Objectives and Functions

The regulatory role of the EPA Office of Radiological Protection

Irish legislation prohibits the use of radioactive substances, irradiating apparatus and other sources of ionising radiation without an appropriate licence issued by the EPA.

Competent Authority

The EPA is the designated competent authority responsible for regulating the use of ionising radiation in Ireland. This function was formerly under the remit of the Radiological Protection Institute of Ireland. This is achieved through a system of licensing and inspection, which is designed to ensure that the risk to workers and members of the public from ionising radiation is kept to a minimum.

There are now almost 1700 practices in Ireland licensed by the EPA, including hospitals, dentists, veterinary surgeons, universities, institutes of technology and industrial users. We also regulate the exposure of aircrew to cosmic radiation and, where appropriate, work activities involving Naturally Occurring Radioactive Materials (NORM).

The Irish legislative framework

The primary legislation governing safety in the uses of ionising radiation in Ireland is the Radiological Protection Act, 1991.

The Radiological Miscellaneous Provisions Act provides the EPA with the functions and powers to regulate irradiating apparatus and radioactive materials used in Ireland. The relevant sections of the Act include

  • Section 8, which requires “a licensing system relating to the custody, use, manufacture, importation, distribution, transportation, exportation or other disposal of radioactive substances, nuclear devices or irradiating apparatus”
  • Sections 28 and 29, which deal with the appointment and powers of inspectors
  • Section 30, which elaborates the framework for the licensing system, providing the power to attach conditions to licences, charge licence fees, and amend and revoke licences
  • Sections 40 and 41, which deal with offences and prosecutions.