The Office of Radiation Safety is a unit of the Ministry of Health.
Functions of the Office of Radiation Safety
The Office of Radiation Safety’s primary role is as the regulatory body administering the Radiation Safety Act 2016 and Radiation Safety Regulations 2016.
This involves a wide range of regulatory activities including licensing, issuing consents and maintenance of codes of safe practice.
Other functions of the Office of Radiation Safety include:
- carrying out responsibilities as New Zealand’s competent authority under various international treaties, conventions and regulations
- overseeing the provision of authoritative advice to Government and the public regarding all matters associated with radiation
- overseeing special projects relating to radiation, eg, the environmental radiation monitoring program, maintenance of physical standards of radiation exposure to support equipment calibration services.
The Office of Radiation Safety maintains a relationship with the Institute for Environmental Science and Research, who provide scientific advice when required.
International radiation safety links
The information below briefly details organisations that are involved in promoting radiation safety internationally.
International Atomic Energy Agency
The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) was established in 1957. It is a United Nations organisation that works with its member states worldwide to promote safe, secure and peaceful nuclear technologies. New Zealand has contributed to, and benefited from, a number of IAEA-sponsored programmes.
International Commission on Radiological Protection
The International Commission on Radiological Protection (ICRP) is an international expert body that advances, for public benefit, the science of radiation protection. It does this by considering the fundamental principles and quantitative bases upon which appropriate radiation protection measures can be established, and issuing recommendations and guidance.
United Nations Scientific Committee on the Effects of Atomic Radiation
The United Nations Scientific Committee on the Effects of Atomic Radiation (UNSCEAR) was established by the General Assembly of the United Nations in 1955. Its mandate in the United Nations system is to assess and report levels and effects of exposure to ionizing radiation. Governments and organisations throughout the world rely on the Committee's estimates as the scientific basis for evaluating radiation risk and establishing protective measures.
International Commission on Radiation Units and Measurements
The International Commission on Radiation Units and Measurements (ICRU) was established in 1925. It has as its principal objective the development of internationally acceptable recommendations regarding (1) quantities and units of radiation and radioactivity; (2) procedures suitable for the measurement and application of these quantities in diagnostic radiology, radiation therapy, radiation biology, and industrial operations; and (3) physical data needed in the application of these procedures, the use of which tends to assure uniformity in reporting. The ICRU endeavours to collect and evaluate the latest data and information pertinent to the problems of radiation measurement and dosimetry, and to recommend in its publications the most acceptable values and techniques for current use.
International Commission on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection
The International Commission on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection (ICNIRP) is a body of independent scientific experts. There is a main Commission of 14 members; four Scientific Standing Committees covering Epidemiology, Biology, Dosimetry and Optical Radiation; and a number of consulting experts. The focus is the important issue of the possible adverse effects on human health of exposure to non-ionising radiation.
World Health Organization – International EMF Project
As part of its charter to protect public health, and in response to public concern over health effects of EMF exposure, the World Health Organization (WHO) established the International EMF Project in 1996 to assess the scientific evidence of possible health effects of EMF in the frequency range from 0 to 300 GHz. The EMF Project encourages focused research to fill important gaps in knowledge and to facilitate the development of internationally acceptable standards limiting EMF exposure.
Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Agency
The Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Agency (ARPANSA) is part of the Australian Health and Ageing Portfolio. As a federal government agency, it is charged with protecting the health and safety of people and the environment from the harmful effects of ionising and non ionising radiation in Australia.