Radiation protection

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Under Radiation protection means the protection of people and the environment against the harmful effects of ionizing and non-ionizing radiation from natural and artificial sources of radiation . The term is predominantly - and also in this article - only applied to ionizing radiation, but also plays a role in laser technology , for example .

Radiation protection is particularly important for the personnel of nuclear facilities such as nuclear power plants and in the field of medicine , especially in radiology , nuclear medicine and radiation therapy .

History of radiation protection

The history of radiation protection begins with the recognition of the harmful effects of ionizing and non-ionizing radiation and the preventive measures aimed at them. The dangers of radioactivity and radiation were not recognized for a long time. Since around the 1920s, awareness of the dangers has gradually increased until appropriate radiation protection regulations were issued.

The Radiation Protection Act has been the legal basis for radiation protection in Germany since 2017.

The ten principles of radiation protection

In order to achieve the goals of radiation protection, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) summarized ten Fundamental Safety Principles and presented them in 2006. This document has been classified by EURATOM with Directive 2009/71 / Euratom as binding for all EU countries.

  1. Responsibility for radiation protection
    The sole responsibility for protection against ionizing radiation lies with the person or organization that is responsible for the operation of systems and activities that give rise to radiation risks.
  2. Government oversight
    An effective legal and regulatory framework for radiation protection and safety, including an independent and competent regulatory agency, must be created and maintained by the government.
  3. Direction and management of security
    Effective leadership and quality-assured management of protection against radiation risks must be pursued by organizations that are affected by radiation risks or operate systems and activities that give rise to radiation risks.
  4. Necessity and justification
    There must be no radiation risks without a predominantly positive benefit resulting therefrom.
  5. Optimization of radiation protection
    All radiation exposure or radiation risks must be kept as low as reasonably possible ( ALARA principle) .
  6. Limitation and monitoring of individual dose limits
    The radiation dose to individuals should not exceed the limit values ​​set for the respective conditions. This is the practical area of ​​radiation protection, the laws and limit values ​​valid in Germany are explained below.
  7. Protection of current and future generations
    Radiation protection extends over the present and future generations as well as the present and future environment.
  8. Accident prevention
    A nuclear or radiological accident must be prevented by all reasonable means and / or the effects of such must be reduced. This principle mainly applies to the safety of nuclear facilities, but also applies to medical radiological sources.
  9. Preparation and implementation of emergency measures
    Preparations must be made in order to trigger and implement emergency protection measures.
  10. Protection against existing or unregulated radiation risks
    The protection against or actions to reduce existing or unregulated (natural) radiation risks must be responsible and must be optimized.

Radiation protection to protect people

Radiation protection is divided into three basic protective measures:

Legal basis


The EURATOM contract also regulates the handling of radioactive substances and is the basis for national legal regulations in the member states of EURATOM. On this basis, the European Commission develops guidelines specific to radiation protection , which, after being heard by the European Parliament and determined by the Council of Ministers, are binding for all member states and must be implemented in national law. These guidelines mainly include the recommendations and findings of international organizations (see below) .


Atomic Energy Act (AtG)

The Atomic Energy Act made in Germany by 2017, the national legal basis for the handling of radioactive materials (in particular nuclear fuels ). It came into force in its original version on January 1, 1960. The Radiation Protection Ordinance (StrlSchV) and the X-ray Ordinance (RöV) were based on it. The Radiation Protection Act (StrlSchG) has been the legal basis for radiation protection in Germany since October 2017 and in full since December 31, 2018.

Radiation Protection Act

The Radiation Protection Act (StrlSchG) in Germany forms the independent, comprehensive national legal basis for radiation protection against ionizing radiation. It contains numerous statutory authorizations, most of which were implemented with the Radiation Protection Ordinance (StrlSchV). With the StrlSchV, which came into force on December 31, 2018, the StrlSchG regulates radiation protection for planned exposure situations (e.g. permits) but also for existing exposure situations such as radioactive contaminated sites, radon in common rooms in residential buildings and at indoor workplaces and the radioactivity of construction products . In addition to the operation of systems for the generation of ionizing radiation and the handling of radioactive substances for the use of ionizing radiation, activities in which naturally occurring radionuclides can increase exposure are also treated as planned exposure situations. The StrlSchG has been the legal basis for emergency management in radiation protection since October 1, 2017. In particular, it is the basis for the establishment of a federal radiological situation center, defines the responsibilities of the federal and state authorities and specialist units in emergency exposure situations, determines reference, dose and contamination values, and prescribes emergency plans for the federal and state levels as well as emergency exercises. The StrlSchG is the basis for monitoring human radiation exposure and radioactive contamination of the environment and regulates the creation of a corresponding situation report. The tasks of the federal government mainly extend to the monitoring of radioactivity in the air, in precipitation, on the soil surface (see the gamma local dose rate measuring network ), in federal waterways and in the North and Baltic Seas. In particular, the federal states monitor foodstuffs, pharmaceuticals, animal feed, drinking water, groundwater, sewage, waste, soil and plants.

Radiation Protection Ordinance

The Radiation Protection Ordinance , the original version of which dates from 1960, regulates the principles and requirements for preventive and protective measures in the application and use of radioactive substances, radiation exposure of civilizational and natural origin and the operation of accelerators in Germany . This also includes the medical use of radioactive substances ( nuclear medicine , brachytherapy ) and radiation therapy . The handling of radioactive substances beyond the specified exemption limits and the construction and operation of certain systems for the generation of ionizing radiation generally require a permit. Anyone who needs such a permit is responsible for radiation protection . If safety requires it, he must appoint radiation protection officers (SSB) who must have a suitable certificate of expertise. The specialist knowledge must be updated every five years. The radiation protection regulations to be observed in operation must be laid down in radiation protection instructions. All employees involved must be instructed at least once a year about the possible dangers, about protective measures and about the essential contents of the Radiation Protection Ordinance, the permit and the radiation protection instructions. In addition, the Radiation Protection Ordinance specifies limit values ​​which, if exceeded, require a medical examination. These limit values ​​differentiate between occupationally exposed persons and individuals in the population.

