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5G is the new 5th generation of mobile telecommunications. It provides improved connectivity over a wide range of frequencies to mobile phones and other devices on the wireless network. In Australia, 5G will initially use the same radio waves as 4G. In the future 5G will use radio waves called ‘millimetre waves’ which have a shorter range than the microwaves used in 4G. 5G infrastructure and devices like mobile phones emit radiofrequency (RF) electromagnetic energy (EME). ARPANSA regulates the safety standards for exposure to RF EME.

absorbed dose

The quantity of energy imparted by ionising radiation to matter such as living tissue. The unit used for absorbed dose is joule per kilo; its special name is gray (Gy).

Australian Clinical Dosimetry Service (ACDS)

The ACDS is a national independent dosimetry auditing program, provided by ARPANSA, offering quality assurance for radiation oncology facilities and patients.

Australian Radiation Incident Register (ARIR)

The ACDS is a national independent dosimetry auditing program provided by ARPANSA, offering quality assurance for radiation oncology facilities and patients.

Australian National Radiation Dose Register (ANRDR)

A centralised repository for the radiation dose records of workers as supplied by the employers, maintained by ARPANSA. It is currently limited to those engaged in the uranium mining and milling industry in Australia.


Calibration is the process of configuring an instrument to provide a result for a sample within an acceptable range.


A generic term which may mean absorbed dose, equivalent dose or effective dose depending on context.


Equipment used to measure dose. For example, an ionisation chamber and electrometer may be used together as a dosemeter for ionising radiation.


The theory and application of the principles and techniques involved in the measurement, calculation and recording of radiation doses.

electromagnetic energy

Energy that can travel through space in the form of electromagnetic waves. There are many forms of electromagnetic energy including gamma rays, X-rays, ultraviolet radiation, visible light, infrared radiation, microwaves and radiofrequency radiation.


An event which causes, or has the potential to cause, abnormal exposure of employees or of members of the public and which requires investigation of its causes and consequences and may require corrective action within the program for control of radiation, but which is not of such scale as to be classified as an accident.

Integrated Regulatory Review Service (IRRS)

A peer-review service offered by the IAEA to strengthen and enhance the effectiveness of a national regulatory system in nuclear, radiation, radioactive waste, transport safety and nuclear security.

International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)

The IAEA is the international centre for cooperation in the nuclear field. The Agency works with its Member States and multiple partners worldwide to promote the safe, secure and peaceful use of nuclear technologies.

ionising radiation

Radiation which is capable of causing ionisation - the process in which an electron is given enough energy to break away from an atom. Ionising radiation has enough energy to cause chemical changes by breaking chemical bonds. This effect can cause damage to living tissue. Examples of ionising radiation include X-rays, electrons (beta radiation) and particles (e.g. alpha radiation).


A written authorisation issued to an operator which allows the operator to carry out an operation legally.

linear accelerator

Linear accelerators (linacs) are the medical devices used to deliver radiation therapy in highly targeted doses by generating directed radiation beams. These machines are used in hospitals across Australia to treat cancers.


Molybdenum-99 is the precursor of technetium‑99m which is used for diagnostic imaging in medicine.

National Radioactive Waste Management Facility (NRMWF)

The proposed NRWMF will manage waste generated in Australia. It will be designed to permanently dispose of low-level waste and potentially store intermediate-level waste on a temporary basis. The facility will only manage immobilised solid waste. Find out more at arpansa.gov.au/NRWMF-radioactive-waste.

non-ionising radiation

Ranges from static and extremely low frequency electric and magnetic fields, through the radiofrequency range, and visible portions of the spectrum into parts of the ultraviolet range.

Personal Radiation Monitoring Service

The Personal Radiation Monitoring Service (PRMS) monitors potential ionising radiation exposure to workers in fields such as medical, dental, chiropractic, industrial and mining. PRMS provides and access monitors that measure Australian worker’s occupational exposure to radiation to ensure that the recommended dose limit is not exceeded.


A radiologically equivalent synthetic human substitute for radiotherapy testing and quality control.

Primary Standard

Primary standards are instruments or artefacts that allow for the determination of a quantity with the highest possible accuracy. ARPANSA maintains four primary standards for the dosimetry of ionisation radiation for Australia.

Primary Standards Dosimetry Laboratory (PSDL)

The Primary Standards Dosimetry Laboratory provides calibration and irradiations services for radiotherapy dosemeters which are used by radiotherapy providers to calibrate radiation devices for patient treatment.


Electromagnetic waves or quanta, and atomic or sub-atomic particles, propagated through space or through a material medium.

Radioactive waste

In Australia, radioactive waste is left after the production of nuclear medicine, research at universities, mining and milling, advanced industrial manufacturing and testing. Other low and intermediate waste types include soil, fire, alarms, exit signs, paper, plastic, glassware and pieces of equipment from radioisotope-producing operations. This waste emits radiation as it decays.


Part of the electromagnetic spectrum with frequencies in the range 3 kHz to 300 GHz.

Radiofrequency radiation

Electromagnetic energy in the radiofrequency range.

Solar ultraviolet radiation (UVR)

Solar UVR is invisible energy produced by the sun. It’s made up of three wavelengths, UVA, UVB and UVC. Both UVA and UVB can reach the earth’s surface and are classified as human carcinogens. This means they cause cancer.

Stereotactic ablative radiation therapy

A radiation treatment method that delivers highly-focused doses of radiation to very small areas of the body making it well suited to targeting small tumours such as those in lung, spine, liver and lymph nodes.