Storage and disposal of irradiating apparatus

Definition of irradiating apparatus

The definition of 'irradiating apparatus' in the Radiation Safety Act 2016 includes electrical equipment that is designed to generate ionising radiation or, with specified limitations, produces ionising radiation as a by-product.

This encompasses traditional x-ray equipment and also linear accelerators, computed tomography equipment and some electron beam welders.


Section 12 of the Act requires that all radiation sources must be stored safely and securely.

How to store irradiating apparatus

There are two components to satisfying storage requirements.

  1. It must not be a simple matter to energise the apparatus, either inadvertently or deliberately.
  2. The apparatus must be secure from tampering, theft or loss. Normally this requires:
    1. removal from the mains supply (by removal of the mains lead or supply fuses), and
    2. securing the unit (for example, by keeping it in a room that is either locked or has controlled access).

Other storage requirements

An owner's obligations relating to registration still apply whether radiation sources are in use or stored.

Owners must make the stored apparatus and any related records available for inspection by officers from the Office of Radiation Safety.


Section 12 also requires that all radiation sources are disposed of safely and securely. Irradiating apparatus must be rendered inoperative before disposal.

  • This means that it would not be practicable for a person to restore the unit to a condition where it was capable of producing x-rays. (Puncturing the glass tube within the x-ray head and/or destroying vital components in an x-ray generator can achieve this.)
  • Radiation signs such as trefoils must be removed or obscured.

When these requirements have been met, the apparatus can be considered scrap and disposed of accordingly.

Disposal of hazardous material

Please note that additional disposal conditions may apply if the x-ray tube contains hazardous material (for example, x-ray tubes with beryllium windows; some pre-1979 tubes with cooling oil containing PCBs).


Any disposal of irradiating apparatus must be registered with the Director pursuant to section 31(c)(iii) of the Act.

Back to top