The Federal Environment Ministry supports the Council of the EU in its decision to revise European radiation protection law. The directive adopted today will raise the already high level of protection of workers and the general public against the dangers from ionising radiation and enhance radiation protection in medicine. Federal Environment Minister Peter Altmaier welcomed the new provisions: "Germany was able to introduce a number of improvements during negotiations in Brussels. Together with our European partners we succeeded in significantly advancing radiation protection."
Today, the Council of the EU adopted the new directive laying down basic safety standards for protection against the dangers arising from exposure to ionising radiation. The directive takes into account the latest scientific findings and aims for comprehensive radiation protection.
Significantly revised aspects of the newly adopted directive include:
- improved radiation protection in case of naturally occurring radioactive material in soil and rock formations that may pose a health risk following industrial processing
- measures for protection against the natural noble gas radon which can occur in workplaces and residential buildings and may cause lung cancer
- provisions regulating the management of existing radioactive contamination
- provisions on naturally occurring radioactivity in building materials
- detailed requirements for emergency planning and intensified cooperation of all member states for the purpose of uniform action in emergencies
- provisions for medical x-ray check-ups to prevent unnecessary x-ray examinations.
Member states have to transpose the directive into national law within the next four years. On the transposition deadline (6 February 2018), the five current Euratom directives for the protection of the health of workers and the general public, the protection of medical patients, the protection of outside workers, on informing the general public in case of radiological emergencies and on the control of high-activity radioactive sources will be repealed.*
The Federal Environment Ministry will use this opportunity to draw up a draft law that aims to modernise German radiation protection legislation and facilitate enforcement.
* Revised version of 29 January 2014