Exemption Levels

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The determination by a regulatory body that a source or practice activity involving radiation may not be subject to some or all aspects of regulatroy control.

There is some confusion on the use of the word "exemption": In Switzerland, the exemption limit (denoted LE) is used to define if a material is radioactive or not. It’s not related to the use of the word "exemption" linked to TRANSPORT (IAEA Safety Guide No. RS-G-1.7, Application of the Concepts of Exclusion, Exemption and Clearance, Vienna: International Atomic Energy Agency, 2004). The Swiss word "exemption" is equivalent to the IAEA term "clearance"

Note on terminology:

Exemption [Swiss LE] = Clearance [IAEA] = free release

Authorization [Swiss LA] = Exemption [IAEA]

See Clearance

Values established by a regulatory body and expressed in terms of activity concentration, total activity, dose rate or radiation energy, at or below which a source of radiation may be granted exemption from regulatory control without further consideration as notification, registration or licensing.

In 1996, EC and IAEA published Basic Safety Standards (BSS): “Council Directive 96/29/EURATOM of 13 May 1996 laying down basic safety standards for the protection of health of workers and the general public against the dangers arising from ionizing radiation”



“International Basic Safety Standards for Protection against Ionizing Radiation and for the Safety of Radiation Sources” (February 1996)


Both BSS contain the same guidance exemption levels for activity concentrations and activities for 297 radionuclides, based on the EC report “Principles and Methods for Establishing Concentrations and Quantities (Exemption values) Below which Reporting is not Required in the European Directive” (1993) which explains the scenarios and parameters used.


An IAEA Draft DS379 from Jan. 2010 is accessible at


General information: http://www-ns.iaea.org/standards/review-of-the-bss.htm

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