In Finland, the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health has supreme authority in supervising compliance with the Radiation Act, and it directs the protection of the public, workers and patients from harmful radiation.
The Ministry of Social Affairs and Health - drafts legislation and other guidance on radiation protection - issues opinions on radiation protection matters - monitors and directs the development and implementation of radiation matters.
Radiation protection is governed by law
Radiation protection is governed by the Radiation Act. The government submitted a proposal for a new Radiation Act to Parliament on 28 March 2018. Parliament adopted the new Radiation Act and certain other related acts on 29 September 2018. The acts will enter into force on 15 December 2018.
- Radiation Act (In Finnish)
The new Radiation Act and secondary legislation issued under it will implement the European Union’s new Basic Safety Standards Directive concerning radiation protection. The implementation of the Directive requires Finland to make many structural and terminological changes to its radiation legislation. Therefore, an overall reform of radiation legislation is justified in connection with the implementation of the Directive. In the reform, amendment needs identified by regulatory authorities in their control activities will also be taken into account.
We have compiled a list of frequently asked questions and answers about the Radiation Act reform.
The population is protected against both ionizing and non-ionizing radiation. For more information on radiation and its effects, please visit the website of the Radiation and Nuclear Safety Authority (STUK).
Authorities’ responsibilities in radiation protection
The Radiation and Nuclear Safety Authority (STUK) is the main operator and supervisor in radiation protection matters and other issues governed by radiation legislation. STUK operates under the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health.
The Advisory Board for Radiation Safety operates under the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health. It serves as a coordinating and expert body in the field of radiation safety. It monitors general developments in radiation safety and issues opinions concerning radiation safety.
The Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment is responsible for nuclear energy use and the related issues of radiation safety at nuclear facilities and the command and control of nuclear safety.
The aim of the Finnish Research Programme on Nuclear Waste Management (KYT) is to maintain national know-how in nuclear waste management and to promote collaboration between authorities, nuclear industry and scientists. The Ministry of Social Affairs and Health monitors research on the peaceful use of nuclear energy, particularly from the viewpoint of radiation protection.
In accordance with the Government Programme, Finland will continue and reform its neighbouring area cooperation with Russia. Nuclear safety is one of the key objectives of this cooperation.
An appropriation of EUR 1.5 million allocated to neighbouring area cooperation has been transferred from the Ministry for Foreign Affairs to the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health for nuclear safety cooperation in north-west Russia.
- Radiation and Nuclear Safety Authority (STUK)
- Health Protection Act 763/1994 (Finlex, in Finnish)
- Nuclear energy (Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment)
- Finnish Research Programme on Nuclear Waste Management
Key decrees on radiation protection
Decrees issued by the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health further specify the provisions of the Radiation Act.
The website of the Radiation and Nuclear Safety Authority includes a list of key legislation in the field of radiation safety.
The Radiation and Nuclear Safety Authority has compiled a list of links on radiation and nuclear safety legislation on its website.
Links to key legislation on radiation and nuclear safety (STUK, mostly in English, too)
International regulation of radiation protection
As a member of the European Union, Finland has conferred some its legislative powers to the Euratom Community, particularly in the field of ionizing radiation. Euratom drafts Directives that guide radiation protection in EU member states. These Euratom Directives are based on the European Commission’s initiative and adopted by the Council.
Guidelines on the use of iodine in case of a radiation hazard
The Ministry of Social Affairs and Health has prepared guidelines for the use of iodine in case of a radiation hazard. Sheltering indoors is the primary precaution to take in case of a radiation hazard, because it is the most effective way to reduce exposure to radiation. Taking iodine tables is a secondary complimentary precaution recommended for people aged 40 or younger and for pregnant women. The rescue authorities will issue an emergency warning if people should shelter indoors and take iodine tablets.
Helena Korpinen, Senior Specialist, Legal Affairs
Ministry of Social Affairs and Health, Department for Safety, Security and Health / TUTO, Wellbeing and Health Protection Unit / HYT Telephone:0295163317
Mikko Paunio, Senior Ministerial Adviser, Medical Affairs
Ministry of Social Affairs and Health, Department for Safety, Security and Health / TUTO, Wellbeing and Health Protection Unit / HYT Telephone:0295163312