X-ray Ordinance (RöV)

Warning of radioactive substances or ionizing radiation

The X-ray Ordinance was first issued in 1941 and originally applied to non-medical establishments. It was the oldest legal regulation in this area of ​​law and was replaced on December 31, 2018 by the amended Radiation Protection Ordinance (StrlSchV) and the Radiation Protection Act (StrlSchG). The regulations of the RöV were largely retained. In Germany, protection against damage caused by X-rays is regulated when using X-ray equipment and stray radiation sources, in which X-rays with a limit energy between five kiloelectronvolt and one megaelectronvolt can be generated by accelerated electrons. These are generally X-ray devices for medical diagnostics. In medicine or dentistry, only licensed doctors (or persons who are allowed to practice the medical profession) with the appropriate specialist knowledge may use X-rays on humans (patients). The specialist knowledge acquired must be updated every five years.

Radiation protection precautionary law

The Radiation Protection Precautionary Act (StrVG) was drawn up after the Chernobyl disaster in April 1986 and passed by the German Bundestag on December 11, 1986. It expired on October 1, 2017. Its regulations have been incorporated into Part 3 of the Radiation Protection Act.


An amended Radiation Protection Act (StrSchG) has been in force in Austria since 2015 .

The main components of the law are:

  • Basic protection regulations
  • Authorization requirements and reporting obligations
  • Radioactive waste
  • Protection against natural radiation sources
  • Protective and security measures in the event of radiological emergency situations
  • Central radiation protection register (dose register and radiation source register)
  • Official monitoring of the environment for radioactive contamination

They are based on the StrSchG

  • General Radiation Protection Ordinance (BGBl II No. 191/2006),
  • Medical Radiation Protection Ordinance (BGBl. II No. 409/2004),
  • Ordinance on measures to protect flight personnel from cosmic radiation (BGBl. II No. 235/2006),
  • Ordinance on measures to protect people from increased exposure to terrestrial natural radiation sources (BGBl II No. 2/2008) and the
  • Ordinance on interventions in the event of radiological emergencies and permanent radiation exposure (Federal Law Gazette II No. 145/2007).

The Radiation Protection Ordinance has no validity where special regulations regulate the transport of radioactive substances such as ADR , RID or IATA .


In Switzerland, protection against ionizing radiation is a mandate with constitutional status ( Art. 118 BV ). This mandate was implemented in the Radiation Protection Act ( StSg ) with the associated ordinance ( StSV ). Protection against non-ionizing radiation (e.g. mobile communications) is reserved for special legislation without constitutional status, namely the Environmental Protection Act and the ordinance on protection against non-ionizing radiation ( NISV ) based on it. On April 17, 2019, the Federal Council adapted the NISV in the course of the introduction of 5G in line with the telecommunications industry.

International organizations

The EURATOM guidelines are also based on the recommendations of the International Commission on Radiological Protection (ICRP) . This globally recognized organization bases its findings primarily on studies of survivors of the atomic bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki .

There are also a number of other organizations:

Practical radiation protection

The information received from a source of radiation given type dose depends

  • from the activity of the source,
  • the length of stay near the radiation source,
  • the distance to the radiation source (except for very extensive radiation sources),
  • of the shielding by matter between source and person.

Measures to keep unavoidable exposure to radiation sources as low as possible are therefore:

  • Selection of conditions that achieve the desired result with the least possible exposure of the personnel,
  • Predictive organization and planning of the work process in order to keep the exposure time short,
  • the greatest possible irradiation distance, for example by using long grippers,
  • Use of suitable shielding .

"A-rules" as a mnemonic often by speaking that demonstrate the safe use of radiation sources: A ktivität limit A ufenthaltsdauer minimize A opening gap hold A bschirmung use A Recording avoided.

Compared to other workplace risks (such as airborne poisons or microorganisms), ionizing radiation has the advantage that it can be easily measured with small devices that can be used anywhere ( dosimeters , dose rate meters ) and, within the framework of incorporation monitoring, also based on radioactive substances in the human body.

See also


Web links

Wiktionary: Radiation protection  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations

Individual evidence

  1. A. Rahn: Radiation protection technology . 2nd edition, Ecomed-Sicherheit 2012, ISBN 978-3-609-68452-9 , page 8
  2. Hanno Krieger: Radiation Physics, Dosimetry and Radiation Protection. Volume 1 Basics. 4th edition, Springer 1998, ISBN 978-3-519-33052-3
  3. Jürgen Eichler: Laser and Radiation Protection . Vieweg 1992, ISBN 978-3-528-06483-9
  4. Text of the Radiation Protection Act
  5. IAEA: Fundamental Safety Principles In: IAEA Safety Standards Safety Standards Series No. SF-1, link
  6. Euratom: Directive 2009/71 / Euratom of June 25, 2009 on a Community framework for the nuclear safety of nuclear facilities Direktlink (PDF)
  7. Radiation Protection Act ( Memento of the original dated March 30, 2017 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. Website of the Ministry for an Austria worth living in , April 24, 2015 @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot / www.bmlfuw.gv.at
  8. Andres Büchi: “Not permitted”: 5G legal opinion criticizes the Federal Council. In: observer.ch . July 11, 2019, accessed August 3, 2019 .