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Radiation Protection Act enables more effective protection against ionising radiation
Federal Office for Radiation Protection welcomes legal reorganisation
In future, consumers are better protected against the harmful effects of radiation, both in everyday life and at the workplace. On 12 May, the German Bundesrat approved the Act on the Reorganisation of the Protection against the Harmful Effect of Ionising Radiation. The Act provides for a reorganisation in medicine including medical research, for natural radioactivity, and for emergencies. Citizens benefit directly from the new provisions.
The Federal Office for Radiation Protection (BfS) welcomes the Act since it adapts key radiation protection aspects to new specialist knowledge. Topics promoted by the BfS in the past have now been regulated by law for the first time: Legal innovations include e.g. regulations concerning the naturally occurring radioactive rare gas radon which may accumulate in buildings and which is the second leading cause of lung cancer after smoking. For the first time, the legislator has determined a reference value for living space and workplaces. Measurement obligations, measures for radon-protected building or remediation must be oriented towards these values.
Basis for comprehensive radiation protection in Germany
"The new Radiation Protection Act creates the basis for comprehensive radiation protection in Germany. In future, radiation protection will be applied in more areas of life," the President of the Federal Office for Radiation Protection, Dr. Inge Paulini, said.
At the same time, she pointed out that the new Radiation Protection Act also meant increasing competencies for the BfS:
"With numerous new regulations in the medical field and medical research, the role of the BfS is strengthened. Furthermore, it is planned to establish a radiological situation centre for whose implementation the BfS will be essentially responsible," Paulini emphasised. She added:
"The protection of the population and the environment must continue to be the primary objective."
The major part of the radiation the population is exposed to comes from natural sources and medicine. This fact is also reflected in the new Act. Among others, it includes regulations for better protection of patients in the radiological early diagnosis of diseases and in the licensing procedure in medical research. Besides, a reporting and information system for special occurrences in the medical field will be introduced.
Furthermore, radioactive relics and the monitoring of radioactivity in building products should be enhanced. In emergency preparedness, the responsibilities will be combined and the measures for the protection of the population in the event of an emergency will be better co-ordinated between the federation and the Länder.
The Act implements the EU Directive 2013/59/EURATOM into national law. The German Bundestag adopted the Act at the end of April, the Länder approved it in the middle of May. With the new regulations in emergency preparedness, the first part of the Act will become effective before the end of summer, followed by the new regulations concerning radiation protection by the end of 2018.
State of 2017.05.12