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Radiation Protection in Natural Radiation Sources
Business management → Radiation protection



Radiation Protection in Natural Radiation Sources (B)

General information

In some areas where people stay for occupational reasons there could be an increased radiation exposure due to naturally occurring radioactive substances. The Natürliche Strahlenquellen-Verordnung (NatStrV) as well as the Strahlenschutzverordnung fliegendes Personal regulate the protection of workers against such natural radiation sources.

Fields of work, where an increased radiation exposure of workers due to terrestrial natural radioactive substances is possible, are listed in the Natürliche Strahlenquellen-Verordnung.

This will involve the following fields of enterprises:

  • Water supply enterprises
  • Radon spas and health resorts
  • Industrial/commercial use of thoron-containing products
  • High-pressure liquid-jet-cutting and sand-blasting
  • Processing of raw phosphates e.g. in the fertilizer industry
  • Zirconium and zirconium oxide industry

Also residues which are generated in the course of working processes and which are enriched with natural substances can potentially result in a considerable radiation exposure of the workers. As the radiation protection law – as opposed to "Handling of Radiation Sources" doesn’t provide for these "Working with Radiation Sources" for an approval procedure, the persons in charge of these fields are, due to the provisions of the Natürliche Strahlenquellenverordnung obliged to protect their staff and the population against natural radiation sources.

If an enterprise falls within the scope of the Natürliche Strahlenquellenverordnung, its holder/holders must commission a dose monitoring station to carry out a dose estimate for those staff members, who could be exposed to increased radioactive contamination, as well as, if required, a residue assessment.

A list of officially approved dose monitoring stations is available on the Website of the Federal Ministry of Sustainability and TourismGerman text.

If the finding of the dose estimate shows that workers can be classified as exposed workers, the enterprise must take care, by means of appropriate technical and/or organisational measures, that the radiation exposure of the workers is kept as low as reasonably possible. The enterprise will be informed by the dose monitoring Station which measures are useful. In most cases a considerable minimisation of the dose can be achieved by the implementation of simple and cheap measures, so that the workers are not exposed or will not be considered to be exposed category B workers. Only in very rare cases a classification of concerned workers as exposed category A workers will be required. In this case periodical dose assessments and medical examinations are to be carried out and the results are to be forwarded to the Central Dose Register.

In the case of generated residues the dose monitoring station will state whether these are safe from the point of view of radiation protection and can thus be disposed of or recovered. Otherwise the residues are to be disposed of radioactive waste (see "Disposal of Radioactive Material and Radioactive Waste").

If there is not the required technical radiation protection knowledge available at the enterprise, the enterprise has to resort to an expert (similar to the radiation protection manager in the case of "Handling of the Radiation Sources"). This person is then in charge of the radiation protection measures to be carried out at the enterprise as well as for the interaction with the radiation protection authority.

A special Ordinance the "Strahlenschutzverordnung fliegendes Personal" regulates the protection of this group of persons. Airlines are obliged to carry out radiation protection measures for their staff, which is increasingly exposed to cosmic radiation during flights.


Enterprises according to Section 2 of the Natürliche Strahlenquellen-Verordnung:

  • Arranging for a dose estimate within a period of 6 months after the beginning of the works and/or immediately after the change of parameters relevant for radiation protection (e.g. extension/change of the working process)
  • Notification of the results and, if required, of measures on the reduction of the radiation exposure within a period of 3 months after availability of the dose estimate
  • Repetition of the dose estimate every 5 years (if there are exposed workers), if not every 10 years

Airlines: Dose estimates every 5 years and/or immediately after the change of parameters relevant for radiation protection.

Responsible department

Competent authority

Detail information


For "Working with Radiation Sources" no authorisation according to Radiation Protection Act is required. However, if the enterprise doesn’t comply with notification requirements and/or no adequate radiation protection measures are taken, the authority will open an ex officio a radiation protection procedure.

Legal basis