Lamps containing Krypton 85 (Kr-85)
About 2% of the lamps sold on the European market contain low levels of radioactive material. The radionuclides in these lamps are tritium (H-3), Krypton 85 (Kr-85) and isotopes of thorium (Th-228 and Th-232). The manufacturing, transport and disposal of these lamps are covered by regulations aimed at minimising the hazard that radioactivity may potentially pose to human health.
Krypton gas containing Kr-85 is used as a starting aid in High Intensity Discharge lamps and electrodeless induction lamps and is generally mixed with argon and/or neon. Public Health England (formerly known as the UK Health Protection Agency) have produced an interesting report titled “Assessment of the Radiological Impact of the Recycling and Disposal of Light Bulbs Containing Tritium, Krypton-85 and Radioisotopes of Thorium” if you want to learn more about this subject area.
The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has put in place an exemption from the requirement to perform a prior notification of specified work under the Ionising Radiations Regulations 1999 where the only work with ionising radiations is the handling, use, holding, storage, transport and disposal of lamps containing Kr-85.
This exemption is conditional and only applies where the total radioactive content of Kr-85 in lamps at premises under the control of the radiation employer or in a vehicle under the control of the radiation employer is 200 MBq or less (<2E+08 Bq Kr-85). 200 MBq Kr-85 equates to about 40,000 lamps so if you only have a few Kr-85 lamps then the exemption is likely to apply to your business.
A copy of the exemption certificates covering the UK are available below:
- “The Ionising Radiations Regulations 1999 Certificate of Exemption No 1 of 2013”
- “The Ionising Radiations Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2000 Certificate of Exemption No 1 of 2013”
If you require any further information on this topic area then please feel free to contact us.