CSN What we do for radiation protection

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What we do for radiation protection

Qué hacemos para garantizar la protección radiológica

The Spanish Nuclear Safety Council is the sole competent authority in Spain for nuclear safety and radiation protection matters. Its purpose is to protect workers, the population and the environment from the harmful effects of ionising radiation, ensuring that nuclear and radioactive facilities are operated by the licensees safely and establishing the prevention and correction measures against radiological emergencies of whatever origin. For this it:

  • Assesses the safety and radiation protection of nuclear and radioactive facilities and inspects them during their functioning.
  • Assesses and inspects any activity that involves the handling, processing, storing or transporting nuclear and radioactive substances or, generally, a risk of exposure to ionising radiation.
  • Monitors and controls radiation levels within and outside facilities (in the air, water, soil, food, etc.), assessing the radiological impact on persons and the environment.

In Spain, the fundamental legislation that applies to radiological protection is the Regulation on Health Protection against Ionising Radiations. Based on these regulatory requirements, measures are set for each activity and situation to maintain the dosage of the workers and the public below the dose limits, according to the ALARA criterion (As Low As Reasonably Achievable), and to protect the environment and monitor radiation and contamination levels.

In practice, the applicable measures vary according to whether or not there is a risk of contamination, this being understood as the undesirable presence of radioactive substances on the surface or inside a body or organism.

External irradiation risk

This occurs as a consequence of a radioactive source outside the organism (e.g., X-ray equipment, accelerators, etc.). The basic standards for reducing exposure in these cases are:

  • Distance

Increasing the distance from the source of ionising radiation reduces exposure in proportion to the square of the increase in distance.

  • Time

Reducing the exposure time as far as possible reduces the dose.

  • Shielding

By placing a sufficient thickness of absorbent material or shielding between the person and the source of radiation the dosage received is completely eliminated or significantly reduced.

Contamination risk

It is generated as a consequence of the dispersion of radioactive material that may be deposited on the skin of the contaminated person or enter the body by inhalation, ingestion or through wounds, abrasion or other types of injuries. In the workplace, this risk is associated with the use of sealed radioactive sources.

To protect against this risk, radioactive contamination in the work environment must be prevented through the appropriate containment measures (ventilation, display cabinets, glove boxes, etc.), using suitable workwear and respiratory protection.