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COMPARISON OF LAWS ON IONISING RADIATION

IN MALAYSIA AND THE UNITED KINGDOM OF


GREAT BRITAIN AND NORTHERN IRELAND, AND
THE ENFORCEMENT OF SUCH RADIATION
B Y A LDRIC T INKER

BACKGROUND
In considering laws on ionising radiation in the United Kingdom, we must remember that such
laws and measures are also passed by competent European Union measures and legislation.
Thus, keeping this in mind, exploring the British position on the matter would prove to be rather
messy.

Since 1997 under the Blair Ministry, the United Kingdom underwent a series of political reforms,
specifically the devolution of powers from the Parliament of the United Kingdom to the respective
regional governments as follows (Wikipedia):

1. Scottish Parliament
2. Northern Ireland Assembly
3. National Assembly for Wales.

This political structure is relevant when comparing the British position with the Malaysian
position. Despite being a federation of thirteen states and three federal territories, the power to
legislate matters pertaining ionising radiation falls within the exclusive jurisdiction of the federal
Parliament of Malaysia (List I, Ninth Schedule, Federal Constitution).

So what happens to a law passed in the United Kingdom?

After a Bill goes through the formal procedure in Parliament, the now-Act is subjected to:

1. Compliance with European Union laws in the same field (Wikipedia);


2. Modification by subsequent or past Acts of Parliament – irrespective of field, provided it
is relevant to the subject matter addressed;
3. Variation and modification through delegated legislations (Wikipedia);
4. Variation and modification by the Acts of the Scottish Parliament, Acts of the North
Ireland Assembly and Measures of the National Assembly of Wales in their respective
jurisdictions, as well as through delegated legislations of the respective legislation.

For the purpose of this paper, the author aims to focus on the measures and acts passed by the
Parliament of the United Kingdom for the following reasons:

1. The Acts of Parliament serves as the general uniform rule where practical application is
concerned. In considering the law, courts and legal practitioners take into account the
general rule as well as the exceptions per that respective legal principle.

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2. The Acts of Parliament of the United Kingdom is comparable to the Acts of the Malaysian
Parliament. Malaysia is not subjected to any extra-national organisation that binds a
country as in the case of the EU on the UK. Furthermore, the States of Malaysia is
incompetent in passing laws similar to the British Regions of Scotland, Wales and
Northern Ireland by virtue of Article 74, Federal Constitution.

MALAYSIAN LAW
The principal law on the control of ionising radiation in Malaysia is the Atomic Energy Licensing
Act 1984 (Atomic Energy Licensing Act 1984). Ionising radiation is defined as: electromagnetic
radiation or corpuscular radiation capable of producing ionization in its passage through matter1.

The aim of this Act is ―to provide for the regulation and control of atomic energy, for the
establishment of standards on liability for nuclear damage and for matters connected therewith
or related thereto2‖.

The following delegated legislations were made by the authority of this Act (Atomic Energy
Licensing Board), they are:

1. Radiation Protection (Licensing) Regulations 1986


2. Radiation Protection (Licensing) Regulations 1986 (Corrigendum)
3. Radiation Protection (Basic Safety Standards) Regulations 1988
4. Atomic Energy Licensing (Exemption) Order 1989
5. Atomic Energy Licensing (Exemption) (Smoke Detectors) Order 1989 (English & Malay)
6. Radiation Protection (Transport) Regulations 1989 (Corrigendum) (English & Malay)
7. Radiation Protection (Transport) Regulations 1989
8. Atomic Energy Licensing (Exemption) (Lightning Arrester) Order 1990 (English & Malay)
9. Exclusive Economic Zone (Application of Atomic Energy Licensing Act 1984) Order 1990
10. Atomic Energy Licensing (Exemption) (Leasing and Hire-Purchase) Order 1990
11. Atomic Energy Licensing (Appeal) Regulations 1990
12. Radiation Protection (Transport)(Amendment) Regulations 1991
13. Atomic Energy Licensing (Small Amang Factory) (Exemption) Order 1994
14. Atomic Energy Licensing (Exemption) (Ceramic Factory) Order 1998 -replaced by Atomic
Energy Licensing (Exemption) (Low Activity Radioactive Material) Order 2002
15. Atomic Energy Licensing (Exemption) (Scanning Electron Microscope) Order 1998
16. Atomic Energy Licensing (Exemption) (Irradiating Apparatus Below 5 Kilo Elektron Volt)
Order 2002
17. Atomic Energy Licensing (Exemption) (Low Activity Radioactive Material) Order 2002
18. Atomic Energy Licensing (Basic Safety Radiation Protection) Regulations 2010

1 Section 3, Atomic Energy Licencing Act 1984


2 Preamble, Atomic Energy Licencing Act 1984

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BRITISH LAW
The principal legislation on ionising radiation in the United Kingdom is the Radioactive
Substances Act 19933 (RSA93). The aim of this Act of Parliament is: ―to consolidate certain
enactments relating to radioactive substances with corrections and minor improvements made
under the Consolidation of Enactments (Procedure) Act 1949‖

As far as the British Act is concerned, ionising radiation is included in Section 1 of the RSA93
under the broad category of ―radioactive material‖.

