Gordon Campbell | Parliament TV | Parliament Today | News Video | Crime | Employers | Housing | Immigration | Legal | Local Govt. | Maori | Welfare | Unions | Youth | Search


Managing NZ's Risk of Radiation Exposure

Rules Being Updated on Managing New Zealand's Risk of Radiation Exposure

DRAMATIC changes in radiation use in the past half century have meant New Zealand's radiation protection legislation has fallen behind, and the Ministry of Health is seeking input on how best to update it.

A discussion document has been released to review the Radiation Protection Act 1965. Much of this act's content is based upon the original 1949 legislation - making the current rules more than 50 years behind technology. Back then, the use of irradiating machines and radioactive materials was largely the domain of individuals.

"Nowadays, it's mostly large establishments such as modern radiology practices that use radiation technology," said the National Radiation Laboratory's Group Manager Jim Turnbull.

The applications of radiation technology and the numbers using it have increased dramatically, with around 4000 New Zealanders using sources of ionising radiation as a normal part of their work.

"For example cancer treatment uses linear accelerators and short-lived radioisotopes, while many industrial companies use process control gauges containing radioactive material as a routine part of manufacturing," said Mr Turnbull.

"The current legislation doesn't always cover the situations which might arise, particularly when the concept of personal use doesn't fit with the reality of the situation."

Mr Turnbull said one of these issues, since the 1949 Radioactive Substances Act and an amendment the 1965 Radiation Protection Act (RPA) were written, has been deciding who is legally responsible in the unlikely event of something going wrong.

"This occurs for example when a body corporate owns an x-ray machine. The current rules require a "natural person" to own the equipment - but these days that's rarely the case, causing a problem with the RPA even before safety issues are considered."

He said New Zealand also has international obligations to ensure the safe and secure handling of radioactive substances.

"International organisations, of which New Zealand is a member, have agreed to standards which in some cases are fundamentally different from our legislation. The onus would seem to be to honour those standards." said Mr Turnbull.

"Also, the legislation does not cover hazardous non-ionising radiation sources, such as powerful lasers, and it may be that a revised Act might take these issues into consideration".

"Basically the National Radiation Laboratory is having increasing difficulty applying old legislation in today's environment, and as it ideally needs updating, we're asking for submissions from anyone interested in making comments."

Submissions on the discussion document, A Review of the New Zealand Radiation Protection Legislation close on 15 March 2003. The discussion document is available by contacting the Ministry of Health or downloading it from the Ministry's website, http://www.moh.govt.nz, under the publications section.

© Scoop Media

Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

Gordon Campbell: On Why New Zealand Needs To Change Its Defence Habits

In a flashback to the military displays of days gone by, one of our frigates recently joined a Carrier Strike show of force in the South China Sea, en route to a joint military exercise in Singapore with our traditional allies, called BersamaGold21. Reportedly, Anna Powles, from the Centre of Defence and Security Studies at Massey University felt this to be a case of us doing our bit to uphold international law, and the right of free transit through the region in question... More>>

Government: New COVID-19 Protection Framework Delivers Greater Freedoms For Vaccinated New Zealanders

Vaccinated New Zealanders will regain everyday freedoms when the country moves to a new simplified COVID-19 Protection Framework that doesn’t rely on nationwide lockdowns as the main measure to stop the virus spreading. In a suite of announcements that establish a pathway out of restrictions the Government is also providing up to $940 million per fortnight to support businesses through the challenging period... More>>



Government: Responds To Independent Review Into WorkSafe

The Government has clear expectations that WorkSafe must action the recommendations of the independent review into the regulator to improve its management of adventure activities following the tragedy at Whakaari White Island, Workplace Relations and Safety Minister Michael Wood says... More>>

Government: New Zealand Secures Historic Free Trade Deal With The United Kingdom
New Zealand and the United Kingdom have agreed in principle the details of a historic Free Trade Agreement (FTA), which will further accelerate our COVID-19 economic recovery say Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and Minister for Trade and Export Growth Damien O’Connor... More>>


Ombudsman: Launches Investigation Into MIQ Booking System
The Chief Ombudsman Peter Boshier is launching a broad investigation into the Managed Isolation and Quarantine (MIQ) booking system after receiving hundreds of complaints... More>>


Pay Cheque To Pay Cheque: Half A Million New Zealanders Have No Savings
New findings from the Consumer NZ sentiment tracker found that 15% of New Zealanders had no savings, and a further 27% were anxious about their level of savings and would like to have more tucked away... More>>

Government: Mandatory Vaccination For Two Workforces

Large parts of two workforces critical to preventing the spread of COVID-19 will be required to be vaccinated, COVID-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins said today. “Our education and health and disability workforces have done an incredible job throughout this pandemic to keep themselves and people safe,” Chris Hipkins said.... More>>

Green Party: Deeply Concerned Space Launches May Be Breaching Nuclear-free Laws

The Green Party is deeply concerned that space launches by Rocket Lab may be breaching nuclear-free laws, given our long-standing position as a signatory of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty... More>>




InfoPages News Channels