[ RadSafe ] Exempt Quantities and Sources Below Regulatory Concern

Eric D edaxon at satx.rr.com
Thu Mar 8 20:06:52 CST 2007

Franz Schönhofer wrote

>> Though I speak and much better read at least a few languages of the
European Union (German, English, French, Swedish, Danish, Spanish, Italian)
this comparison of legislation would be worth a PhD-thesis!<<

I don't know about a PhD thesis, but I am going to compile a comparison of
the various regulations and make it available to RADSAFE.  I am curious to
compare the degree of autonomy given to local states, provinces (etc.)  with
respect to radiation regulations, the basis for the regulations, and how
low-level and natural sources are handled.

I am somewhat familiar with EU regulations (and will be more so after
reading the EU regs) but know relatively little about any other regulations.

If anyone wants to assist, please contact me separately.  

Eric Daxon

-----Original Message-----
From: Franz Schönhofer [mailto:franz.schoenhofer at chello.at] 
Sent: Thursday, March 08, 2007 9:24 AM
To: 'Eric D'; radsafe at radlab.nl
Subject: AW: [ RadSafe ] Exempt Quantities and Sources Below Regulatory

Eric and RADSAFErs interested in this topic,

Also to this question we have in Austria a very practicable and simple
solution. Those who know me and my heavy criticism against (especially
Austrian) bureaucracy might be surprised by the above statement!)

The European Union Radiation Protection Directive contains regulations for
radionuclide concentrations and quantities exempt from the provisions of the
Directive. The address of it is
pdf. Look at Annex I. I hope I copied the address correctly, otherwise it
can be found on google using the keyword "96/29/Euratom". The text on this
address is in English, it is of course available in all other languages of
the member states of the European Union by replacing the "en" by the
appropriate abbreviation of the other language. 

These exempt quantities have been implemented into Austrian law (if I
remember correctly with one or two unimportant exceptions). To draw the
legal conclusion: Any quantity or concentration being below these levels are
in Austria not considered to be radioactive - therefore no license is
necessary and no application to the authorities is necessary. The same is
true for the discharge of such substances. 

Austria is by history and law a federal state. The "states" ("Bundesländer")
are really small and have survived since the middle ages to some extent even
in the constitution of 1920 (?) after the Habsburg empire had previously
broken down. Certain tasks are the duty of the "states", but most are duties
of the federal government. The federal government can delegate certain
duties to the provincial government. 

Many decades ago it was fortunately decided by the highest court, that
radiation protection is a matter of health and therefore the responsibility
of the federal government. If this would not have been stated, we otherwise
would have now in Austria for a population of 8 million inhabitants 9
different radiation protection laws, different for each "state". This does
not change the fact, that for some duties the provincial governments are
responsible. They are very eager to harmonize their procedures, when there
is for instance the question of handling cases like new x-ray-systems,
computer tomographs, shielding of application rooms of radiopharmaceuticals
etc. etc. For this purpose there is once a year a meeting of all those
authorites - both on federal and provincial level - involved in licensing.
Since I do not participate any more, because I am retired, I know from my
previous involvement and the reports of my collegues, that they had always
been and still are held in perfect harmony, contrary to almost all political
meetings. Almost all use the German word "Du" (you) instead of the usual
formal "Sie" (in English probably "thou"). There are not different federal
authorities with different conditions for licenses. 

I could imagine after having read at RADSAFE thousands of complaints and
questions searching for advice in the jungle of licensing and referring to
the pitfalls of US legislation, that such a system might be a heaven for a
license applicant in the USA.

Well, Eric, so much about Austria. Now let us talk about other countries in
the EU: The Directive is a kind of a guideline. Very important is the
freedom in some of the recommendations given to member states to deviate
either to higher or lower values from the recommended ones or to implement
their own regulations on topics like exposure to natural sources, including
Naturally Occurring Radioactive Material or exposure of airline personal.
Similar conclusions are valid for the Drinking Water Directive as to the
Indicative Dose of Radioactive Contaminants.
National legislation has been issued by several member states. Though I
speak and much better read at least a few languages of the European Union
(German, English, French, Swedish, Danish, Spanish, Italian) this comparison
of legislation would be worth a PhD-thesis!

I hope you receive a lot of replies on RADSAFE. But you should be aware,
that the attitude of some US hardliners to ridicule everything which comes
from outside might belittle these information. 

In case I could be of help for you or other RADSAFErs, please contact me
again. Do not expect me to solve all your commercial problems for sending or
receiving radionuclides. 

Best regards.


Franz Schoenhofer, PhD
MinRat i.R.
Habicherg. 31/7
A-1160 Wien/Vienna

-----Ursprüngliche Nachricht-----
Von: radsafe-bounces at radlab.nl [mailto:radsafe-bounces at radlab.nl] Im Auftrag
von Eric D
Gesendet: Donnerstag, 08. März 2007 02:42
An: radsafe at radlab.nl
Betreff: [ RadSafe ] Exempt Quantities and Sources Below Regulatory Concern

This Email was sparked by a comment Franz Schönhofer made in an earlier
post.  I am curious about how other nations handle the issue of sources that
are either exempt from regulation or are so low that they are below
regulatory concern.  Any and all information would be appreciated.


Eric Daxon

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