According to the International Atomic Energy Agency, the following are the principal laws enforced
in the United Kingdom at present (International Atomic Energy Agency):

 Anti-Terrorism, Crime and Security Act 2001


 Nuclear Generating Stations (Security) Regulations 1996
 Atomic Energy Authority Act 1995 (Chapter 37).
 Atomic Energy Act 1946 Ch 80.
 Atomic Energy Authority Act 1954 Ch 32.
 Nuclear Installations (Amendment) Act 1965 Ch 6.
 Nuclear Installations Act 1965 Ch 57.
 Nuclear Installations Act 1969 Ch 18.
 Radiological Protection Act 1970 Ch 46.
 Atomic Energy Authority Act 1971 Ch 11.
 Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 Ch 7.
 Nuclear Industry (Finance) Act 1977 Ch 7.
 Atomic Energy (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1981 Ch 48.
 Criminal Justice Act 1982.
 Energy Act 1983 Ch 25.
 The Atomic Energy Authority Act 1986 Ch 3.
 Atomic Energy Act 1988 Ch 7.
 Electricity Act 1989.
 Criminal Law Act 1989.
 Environmental Protection Act 1990 Ch 43.
 Radioactive Material (Road Transport) Act 1991 Ch 27.
 Atomic Weapons Establishment Act 1991 Ch 46.
 Radioactive Substance Act 1993 Ch 12.
 Nuclear Installations (Dangerous Occurrences) Regulations 1965 (SI 1965/1824).
 The Nuclear Installations (Insurance Certificate) (Amendment) Regulations 1969 SI
1969/64).
 The Nuclear Installations Regulations 1971 (SI 1971/1381).
 The Nuclear Installations Act 1965 etc. (Repeals and Modifications) Regulations 1974 (SI
1974/2056).
 Nuclear Installations (Expected Matter) Regulations 1978 (SI 1978/1779).
 Nuclear Installations (Prescribed Sites) Regulations 1983 (SI 1983/919).

3For the online HTML version, please visit:


http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/1993/12/contents?view=plain.

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 The Nuclear Installations Act 1965 (Repeal and Modifications) Regulations 1990(SI
1990/1918)
 The Fire Certificate (Special Premises) Regulations 1976 (SI 1976/2003).
 The Notification of Installations Handling Hazardous Substances Regulations 1982 (SI
1982/1357).
 Air Navigation (Restriction of Flying) (Nuclear Installations) Regulations 1988 (SI
1988/1138).
 Environmental Protection (Prescribed Processes and Substances) (Amendment)
Regulations 1992 (SI 1991/614).
 THESE are all replaced by the RAM Road and RAM Rail regulations (1995) [need the
precise reference)Control of Pollution (Radioactive Waste) Regulations 1976 (SI
1976/959).
 The Control of Pollution (Radioactive Waste) Regulations 1989 (SI 1989/1158).
Radioactive Substances (Records of Convictions) Regulations 1992 (SI 1992/1685).
 The Public Information for Radioactive Emergencies Regulations 1992 (SI 1992/2997).
 The Ionising Radiations Regulations 1999 (SI 1999/3232). The Nuclear Material
(Offences) Act 1983 (Commencement) Order 1991 (SI 1991/1716).
 Extradition (Protection of Nuclear Material) Order 1991 (SI 1991/1720). The Nuclear
Installations (Application of Security Provisions) Order 1993 (SI 1993/687).
 Nuclear Reactors (Environmental Impact Assessment For Decommissioning) Regulations
1999 (SI 1999/2892).
 The Exports of Goods (Control) Order 1992 (SI 1992/3092).
 The Radioactive Substances (Prepared Uranium and Thorium Compounds) Exemption
Order 1962 (SI 1962/2711).
 The Atomic Energy (Mutual Assistance Convention) Order 1990 (SI 1990/235).
Environmental Protection Act 1990 (Commencement No 3) Order 1990 (SI 1990/2565
(Ch 67)).
 The Radioactive Substance (Substances of Low Activity) Exemption (Amendment) Order
1992 (SI 1992/647).
 The Radioactive Substances (Uranium and Thorium) Exemption (Scotland) Order 1962 (SI
1962/2766).
 Radioactive Substance (Testing Instruments) Exemption Order 1985 (SI 1985/1049).
 The Radioactive Substances (Substances of Low Activity) Exemption Order 1986 (SI
1986/1002).
 The Radioactive Substances (Waste Cloud Sources) Exemption Order 1963 (SI
1963/1831).
 The Radioactive Substances (Uranium and Thorium) Exemption Order 1962 (SI
1962/2710).
 The Environment Protection Act 1990 (Commencement No 7) Order 1991 (SI
1991/1042).
 The Radioactive Substances (Substances of Low Activity) Exemption (Amendment) Order
1992 (SI 1992/647).
 The National Radiological Protection Board (Extension of Functions) Order 1974 (SI
1974/1230).

