Nuclear Security

Nuclear Security in Europe

Ad Hoc Group on Nuclear Security

The group considers ways to improve the security principles for existing and planned nuclear power plants in the EU.

More details about Ad Hoc Group on Nuclear Security

High-activity Sealed Radioactive Sources and Orphan Sources (HASS) directive

High-activity Sealed Radioactive Sources (HASS) are potentially hazardous, and as such they are subject to a rigorous regulatory regime. The EU Control of High-activity Sealed Radioactive Sources and Orphan Sources directive was introduced to provide strict control on the control of high-activity sealed source, particularly in terms of maintaining accurate and up to date records of the location, composition and activity level of all high-activity sealed source held in EU Member States.

The EU directive on High-activity Sealed Radioactive Sources and Orphan Sources (2003/122/Euratom; EU HASS) came into force in December 2003.

Implementation of the Directive

It was implemented in the UK through High Activity Sealed Radioactive Sources and Orphan Sources Regulations (HASS) 2005 (Statutory Instrument No. 2686) in October 2005. The HASS regulations modified the Radioactive Substances Act 1993 (RSA1993).

Subsequently, RSA1993 was repealed and superseded by the Environmental Permitting Regulations (EPR) in England and Wales, and HASS was introduced into EPR in 2010 (EPR2010). The RSA and high-activity sealed source regulations continue to apply in Scotland and Northern Ireland. It should be noted that the regulatory requirements for HASS are the same throughout the UK.

These regulations apply only to HASS on civil sites.

High-activity Sealed Radioactive Sources or HASS

A sealed source is an apparatus or radioactive substance whose structure is such as to prevent any dispersion of radioactive materials into the environment under normal conditions of use. A sealed source is classified as a high-activity sealed source if the activity exceeds the values given in Annex I of the EU HASS Directive. In most cases, this means that a source is defined as a high-activity sealed source if its activity exceeds 1/100 of the A1 value given in the IAEA Transport Regulations, TS-R-1, IAEA, Vienna, 2005. A source only ceases to be a HASS once its activity has fallen below the relevant exemption level given in the EU Basic Safety Standards Directive, 96/29/EURATOM.

High-activity sealed source may contain more than one radioactive substance / isotope. The EU HASS Directive does not make specific recommendations on when mixed isotope sources should be classified as HASS.

Long term storage of disused HASS

The EU HASS Directive requires Member States to identify Recognised Installations for the long-term storage of disused HASS, i.e. HASS that have reached the end of their useful lives and are no longer intended to be used for the practice for which they were originally registered.

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