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Appendix 2

Operations of the Radiation Health and Safety Advisory Council and Committees

Operations of the Radiation Health and Safety Advisory Council

During 2019–2020, the Radiation Health and Safety Advisory Council (the Council) met on two occasions. Summaries of the meetings can be found at arpansa.gov.au/rhsac-minutes.

The membership as at 30 June 2020 was:

Chair

  • Dr Roger Allison*, Radiation Oncologist (former Executive Director Cancer Care Services), Royal Brisbane and Women’s Hospital.

CEO of ARPANSA

  • Dr Carl-Magnus Larsson (Commonwealth).

Radiation Control Officers:

  • Mr Keith Baldry (South Australia), Director, Regulation and Compliance, South Australian Environment Protection Authority
  • Dr Stephen Newbery (Tasmania), Principal Health Physicist, Tasmanian Department of Health and Human Services.

Nominee of the Chief Minister of the Northern Territory

  • Dr Hugh Heggie, Chief Health Officer, Department of Health of the Northern Territory.

Person to represent the interests of the general public

  • Dr Peter Karamoskos*, consultant radiologist at Epworth Medical Imaging.

Other members:

  • Dr Jane Canestra*, Medical practitioner and emergency physician with expertise in the health aspects of radiological emergencies
  • Professor Adele Green*, Head, Cancer and Population Studies Group, Queensland Institute of Medical Research
  • Ms Melissa Holzberger, Director and Principal, Sloan Holzberger Lawyers
  • Professor Pamela Sykes*, Professor Preventive Cancer Biology, Flinders University
  • Dr Melanie Taylor*, Senior Lecturer Organisational Psychology, Macquarie University.
  • Dr Trevor Wheatley^, Chief Laser Safety Officer, University of New South Wales
  • Mr Jim Hondros^, Consultant, JRHC Enterprises, experience in mining and minerals processing, particularly with uranium and naturally occurring radioactive material.

* reappointed for a three-year term ending 31 March 2023
^ appointed for a three-year term ending 31 March 2023

  • The term of appointment for Mr Frank Harris (Chief Adviser, Radiation Governance and Product Stewardship, Rio Tinto Uranium) ended 31 March 2020

During 2019–2020, Council considered and discussed:

  •  the health impacts of ultraviolet (UV) radiation protection. The Council wrote to the CEO of ARPANSA recommending a national approach to skin cancer prevention and highlighting key actions through UV protection
  • ARPANSA’s regulatory response to safety incidents at ANSTO, including organisational culture for safety
  • public enquiries and concerns about 5G technology including the Australian Government funding announced in December 2019 for an Enhanced Electromagnetic Energy (EME) Program
  • issues associated with naturally occurring radioactive material, known as ‘NORM’, including the benefits of a graded approach to regulation and NORM guidance for industry in Australia
  • issues relating the site identification process for the National Radioactive Waste Management Facility.

Nominations were sought for several member positions during the year for terms that expired 31 March 2020 (including a member representing the interests of the general public, and other general member positions) as well as for the role of the Chair. The Minister made three-year appointments for all vacant positions.

A Council meeting scheduled for March 2020 was cancelled on short notice due to the impact of COVID-19 on ARPANSA’s operations and logistical arrangements for Council.

Operations of the Radiation Health Committee

During 2019–2020, the Radiation Health Committee (RHC) met on three occasions. The meeting minutes are available at arpansa.gov.au/rhc-minutes.

The RHC is appointed on a three-year term, which commenced on 1 January 2018. The membership as at 30 June 2020 was:

Chair

  • Dr Roslyn Drummond (Victoria), Radiation Oncologist, Radiation Oncology and Cancer Imaging, Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre.

CEO of ARPANSA

  • Dr Carl-Magnus Larsson (Commonwealth).

