Ionising radiation guidelines
Section 1 - Introduction
1.1 Antarctica is a region where particularly difficult climatic conditions apply and the full range of facilities taken for granted in Australia is not readily available. It is also globally significant for its pristine environment. The use of radioisotopes in Antarctica is thus a matter for even greater care, and precautions and higher standards than might commonly exist in the use of the same radioisotopes in Australia are required.
1.2 In addition to the normal requirements for keeping one's own dose and that of any other person as low as reasonably achievable there is an added duty to use radionuclides in such a manner as to restrict contamination of the Antarctic environment to the minimum level necessary for successful completion of the experimental objectives. Clearly a high standard of care is demanded. Care must be taken to minimise the risk of cross contamination between artificial sources and research involving the measurement of naturally occurring radioisotopes. Naturally occurring levels of radioisotopes are many orders of magnitude less than those considered as safe levels for artificial sources.
1.3 Antarctic research at Australian Antarctic stations or on Australian Antarctic ships is carried out under the auspices of the Australia's Antarctic Program. The Australian Antarctic Division (AAD) is responsible for logistical support for Australia's Antarctic Program. The user is required to keep the AAD fully informed of all matters relating to radioisotope work and to comply with relevant guidelines. As soon as there is any serious contemplation of the use of radioisotopes in the Antarctic, the proposal should be discussed with the Laboratory Manager AAD, telephone (03) 6232 3354.
1.4 Submissions to the Laboratory Manager should address the points listed in Section 14 of Part B.
1.5 This document refers throughout to radioisotopes and not to ionising radiation per se . However, it should be noted that any plan to use ionising radiation not generated by radioisotopes (such as x-rays) must seek approval from the Laboratory Manager.
1.6 Specialised meanings of shall and should. The words shall and should, where used in this code, have specialised meanings. Shall indicates that the particular requirement is essential. Should indicates a procedure or precaution which is to apply, wherever practicable, in the interests of improving radiation protection.
1.7 Researchers should endeavour to investigate alternative techniques to the use of radioisotopes in their research and are referred to the paper by Party and Gershey (1995) on alternatives to radiochemical techniques. [to A review of some available radioactive and non-radioactive substitutes for use in biomedical research", E. Party and E. L. Gershey, Health Physics, July 1995,69 (1)]