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The Non-Ionizing Radiation Law in Israel

 

The Non-ionizing Radiation Law formulates instructions regarding the installation and operation of radiation-emitting sources – device, appliance or technological system – by whose activity non-ionizing radiation is or may be emitted.

 

The law was promulgated with the following aims:

To protect the public and the environment from the effects of exposure to non-ionizing radiation.

  1. To regulate the installation and operation of radiation-emitting sources (e.g. cellular antennas, transmission equipment, transmission and distribution facilities of the electricity company).
  2. To regulate radiation measurement services,.

 

The law does not apply to radiation sources intended for medical or occupational use, in, or those associated with security or operational activities. Moreover, the law includes an addendum that details the radiation sources for which no permit is required (e.g. mobile/wireless phones, halogen lamps, and household microwave ovens).The Non-ionizing Radiation Law is innovative particularly on the following issues:

  1. Regularization of the subject of non-ionizing radiation through law – until the enactment of this law the Ministry of Environmental Protection operated according to the Pharmacists' regulations (Radioactive Elements and their Products) – 1980.  These regulations were initially intended to regulate the use of ionizing radiation and radioactive materials, thus the need to regulate the issue of non-ionizing in a separate law.
  2. The precautionary principle – the precautionary principle was incorporated into Israeli legislation for the first time.

 

The law stipulates that the Minister of Environmental Protection must formulate regulations to be approved by the Knesset Committees for Internal Affairs and the Environment. The regulations pertaining to this law were published in 2009. It should be pointed out that these regulations do not deal with the maximal permissible levels of exposure to non-ionizing radiation emanating from the various radiation sources.

 

The following topics will be reviewed in this section:

Purposes of the Law

The Non-ionizing radiation law was passed in 2006 and came into effect in January 2007.

 

The law was promulgated in order to:

  • Protect the public and the environment from the effects of exposure to non-ionizing radiation.
  • Regulate the installation and operation of radiation-emitting sources (defined by the law as 'a device, appliance or technological system that by virtue of its operation emits or may emit non-ionizing radiation, excluding radiation equipment used for medical purposes'). Examples of non-ionizing radiation-emitting sources relevant to this law are: transmission stations, cellular antennas, electric grid installations.
  • Regulate the provision of radiation-measurement services.

Wording of the Law (pdf document for downloading - Hebrew)

 

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Permits required by the Law

The Law stipulates that in order to install a source of radiation, to operate a source of radiation, or to provide radiation measurement services, it is necessary to receive prior authorization from the Ministry of Environmental Protection.  Permits are granted for a limited period and must comply with certain conditions.

The validity of the permit, depending on the different types of radiation sources, is stipulated in the Regulations.

  • Installation permit – In order to obtain a permit to install a radiation-emitting source, certain conditions detailed in the Law must be complied with. Among them: evaluation of maximal levels of exposure anticipated from the sources of radiation, based on the technical specifications, operation of the radiation sources for a limited period and performance of trial measurements, over a period defined by the Law.
  • Operations permit – This is the second stage: subject to the validity of the measurements performed during the period allocated by the above Installation Permit, a permit must be obtained to operate the radiation sources for a defined number of years.  This permit is subject to the conditions stipulated by the Law.
  • Radiation Services permit – not everyone is entitled to measure radiation.  In order to perform this activity, one must obtain a radiation measurement services permit according to the Law.  This permit, too, must comply with certain conditions, such as professional training and possession of the appropriate equipment and means to provide the service.

 

Forms to apply for permits to install and operate radiation sources (Hebrew), and further information on the procedure for obtaining a permit, may be found on the Ministry of Environmental Protection Website (Hebrew).

 

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Additional issues dealt with in the Law

The Law deals with additional issues such as – conditions under which the operation of a radiation source may be interrupted, a permit may be revoked, cancelled or suspended, and the permit holder may be required to register technical specifications, results of measurements, etc. pertaining to the radiation source and the provision of measurement services.  Violation of the law is subject to criminal justice (imprisonment or penalties). In addition, the Law includes instructions regarding the liability of officers within the corporation.

 

The Law also refers to the duty to inform the public.  Topics on which the public must be informed:

Applications for installation permits, assessment of exposure levels, test results for radiation sources requiring a permit, results of measurements of radiation created during the operation of the radiation sources (including periodic measurements), location of radiation sources requiring a permit, and list of permit holders and permits that have been revoked or suspended.

 

According to the non-ionizing radiation regulations, this information must be published on the Ministry of Environmental Protection Website and updated at least monthly (para. 12).

 

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Application of the Law – when does the Law not apply?        

The following radiation sources or activities are exempted from the Law:

  • Radiation sources for medical purposes (para.2)
  • Security activities or operations as detailed in the Law (para. 31a)
  • Radiation services in the workplace (subject to the conditions detailed in the Law - para. 31b)

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Radiation sources exempt from obtaining a permit

An addendum to the Law (pdf document for downloading - Hebrew) lists the radiation sources not requiring a permit for installation and operation.  These include, inter alia, halogen lamps, laser pointers, barcode readers, microwave ovens, wireless or mobile phones.

 

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Non-ionizing radiation regulations – 2009

By virtue of the Non-ionizing Radiation Law – 2006, the Minister of Environmental Protection was empowered to formulate regulations for the implementation of all aspects of the Law.  On 19.1.2009, the Non-ionizing Radiation Regulations – 2009 were published, as formulated by the Minister.

 

Among other issues, the regulations stipulate the fee required in order to apply for a permit, the period of validity of the permit, requirements for annual radiation measurements and reporting their results, and conditions for the operation of service permits – including certification, professional training, possession of appropriate measuring equipment, as well as publication of the information on the Ministry of Environmental Protection Website updated monthly.

 

Regulations regarding the maximal permissible levels of radiation exposure to humans from a radiation source have not been formulated to date.

 

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References

 

 17.2.16