9 June 2011 - National Radiation Dose Register vital for uranium worker safety

The uranium industry welcomes today’s launch of the Australian National Radiation Dose Register, which will be a vital tool for the continuing protection of the health of uranium mine workers.

The uranium industry has worked closely with the Federal Government and with the national radiation regulator, ARPANSA, since the inception of the dose register project.

Resources,Energy and Tourism Minister Martin Ferguson deserves congratulations for his initiative in commencing this important project and for his persistence in seeing it through.

Uranium mine operators have been monitoring worker radiation doses and collecting dose data for individual workers for many years and providing this data to State authorities.

Bringing this information together in a national database will allow dose data to be monitored and tracked throughout individual miners’ careers, even if they move interstate or from mine to mine.

In Australia, the current limit of radiation exposure is 100 milliSieverts over five years, with not more than 50 milliSieverts permitted to be received by an individual in any one year, in line with International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) recommendations.

Uranium mines report worker dose data annually and radiation exposure at uranium mines is kept at levels far below the regulated maximums.

All necessary processes have been implemented and hurdles removed to permit dose data for uranium workers in South Australia and Western Australia to be loaded to the database.

It is now vital that the way is cleared for dose data for workers at the Ranger mine in the Northern Territory to be included in the Register.

The industry welcome Minister Ferguson’s indication that the Northern Territory will be participating in the Register by the end of this year.