Ministers can give green light to radioactivity
NORTHERN Ireland Ministers are individually responsible for giving the green light to businesses which expose workers to radioactivity, the Enterprise Minister Arlene Foster has confirmed.
Foyle MLA Pat Ramsey asked whether it was her Department’s responsibility to issue Statutory Instruments giving justification to applications, under the Justification of Practices Involving Ionising Radiation Regulations 2004.
He was referring to Ionising radiation which occurs as either electromagnetic rays (such as X-rays and gamma rays) or particles (such as alpha and beta particles) and can either occur naturally (e.g. from the radioactive decay of natural radioactive substances such as radon gas and its decay products) or artificially.
Under law such radioactivity should only be approved unless it produces sufficient benefit to the exposed individuals or to society to offset the radiation detriment it causes.
Mrs Foster said it was up to individual Ministers to consider applications, stating: “It is for the relevant Northern Ireland Department to issue Statutory Instruments giving justification to applications, under the Justification of Practices Involving Ionising Radiation Regulations 2004.
“The relevant Northern Ireland Department will depend very much on the nature of the application.
“There is no specified timescale in which applications must be processed. However, the regulations require the applicant to be informed (within a month of the application) of the period within which the application will be determined.
“The relevant Northern Ireland Department must then determine the application within that period or within such further period as notified to the applicant.”
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