Publication of the Order regarding the protection of radioactive sources against malicious acts: ASN will be fully implementing its source security oversight actions

Published on 10/03/2020 • 11:01 am

Information notice

The Order of 29th November 2019 concerning the protection of ionising radiation sources and batches of radioactive sources of categories A, B, C and D against malicious acts, published on 11th December 2019, specifies the conditions surrounding the application of the general objective set out by the Public Health Code.

In its Article R. 1333-147, this latter more particularly requires that "all appropriate steps are taken by the nuclear activity manager to prevent unauthorised access to ionising radiation sources, their theft, their misappropriation, their deterioration, or any damage of whatsoever nature that they could suffer as a result of malicious acts.” 

This Order clarifies the provisions to be implemented for the protection of ionising radiation sources or batches of radioactive sources against malicious acts, both within the facilities and during transport operations. This Order, which was entered into effect on 1st January 2020:

  • is part of the Government’s national security strategy, in particular to counter radiological threats;
  • is based on recommendations from the International Atomic Energy Agency, which are already in effect in other countries, notably in Europe;
  • adopts a graded approach, with the organisational or technical arrangements being reinforced proportionately to the danger represented by the source(s) to be protected;
  • comprises interim provisions of up to two years, enabling the facilities or carriers concerned to define, plan and then implement these new requirements.

The 5000 or so radioactive sources of categories A, B or C[1] primarily concerned by this Order are used in the medical and industrial fields, while some of them are also used on worksites, for example to conduct non-destructive examinations on piping or pressurised equipment. About 300 facilities nationwide are concerned by the provisions of this Order.

ASN made an active contribution to the drafting of this Order. On 26th September 2019 it issued a positive opinion on this draft text.

The entry into effect of this Order will enable ASN to fully implement its source security oversight actions.

[1] Ionising radiation sources and batches of sources are classified in 4 categories (A to D) according to the danger they represent, with category A sources being the most dangerous and those of category D the least dangerous. This classification is set out in the Public Health Code (Appendix 13-8).

Date of last update : 10/03/2020