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Radiation Protection Office


Welcome to the website of the Radiation Protection Office, this website is the first point of contact for all those involved in work with radioactivity in University Collece Cork. The use of radiation introduces both unique risks for students and staff at UCC along with new technologies and techniques for communications, teaching and research. These risks need to be appropriately mitigated and managed to ensure that everyone is kept safe and that there is no damage to the surrounding environment. The Radiation Protection Office covers safety for both ionising and non-ionising radiation, both kinds of radiation can be produced by both natural and artificial sources. 

In the case of Ionising radiation, people can be exposed to radiation from radioactive sources such as uranium or tritium, artifical sources include devices such as x-ray equipment that find application in medicine, research and industrial contexts. The use of ionising radiation is regulated to ensure the safety of those affected, the irish legislation that covers the safe use of ionising radiation is :

  1. Radiologocial Protection Act 1991 with its amendments which establishes the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) as the regulator for ionising radiation and provides the legal basis for radiation protection in ireland
  2. Ionising Radiation Regulations S.I. 30 of 2019 (IRR19) which amend the previous laws and regulations on the use of ionising radiation.
  3. Regulations governing medical exposure S.I. 256 of 2018 which govern the exposure limits and safety requirements for medical exposures to ionising radiation.

For more information please use the ionising radiation link below.

Non ionising radiation can also pose a hazard, many research and industrial processes generate electromagnetic fields that in some cases can have negative effects on health or can cause injury. Common sources of non ionising radiation include the Sun, telecommunications, lasers, infrared equipment and UV devices that can be used in sterilisation. Over exposure to non ionising radiation can cause a number of different health outomces, some of the most common are burns to the skin and eyes. A familiar example is over exposure to sunlight without adaquate UV protection, this can cause burns to the skin that go unnoticed until they've already developed. The regulator for the use of non-ionising radiation is the HSA and the primary laws governing the safe use of non ionising radiation are :

  1. Safety, Health and Welfare at Work Act 2005 along with amendments, 
  2. Amendment to the above Act S.I. 176 of 2010 which covers artificial optical radiation in the workplace.
  3. Amendment to the above Act S.I. 337 of 2016 which deals with the electromagnetic fields.

For more information on the use of non ionising radiation in UCC please use the non ionising radiation link below.

For queries, information and assistance please direct your emails to Dr. Tom Dowdall at or call +353 (0)21 490 2624.

About the R.P.O.

A Brief History

The Radiation Protection Office (RPO) has been operating in University College Cork since 1978 when it was set up by then President, Donal McCarthy. Professor William Reville was College Radiation Protection Officer from 1978-2012, after this Dr. Andy Ruth was appointed his successor from 2012-2021. In 2021 Dr. Tom Dowdall was appointed as the Radiation Protection Officer for University College Cork.

The RPO was located in the Honan Biological Institute (Biology Building) on the main campus from 1978-2001. It was then located in the Lee Maltings Complex but has now rejoined main campus and is situated in the Kane Building.

From 1978-1993 the RPO dealt only with ionising radiation, but in 1993 its brief was extended to cover non-ionising radiation.


Radiation Protection Office

Kane Building 1.16B

University College Cork

College Road, Cork


Radiation Protection Officer

Dr Tom Dowdall

Department of Physics, Room 116B, Kane Building, University College Cork, College Road, Cork

Office of the Vice President for Research and Innovation

Tel: +353(0)21 490 2624



The mission of the Radiation Protection Office is to ensure that the structures and procedures deemened neccessary by the Governing body are observed to make sure that college staff and students are capable of adequately protecting themselves of the hazards of both ionising and non-ionising radiation.

Radiation Protection Office

An Oifig um Chosaint Radaíochta

Kane Building 1.16B, University College Cork, College Road, Cork