Nuclear regulatory authority
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) through its Office of Radiation Protection & Environmental Monitoring regulates radiation in Ireland.
There are no nuclear power plants, research reactors or waste facilities. There is regulation of all practices involving sources of ionising radiation, including transport of radioactive materials, as well as occupational exposure to natural sources.
Radioactive waste and spent fuel management
There is currently no centralised radioactive waste facility in Ireland. However, the EPA maintains a database of all those licensed to use, store or transport radioactive materials, which includes an up-to-date inventory of all radioactive material. This includes disused sources, held in storage throughout the country. In December 2010 the Irish Government adopted a national policy on radioactive waste management for Ireland. One of the key initiatives under this policy is that the inventory of disused radioactive sources should be reduced through a co-ordinated and phased Inventory Reduction Programme. Work on this programme commenced in 2012 and by the end of 2013, 99% of disused sources with a half life greater than 10 years had been disposed of. The policy also provides for the establishment of a centralised storage facility for the interim storage and management of residual sources and this initiative will be progressed once the final inventory of sources is categorised following the completion of the reduction programme. The Government has also agreed an operational protocol for seized and orphan sources which sets out responsibilities for the EPA, Government departments and key stakeholders to ensure that these sources are dealt with in a safe and secure manner.
Main legal instruments
The Radiological Protection Acts (1991 to 2018) establish the national regulatory organisation and set out the appointment and powers of inspectors and the framework for the licensing system. S.I. 390 of 2011, gives effect to Council Directive 2009/71/Euratom of 25 June 2008 establishing a Community framework for the nuclear safety of nuclear installations, assigns powers to the EPA to, if needed, "establish and maintain a national regulatory and organisational framework for nuclear safety of nuclear installations". In addition, S.I. 320 of 2013 gives effect to Council Directive 2011/70/Euratom of 19 July 2011 establishing a Community framework for the responsible and safe management of spent fuel and radioactive waste.
The Radiological Protection Act, 1991 (Ionising Radiation) Regulations, 2019 is a statutory instrument which applies to workplaces where there may be a risk of exposure to ionising radiation. It is the main piece of legislation specifically dealing with the obligations of employers and the protection of workers and members of the public. It gives effect in Ireland to Council Directive 2013/59/Euratom (Basic Safety Standards Directive) and gives further effect to Council Directive 2011/70/EURATOM (spent fuel and radioactive waste management).
Last updated in June 2019