Radiation Control Officers (each state and territory):

  • Mr Bradley Feldtman (Northern Territory), Manager Radiation Protection, Department of Health
  • Dr Massey de los Reyes (South Australia), Senior Radiation Protection Officer, Science and Information, Mining and Radiation Branch, South Australian Environment Protection Authority
  • Ms Penny Hill (Australian Capital Territory), Senior Radiation Safety Officer, Health Protection Service, ACT Health
  • Mr Noel Cleaves (Victoria), Manager, Environmental Health Regulation & Compliance, Health Protection Branch, Department of Health and Human Services
  • Mr Simon Critchley (Queensland), Director, Radiation Health, Queensland Health
  • Ms Hazel Upton (Western Australia), Radiation Control Officer, Radiation Health Unit, Department of Health
  • Dr Stephen Newbery (Tasmania), Principal Health Physicist, Department of Health and Human Services
  • Mr Mark Carey (New South Wales), Principal Policy Officer, New South Wales Environment Protection Authority.

Nuclear Safety Committee representative

  • Dr Joanna Wriedt (Victoria), Member, Victorian Government’s Radiation Advisory Committee.

Person to represent the interests of the general public

  • Ms Fay Bellis (Victoria), Quality Management System Consultant.

Other members

  • Dr Bruce Hocking, consulting specialist in occupational medicine.

The nomination for new members on the RHC for the next 2021–2023 triennium has been advertised in the media and on ARPANSA’s website. Nominations close on 31 August 2020.

During 2019–2020, the committee considered and discussed:

National diagnostic reference levels

The RHC endorsed the publication of diagnostic reference level (DRL) for coronary angiography on ARPANSA’s website. A DRL is an indicative dose that is not expected to be exceeded
under normal imaging conditions for a given diagnostic task. A DRL is not a regulatory limit, but it is a benchmark that when exceeded triggers a review. Conducting a local dose audit and comparing the results to a DRL provides an imaging facility with a simple method of identifying situations where they are delivering an unusually high patient dose.

Safe handling of deceased persons treated with radioactive material

The RHC agreed to publish a Statement on Safe Handling of Deceased Persons Recently Treated with Radioactive Material on the ARPANSA website. This Statement intends to provide information to persons such as cemetery and crematorium workers, funeral parlour staff and directors, embalmers and coroners, who in the course of their work may be required to deal with deceased persons who had recently undergone procedures involving radioactive material.

Ethical review for multi-centre trials

The RHC noted that there had been some issues related to inconsistent application of the requirements of the Code of Practice for the Exposure of Humans to Ionizing Radiation for Research Purposes (RPS 8). The Committee was considering revising the Code but, in
the interim, had issued this Statement in relation to multi-centre trials. The statement
provides information on how the code should apply under the National Mutual Acceptance arrangements for multi-centre trials where a single central Human Research Ethics Committee (HREC) undertakes review.

Development of regulatory codes and standards

The second edition of the National Directory for Radiation Protection (NDRP) was endorsed by enHealth in October 2019 and Australian Health Ministers’ Advisory Council in February 2020. The document is awaiting approval by the Council of Australian Governments’ Health Council.

During the year ARPANSA published the following documents:

  • Code for Radiation Protection in Medical Exposure (RPS C-5)
  • Code for Radiation Protection in Planned Exposure Situations (RPS C-1) (Rev.1)

The RHC approved the revised Guide for Classification of Radioactive Waste (RPS G-4) (Revised RPS 20).

Radiation Protection Standard for Maximum Exposure Levels to Radiofrequency Fields – 3 kHz to 300 GHz (RPS 3) has been revised as Standard for Limiting Exposure to Radiofrequency Fields – 100 KHz to 300 GHz (RPS S-1) based on the 2020 guidelines of the International Commission for Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection (ICNIRP) for high frequency fields. The document will be put forward for stakeholder consultation.

A guide and regulatory expectations document has been developed for diagnostic and interventional radiology for the users on compliance with the Code for Radiation Protection in Medical Exposure (RPS C-5). The document will be sent to the RHC for endorsement.

