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National Radiological Protection Board

Volume 979: debated on Thursday 21 February 1980

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asked the Secretary of State for Social Services (1) if he will list the terms of reference of the National Radiological Protection Board, its duties and what powers it possesses to carry out its duties effectively;(2) what research projects have been carried out by the National Radiological Protection Board into radiological protection matters over the past five years;(3) what powers the National Radiological Protection Board possesses with regard to atomic power stations and Ministry of Defence establishments; and what statutory links and other links it has with the Health and Safety Commission.

The terms of reference of the National Radiological Protection Board are set out in section 1 of the Radiological Protection Act 1970, and include the advancement of knowledge about protection from radiation hazards and the provision of information and advice about such protection. It may provide and charge for technical services and information and advice. The board's responsibilities cover both ionising radiation and radiation which is electro-magnetic but not ionising. Health Ministers have directed the board to advise Government Departments and statutory bodies on the acceptability and application in the United Kingdom of internationally recommended standards of radiological protection, to specify emergency reference levels of dose in the event of an accident affecting members of the public, and to provide guidance on their derivation.Section 77 of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 requires the board to consult with and have regard to the policies of the Health and Safety Commission on relevant functions. The board has made an agreement under this Act to exercise for the commission certain functions relating to radiation. Sections 50(3)(

a) and 16(2)( a) of the same Act require the commission to consult the board before advising Ministers to make regulations relating to radiological protection and before issuing relevant codes of practice.

The board possesses no separate powers with regard to atomic power stations and Ministry of Defence establishments.

Research in biology and physics carried out by the board over the years 1976 to 1978 inclusive is set out in its annual research and development reports for those years. The board's work is also published in its technical reports and in periodic reports, the latest of which is "The Work of the NRPB 1974/76".