Security of Sealed Radioactive Sources: Changes to threat level indicator
The Protection from Harmful Radiation Act 1990 requires persons responsible for security enhanced radioactive sources to adhere to the requirements of the Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Agency Code of Practice for the Security of Radioactive Sources (ARPANSA Security Code) in relation to scalability of procedural and administrative requirements, in accordance with the national threat level for a radiological security event, as determined by the Australia Government’s National Threat Assessment Centre.
Some time ago, the Australian Government changed the National Terrorism Threat Scale from the ‘Low, Medium, High’ approach to a five tiered scale: Certain, Expected, Probable, Possible and Not expected. The ARPANSA Security Code was amended in late 2018 to reflect this change.
Previously, ARPANSA made the current radiological threat level available to the EPA to publish on its website. However, ARPANSA has advised the EPA that the National Threat Assessment Centre is no longer publishing national threat level information for specific hazards (such as radiological threats).
In lieu of any further notification of changes to the national threat level for a radiological event, all NSW radiation management licensees that are responsible for category 1, 2 or 3 security enhances sealed sources should maintain procedural and administrative requirements commensurate with “Not expected or Possible” scenarios in Schedule D of the Code.
In practical terms, there is no change to the requirements to be maintained under the previous advice, when the Threat Level was published as “Less than Medium”; that is, the Group A measures for Category 2 and Category 3 sources, and Group A and D measures for Category 1 sources.
The EPA will advise responsible persons if there is any change in circumstances that increases the necessary procedural and administrative security requirements.