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The RPII was officially established in 1992 and was merged with the EPA in 2014. Here we give an overview of the history and background of the organisation up the the time of the EPA merger.
Between 1973 and 1992, the Nuclear Energy Board (NEB) was the organisation in Ireland responsible for matters relating to ionising radiation.
The NEB was established by the Nuclear Energy Act, 1971, as the regulatory authority for a nuclear power station which was being considered at the time.
The NEB was asked by the then Minister of Transport and Power to advise on whether the proposed site of Carnsore Point, County Wexford was suitable for a nuclear power station. The Government subsequently decided against establishing nuclear power in Ireland.
During the 1980s, the emphasis of the work of the NEB shifted towards radiation protection and environmental monitoring, particularly after the Chernobyl nuclear accident in 1986. In the aftermath of the accident, rising public concern over the dangers posed by radioactivity led to a strengthening of the NEB, including increased staffing and facilities.
The Radiological Protection Institute of Ireland (RPII) was established in April 1992, under the Radiological Protection Act, 1991.
The RPII took over the responsibilities previously held by the NEB. These powers, however, were substantially broadened beyond those of its predecessors and in line with advancing scientific knowledge.
The title of the new organisation reflects these new priorities. Since its foundation, the RPII has focused primarily on protection of the Irish public from the health and safety risks posed by ionising radiation.
In May 2000, the Irish Government brought in landmark legislation which substantially widened the scope of the RPII's responsibilities.
The Radiological Protection Act, 1991 (Ionising Radiation) Order, 2000 (Statutory Instrument 125 of 2000) designated the RPII the competent authority responsible for licensing and regulating all sources of ionising radiation, natural as well as artificial.
The RPII played a vital role in promoting and shaping the landmark legislation.
From its establishment, the RPII played a vital role in:
Although now merged with the EPA, there is no diminution with Ireland's commitment to either environment or radiological protection, arising from the merger.
Read about the EPA and RPII Merger
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