Working with radiation

Published by:
Netherlands Enterprise Agency, RVO
Netherlands Enterprise Agency, RVO

Do you work with ionising radiation? You must be aware of the strict rules on working with radiation. This radiation may be harmful to humans, animals, plants and goods. Ionising radiation is used in applications by industry, aviation and healthcare, among others.

Permit under the Nuclear Energy Act

Ionising radiation may come from radioactive substances, ores, fissionable materials, natural resources and X-ray equipment. In the Netherlands, if you possess, work with or transport products or applications that contain or use ionising radiation, you must comply with the Dutch nuclear energy legislation. Depending on the situation, you must apply for a permit under the Nuclear Energy Act (in Dutch) or register radioactive sources or equipment (in Dutch) with the Dutch Authority for Nuclear Safety and Radiation Protection (Autoriteit Nucleaire Veiligheid en Stralingsbescherming, ANVS). ANVS not only issues permits, but is also responsible for policy development, rules and regulations, supervision and enforcement.

Your employees and ionising radiation

Employees in nuclear plants and hospitals, for example, will be exposed to ionising radiation. If there is a chance that your employees will be exposed to radiation exceeding 6 millisievert (mSv) per year, a radiation physician must perform an initial test and examine employees on a regular basis. If an employee stops working with radiation, they will be tested again. Is the exposure to radiation on a yearly basis lower than 6 mSv? Then a medical examination is not required.

The radiation physician should be part of your health and safety department or agency (arbodienst) or work closely with either of these.

You can find an overview of legislation concerning medical applications of radiation on the National Institute for Public Health and the Environment’s (RIVM) website (in Dutch).

Monitoring safety measures

Do the examinations by the radiation physician indicate that more measures need to be taken? Your health and safety agency is responsible to implement these measures. You must also have a radiation protection expert check if all safety measures are upheld. The radiation protection expert must also assess your plans and the risks involved.

Dosimetric services

A dosimetric service can determine how much ionising radiation your employees are exposed to, using dosimeters. They supply personal dosimeters with which you can monitor the amount of radiation your employees are exposed to. This dosimetric service should be recognised by the Dutch Authority for Nuclear Safety and Radiation Protection (ANVS). The National Radiation Dose and Information System (NDRIS, in Dutch) is the Dutch system for registration of radiation doses by radiation professionals. Radiation professionals can request their radiation dose history (in Dutch) or, if they work as external employees, apply for a radiation passport (in Dutch).

Monitoring activities

You must have a supervising radiation protection officer perform certain activities. Or have such a radiological health and safety officer monitor activities involving ionising radiation. This applies to activities for which registration or a licence is mandatory and for activities involving a high risk.

Online application procedure via Message Box

You can apply for the permit under the Nuclear Energy Act and the dosimetric service recognition to the Netherlands Enterprise Agency digitally via Message Box. Message Box is a secure email system that enables you as an entrepreneur to exchange digital messages with Dutch government agencies.