Ionising radiation safety

COVID-19 update (25/03/20): The Office of Radiation Safety is still operational during the COVID-19 lockdown period. Read the full update below.

The Ministry of Health’s Office of Radiation Safety administers the Radiation Safety Act 2016 and the Radiation Safety Regulations 2016 on behalf of the New Zealand Government. This legislation controls all dealings with ionising radiation. For information about non-ionising radiation and radiofrequency such as 5G, please visit Non-ionising radiation page under Environmental Health.

Key requirements of the Radiation Safety Act 2016

The legislation requires the following:

  • Managing entities of radiation sources must hold a Source licence authorising them to manage and control those sources.
  • Managing entities must register controlled radiation sources with the Office of Radiation Safety.
  • Individual users of radiation sources must hold a Use licence unless their use is otherwise authorised by the Act or regulations.
  • Consent is required for anyone who wishes to import or export radioactive material.


March 25 2020

Office of Radiation Safety response to COVID-19

Licences and consent requests

The entire staff of the Office of Radiation Safety (ORS) will work from home to process your applications or other requests as business as usual. Please make sure that your applications or requests are emailed to so that there is no delay in receiving authorisation. It is important that you email your requests to the ORS inbox rather than to the specific officials' inboxes just in case some of the staff are away. We are anticipating a little bit of slowing down in our response time as we are not as equipped as we are at work at our individual homes. However, the ORS inbox is being monitored by the ORS staff from 9 am to  4 pm every workday, and therefore we don't expect any significant disruption caused by this change.

Any applications or correspondence sent in the mail to the Ministry of Health building will be processed when the staff can go into work. So please expect delays for those who submitted applications or other requests in the mail. 

Compliance monitoring inspections

As of 20 March, ORS stopped its visits to the licensed facilities due to the Health and Safety of our inspectors and licensed facilities until further notice. We are currently developing alternative ways of compliance monitoring that are possible without physical visits. Those facilities are up for inspections this calendar year will be contacted once ORS has developed such alternatives.

How to contact ORS

The best and quickest way of obtaining information you need is to email to This is because there is a possibility that each official's land line might not work from work.

For emergency, please contact the Radiation Emergency (24 hours) number at  021 393 632.

In this section

  • The Ministry of Health’s Office of Radiation Safety administers the Radiation Safety Act 2016 and the Radiation Safety Regulations 2016 on behalf of the New Zealand Government Read more
  • Users of ionising radiation must be authorised under the Radiation Safety Act 2016 whether by way of licence or otherwise. This section has information for radiation users, including licensing requirements, other forms of authorisation, compliance with fundamental requirements, codes of practice and more. Read more
  • Check the requirements for the sale, purchase or disposal of radiation sources under the Radiation Saftey Act 2016. Importers and exporters of radioactive material must obtain consent from the Office of Radiation Safety (or comply with the Regulations). Read more
  • Radioactive material must be transported safely and securely. This section contains information on the rules for transporting radioactive material, guidance for drivers and handlers, and information on transporting uranium ore concentrate. Read more
  • Many service providers provide important support services to the radiation sector. This section has information for service providers, including when they need a licence, and information on calibrating radiation measuring equipment and personal dosimetry services. Read more
  • The Office of Radiation Safety is the regulatory body which administers radiation safety legislation. This section describes the functions of the office and links to other organisations promoting radiation safety. Read more
  • The Ministry of Health’s environmental radioactivity monitoring programme analyses trends in environmental radioactivity in the region and warns of any influx in radioactivity. The programme confirms recent trends of decreasing radioactivity levels in the New Zealand environment, despite recent nuclear incidents that have occurred in the northern hemisphere. Read more
  • The Environmental radioactivity annual reports have reported on environmental radioactivity levels in the New Zealand and South Pacific region since 1960.   Read more
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