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COMMON ATTRIBUTES OF THE LEGISLATIONS
Both legislations share some common attributes; among others:

 The appointment of enforcement officers;


 The creation of an authority to facilitate registration and licensing;
 Prohibition of use of any radioactive materials without prior registration or licensing;
 The maintenance of a register by the licensees, and it must be made available to those
who wish to view it by those who are inspecting the plant or those directly working and
affected by the use of such materials;
 Power of the authorising agency to revoke licences to use radioactive substances;
 Proper disposal of radioactive materials and waste;
 Registration and approval of containers used to transport radioactive substances;
 The basic protection and exposure levels for workers and those directly in contact with
the radioactive substances;
 Duties of employers to formulate a safety and health policy, back by procedures, with
respect to the radioactive substances;
 Imposes a degree of liability on users and operators of radioactive substances;
 Protection of trade secrets known to the inspectors during the course of their duties.

DIFFERENCES OF LEGISLATION
Among others, the differences of the two legislations are:

 Both laws require the licensee to maintain a register, but the Malaysian law is silent as to
whether the public can view such register while the British statute protects such right.
 The licensing authority of Malaysia is the Atomic Energy Licensing Board whereas in the
UK, it is the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), which is the same authority for the
promotion and enforcement of workplace safety and health (Health and Safety
Executive).

ENFORCEMENT IN MALAYSIA
Enforcement in Malaysia is the Atomic Energy Licensing Board. At the moment of writing this
paper, the author is unclear on the jurisdiction of the Department of Occupational Safety and
Health with regards to the enforcement of the Act. While it is responsible to enforce the
occupational safety and health laws, whether it can prosecute on this matter is a different issue.
Perhaps such prosecution is confined to the abuse or illegal use of radioactive substances in the
workplace to the extent of workers’ safety and health is concerned.

ENFORCEMENT IN THE UK
In the workplace, the Health and Safety Executive and Health (HSE) and Safety Executive for
Northern Ireland (HSENI) are responsible for the enforcement of the ionising radiation laws.

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CONCLUSION
As a conclusion, there are substantial similarities as far as legislation is concerned. However,
further study at an advanced level is recommended to explore the extent of British laws on
ionising radiation. Similarly, the same goes for the enforcement of the relevant laws in Malaysia.

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WORKS CITED
Atomic Energy Licensing Act 1984. Kuala Lumpur: ILBS, 2010.

Atomic Energy Licensing Board. "Legislations." Atomic Energy Licensing Board. 18 October 2010
<http://www.aelb.gov.my/aelb/engv/text/legislation.asp>.

Federal Constitution. Kuala Lumpur: ILBS, 2010.

Health and Safety Executive. "Nuclear Directorate, Health and Safety Executive." 19 August
2009. Health and Safety Executive. 18 October 2010
<http://www.hse.gov.uk/nuclear/nsd1.htm>.

International Atomic Energy Agency. "United Kingdom." July 2009. International Atomic Energy
Agency. 18 October 2010 <http://www-
pub.iaea.org/MTCD/publications/PDF/cnpp2009/countryprofiles/UnitedKingdom/UnitedKingdo
m2006.htm>.

Wikipedia. "Delegated Legislation in the United Kingdom." 26 September 2010. Wikipedia. 18


October 2010 <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Delegated_legislation_in_the_United_Kingdom>.

—. "Factortame litigation." 26 September 2010. Wikipedia. 18 October 2010


<http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Factortame#Sovereignty_and_the_EU>.

—. "http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Devolution#United_Kingdom." 25 September 2010. Wikipedia.


18 October 2010 <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Devolution#United_Kingdom>.