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Reporting abnormal incidents

Reporting abnormal incidents

Any abnormal incidents must be reported to the Radiation and Nuclear Safety Authority without delay.

Report the incident to the Radiation and Nuclear Safety Authority (STUK) without delay

Severe abnormal incidents must be reported by telephone:

  • during office hours, call 09 759 881 (STUK, telephone exchange)
  • outside office hours, call 112 (the national emergency number) and ask the Emergency Response Centre to transmit a callback request to the STUK emergency contact.

When reporting an abnormal incident, provide the following information:

  • The responsible party (holder of the safety licence) and radiation safety officer
  • Name and contact information of the person making the report
  • Time and place of the incident
  • Description of the incident
  • Information on persons exposed to danger and their possible radiation exposure
  • The immediate measures taken
  • First estimates of the causes of the incident.

A report made by telephone must be confirmed in writing at a later time. Incidents other than severe abnormal incidents can also be reported in writing.

Which incidents must be reported?

According to Section 17 of the Radiation Decree, the Radiation and Nuclear Safety Authority shall be notified of the following without delay:

  • any abnormal incident pertaining to the use of radiation that is substantially detrimental to safety at the place where the radiation is used or in its environs
  • any disappearance, theft or other loss of a radiation source such that it ceases to be in the possession of the licensee
  • any other abnormal observation or information of essential significance for the radiation safety of workers or the environment.

Additionally, abnormal incidents in the use of radiation include, for example:

  • in industry and research
    • lost or stolen radiation source, appliance or transport package
    • found radiation source, appliance or transport package
    • damaged gamma radiography source (e.g. radiation source becomes disconnected or stuck in the guide tube)
    • severe contamination
    • radioactive release that exceeds the allowed limits
    • leaking sealed source
    • damaged radiation source shield (e.g. as a result of a fire)
    • neglecting the safety regulations (e.g. a maintenance worker enters the silo when the radiation source shutter is open)
    • transportation of a radiation source cannot be completed
  • in medical use of radiation
    • accidental exposure of the patient’s assistant, the wrong patient or a worker
    • significant over- or underdose (e.g. as a result of incorrect dose planning, excessive interventional radiology exposure or wrong radiopharmaceuticals)
    • significant unplanned exposure of the lower abdomen of a pregnant patient

The responsible party’s obligation to prepare a report and the content of this report are specified in more detail in Guide ST 1.6. Further information on reporting radiotherapy-related incidents is presented in Guide ST 2.1. More information on reporting abnormal incidents in medical X-ray diagnostics is presented in Guide ST 3.3, which specifies, for example, which abnormal incidents can be compiled into one yearly report. For abnormal incidents related to medical devices and supplies, an additional emergency report must be submitted to Valvira (National Supervisory Authority for Welfare and Health).

Why must abnormal incidents be reported?

The obligation to report abnormal incidents to the Radiation and Nuclear Safety Authority is set forth in Section 17 of the Radiation Decree. The Radiation and Nuclear Safety Authority compiles statistics of the abnormal incidents that occur in Finland and publishes summaries of incidents to other radiation users with the purpose of preventing similar incidents in the future. Summaries of abnormal incidents are presented in the yearly reports on the use of radiation, for example. The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) compiles reports on abnormal incidents that occur in its member states. Significant Finnish abnormal incidents are also reported to the IAEA.