Protection against radiation from construction products
Competent authority in accordance with Sections 134, 135 of the Radiation Protection Act
Construction products can have certain levels of naturally containing radioactive substances, which may lead to a higher exposure level of the public to radiation. The revised Radiation Protection Act (StrlSchG) therefore contains detailed provisions on protection against radiation from construction products.
Currently, DIBt is the competent authority for the federal states of Bavaria, Brandenburg, Lower Saxony, Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania, North Rhine-Westphalia, Saxony, Saxony-Anhalt, Schleswig-Holstein and Thuringia. Further federal states have announced plans to delegate this task to DIBt.
A brief overview
The Radiation Protection Act (StrlSchG) of 27 June 2017 (BGBl. I, p. 1966) is the legal basis for protection against radiation from construction products and other radiation protection matters. It transposes Directive 2013/59/EURATOM laying down basic safety standards for protection against the dangers arising from exposure to ionising radiation into national law.
Provisions on construction products are mainly included in Part 4, Chapter 3 'Protection against radiation from construction products' of the Radiation Protection Act (see Sections 133 to 135 StrlSchG). The Radiation Protection Act is further specified by the Radiation Protection Ordinance (StrlSchV) of 29 November 2018 (BGBI I, pp. 2034, 2036).
- determine the specific activity of certain radionuclides and
- calculate the activity index from this in accordance with Annex 17 StrlSchV
before placing the products on the market.
In indoor spaces regularly occupied by people, the reference level for gamma radiation from construction products is 1 millisievert per calendar year. The activity index was introduced for the purposes of simplification. If the activity index determined is less than or equal to 1, the reference level of 1 millisievert per calendar year for the effective dose is deemed to be complied with and the construction product can be placed on the market without restrictions (cf. Section 135(1) StrlSchG).
If the activity index determined exceeds the permissible level of 1, the manufacturer or importer must notify the competent authority immediately. Within one month of such notification, the competent authority can then order measures to ensure that the reference level is adhered to when the construction product is used for buildings featuring indoor spaces regularly occupied by people or prohibit its use (cf. Section 135(3) StrlSchG). The construction product may only be placed on the market after the one-month period has expired or in compliance with the measures ordered by the competent authority.
The obligated party, i.e. the manufacturer or importer, must also inform those involved in construction about the restrictions that have been ordered. If these persons are not known, the construction product must be provided with accompanying documents indicating the applicable use restrictions (cf. Section 135(4) StrlSchG).