Users of radiation

Users of ionising radiation must satisfy requirements set out in the Radiation Safety Act 2016, Radiation Safety Regulations 2016 and Codes of Practice.

Who needs a use licence

Section 21 of the Radiation Safety Act 2016 (the Act) requires a natural person to hold a use licence to use radiation sources. Training requirements in the relevant codes of practice issued under the Act set out the basic level of radiation safety knowledge an applicant must demonstrate to be granted a licence. For details of available courses see Radiation services and training providers

Most common situations where a use licence is required are:

  • medical exposures are generated as a result of the use.
  • the use involves IAEA category 1, 2 or 3 sealed radioactive material excluding blood irradiators.
  • the use involves unsealed radioactive material.
  • the use involves irradiating apparatus for industrial radiography or the manufacture of radioactive material.
  • the user is a medical physicist or servicing and installation engineer.

There are some exemptions provided for this provision. For more information, visit the Exemptions from licensing page.

Compliance guides

For the use of radiation for medical purposes

Use licences may be granted for the following medical purposes:

  • medical diagnosis – including cardiology, nuclear medicine, endocrinology, sentinel node biopsy general practice
  • medical therapy – including ophthalmology, nuclear medicine, endocrinology and blood irradiation.
  • other medical purposes – including research on humans, podiatric, chiropractic, and medical physics.

For the use of radiation for non-medical purposes

Use licences may be granted for the following non-medical purposes:

  • veterinary – including therapy involving unsealed radioactive material
  • industrial – including industrial radiography, industrial gauging, x-ray analysis, industrial processing, electron beam welding, waste conditioning, quality control and safety testing, x-ray security and inspection, x-ray fluorescence, inspection (particle accelerators) and glass manufacture
  • scientific – including pathology tests, scientific practice, use of research particle accelerators
  • regulatory – including compliance monitoring and emergency response
  • demonstration and education, installation and servicing.

How to apply

Please send your use application form to us at [email protected] or mail to the address below if necessary:

Office of Radiation Safety
Ministry of Health
PO Box 5013
Wellington 6140

All applications go through our screening process, and an invoice will be emailed if no further information is required. The screen process usually takes 3 to 5 working days after the receipt of your application. Our target processing time frame is within 10 working days from the receipt of the application to issuing licences dependent on how quickly the payment comes through. It is recommended that you start your application process at least 3 weeks in advance.

Forms for new applicants

Forms for existing licence holders for renewal

Fee structure

Regulation 17 sets out the annual fee for a use licence. The fee payable by a person who applies for a use licence, or a renewal of a use licence, is $95 (GST exclusive) for each authorisation year.

Please see below for the indicative fee for each licensing term category:

Licence category Fee (incl. GST)
Licence issued for 1 year $109.25
Licence issued for 2 year $218.50
Licence issued for 3 year $327.75

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