At the end of the financial year the Committee was working on the following documents:

  • Code of Practice and Safety Guide for Portable Density/Moisture Gauges containing Radioactive Sources (RPS 5)
  • Code of Practice and Safety Guide for Radiation Protection and Radioactive Waste Management in Mining and Mineral Processing (RPS 9)
  • Code of Practice and Safety Guide for Radiation Protection in Dentistry (RPS 10)
  • Code of Practice and Safety Guide for Safe Use of Fixed Radiation Gauges (RPS 13)
  • Code of Practice for Protection Against Ionizing Radiation Emitted from X-ray Analysis Equipment (RHS 9)
  • Revised Statement on Cabinet X-ray Equipment for Examination of Letters, Packages, Baggage, Freight and Other Articles for Security, Quality Control and Other Purposes (RHS 21)
  • Statement on Enclosed X-ray Equipment for Special Applications (RHS 22)
  • Code of Practice for the Design and Safe Operation of Non-medical Irradiation Facilities (RHS 24)
  • Code of Practice for the Safe Use of Sealed Radioactive Sources in Borehole Logging (RHS 28).
Matters of public interest

The following item of public interest has been discussed at the RHC:

  • 5G roll out and public concerns about health impacts of radiofrequency electromagnetic energy.

Operations of the Nuclear Safety Committee

During 2019–2020, the Nuclear Safety Committee (NSC) met on two occasions. Summaries of the meetings can be found on the ARPANSA website at arpansa.gov.au/nsc-minutes.

The membership as at 30 June 2020 was:

Chair

  • Dr Tamie Weaver, Technical Fellow and Partner, ERM: Environmental Resources Management, with experience in hydrogeology (re-appointed)

CEO of ARPANSA

  • Dr Carl-Magnus Larsson.

Radiation Health Committee representative

  • Ms Fay Bellis, member of the Radiation Health Committee.

Local Government representative

  • Mr Ian Drinnan, Principal Environmental Scientist, Sutherland Shire Council.

Person to represent the interests of the general public

  • Dr Joanna Wriedt, experience in commercial law, government and medical research.

Other members:

  • Ms Kerrie Christian, metallurgist with background in governance, safety and reliability
  • Mr Tony Irwin, engineer with experience in nuclear power and research reactor operations, commissioning, training and regulatory interaction
  • Dr John Loy, radiation protection and nuclear safety regulatory expert, with extensive experience internationally and in Australia
  • Mr Don Macnab, former Director, Regulatory and Policy Branch, ARPANSA
  • Dr Peta Miller, Senior Lecturer and Researcher, Work Health and Safety practices, University of New South Wales, and consultant in safety management, ergonomics and human factors
  • Mr Stuart Parr, radiation protection advisor with experience in safety engineering and management including advice on nuclear regulatory compliance internationally
  • Mr Peter Wilkinson, consultant in safety management and safety culture in hazardous industries.

During 2019–2020, the committee considered and discussed:

Regulator Performance Framework self‑assessment

ARPANSA conducted an annual self-assessment of its regulatory effectiveness against six Regulatory Performance Framework (RPF) key performance indicators in July 2019. This self-assessment is a requirement of the RPF. The NSC was tasked to review and validate the self-assessment report. The NSC was satisfied with the approach and methodology, and considered the use of stakeholders as part of the review team as a positive initiative. The NSC provided valuable feedback on the report that was incorporated into the final version. This report is published on both the ARPANSA and Department of Health websites.

Review of regulatory documentation

The NSC reviewed and provided comment on a number of key topics including:

  • The request for approval to make a change with significant implications for safety related to ANSTO’s internal safety review processes
  • A draft guideline being prepared by ARPANSA to assist licence holders in the preparation of a safety analysis report
  • The safety culture assessment of the ARPANSA, which was published December 2019 and is available on the ARPANSA website. More information about the self-assessment is available in Case study 4: Safety Culture Assessment .
Update on controlled facilities

ARPANSA kept the NSC informed on developments associated with controlled facilities. This included the operation of the ANSTO Open Pool Australian Lightwater reactor, ANSTO Health, and a contamination event which resulted in staff extremity exposure above statutory limits at the ANM facility.