative radionuclides not specified in your permit, and accumulating and disposing of the resulting waste – but only if you use the radioactive material for medical diagnosis and treatment in humans
- disposals to the sewer above the limits in your permit – but only if the waste is from using radioactive materials for medical diagnosis and treatment in humans
This RD does not apply to any other activity, even if it is under the same legislation. You may still need other permits or licences for other activities you carry out.
This RD only applies if you cannot comply because of disruption or restrictions that relate to EU-Exit transition or Covid-19. This includes when you:
- think you will not be able to obtain radioactive material (including sealed sources), so you obtain additional stocks whilst they are available because your regular supplies are interrupted, or because deliveries are restricted
- cannot obtain radioactive material (including sealed sources) at the activity you routinely use but can purchase higher activity sources
- accept earlier delivery of short-lived radionuclides with greater radioactivity
- need to manage the wastes from the additional materials you have obtained
- cannot obtain supplies of the radionuclide you routinely use for medical diagnosis and treatment in humans but can obtain an alternative
- cannot transfer radioactive waste (including waste sealed sources) to facilities outside the UK that are legally entitled to receive such waste
- cannot transfer radioactive waste to a UK permit holder to transfer overseas
- have a backlog of tests and treatments you were unable to carry out
- provide medical care for a patient who has been treated with radioactive material at another hospital
You must demonstrate that you have taken all reasonable steps to comply with your permit conditions or the exemption. Reasonable steps include:
- contingency planning to avoid or minimise disruption to your business because of the EU-Exit transition or Covid-19
- response planning to minimise the impact and duration of not complying with your permit because of EU-Exit transition or Covid-19
Conditions you must comply with
- store any additional radioactive materials and wastes safely and securely to prevent loss, contamination or unauthorised access
- do a periodic check to confirm that any additional radioactive materials and waste, or any radioactive materials and waste you are storing for longer than normal, are present and remain in good condition
- explain in your written confirmation how you will manage any additional radioactive waste (including waste sealed sources)
- transfer radioactive waste for disposal using the routes specified in your permit
Mobile radioactive apparatus
If your permit allows you to use mobile radioactive apparatus at any location in England and Wales, you must only accumulate waste sources at the premises specified in your permit. This is where you normally keep sources when they are not in use.
Diagnosis and treatment in humans
If you use radioactive materials for diagnosis and treatment in humans and plan to exceed the limits in your permit for disposals to the sewer you must:
- send us a radiological impact assessment from a Radioactive Waste Adviser to show that these disposals will not cause a significant increase in dose to members of the public
- comply with the limits for additional disposals agreed in writing with Natural Resources Wales
Security for HASS or similar sources
For additional HASS or similar sources, including waste sources, you must:
- comply with the security requirements in your permit
- store the sources at the building or location with the appropriate security level as specified in Schedule 1 of your permit, unless you have Natural Resources Wales’ written agreement to store sources elsewhere on your premises
You must not hold additional sealed sources (including waste sources) that would change your security category, and increase the security level required, without the written agreement of Natural Resources Wales.
You must keep records that show why you needed to use this RD. You must keep these records for 2 years after this RD has expired, including any extensions to it. You must make them available to Natural Resources Wales on request.
You must also keep records to show how you complied with the conditions of this RD in accordance with the record keeping requirements in your permit.
You must comply with all the other requirements of your environmental permit or the exemption.
You must make sure your activities do not endanger human health or the environment.
An RD means that Natural Resources Wales will not normally take enforcement action against you provided:
- your activity meets the description set out in this RD
- you comply with the conditions set out in this RD
- your activity does not, and is not likely to, cause environmental pollution or harm human health
- you have taken all reasonable steps to comply with your permit or the exemption
If you operate under this RD but think you may no longer be able to comply with its conditions, you must tell Natural Resources Wales immediately.
When to check back
We will withdraw this RD on 31 March 2022, unless we extend it. After this date you must comply with all the conditions in your permit or the exemption.
Please see above ‘How to notify’ section for details on how to make a notification.
For other general enquiries:
Call us on 0300 065 3000 (Mon-Fri, 9am-5pm)