Frequently Asked Questions

Answer: PNRA is established to regulate nuclear safety and radiation protection in Pakistan in order to protect the radiation workers, general public and the environment from the harmful effects of ionizing radiation.
Answer: Any individual or organization who intends to utilize nuclear material or radioactive sources has to seek permission/license from PNRA.
Answer: PNRA has a total of six (06) offices across Pakistan with its Headquarters based in Islamabad having three regional Directorates namely Regional Nuclear Safety Directorate - I, II   III located in Islamabad, Chashma and Karachi respectively, and three Regional Nuclear Safety Inspectorates - I, II   III are located in Peshawar, Multan and Quetta respectively. Their addresses and contact details are available at PNRA website.
Answer: No, PNRA does not regulate non-ionizing radiation.
Answer: All nuclear and radiation facilities/activities including Nuclear Power Plants, Research Reactors, Nuclear Medical Centers, X-ray Facilities, Radiation Sources used in Industry and Agriculture Sector, etc. should be registered/licensed with PNRA.
Answer: Yes, PNRA offers fellowship programs for MS degree in various disciplines at PIEAS/KINPOE when required. PNRA publishes advertisements in the leading national newspapers and also uploads it on PNRA website. The advertisements provide all details regarding: how and when to apply, eligibility criteria, whom to contact, etc.
Answer: Yes, vacancies of various technical and non-technical disciplines at PNRA are advertised through the leading national newspapers and through PNRA website from time to time, as per need and requirements.
Answer: Yes, PNRA has established a National Institute of Safety and Security (NISAS) to impart trainings to PNRA, its licensees and other national stakeholders in fields of nuclear safety/security and radiation protection.
Answer: No. Since these diagnostic techniques do not involve ionizing radiations, therefore, they do not pose any hazards to human health due to ionizing radiation.
Answer: Public should avail medical examination involving ionizing radiation such as Conventional X-ray, Dental X-ray, CT Scan, Angiography, Fluoroscopy, Mammography, etc. from PNRA licensed facilities because such facilities ensure the protection of patient by exposing the relevant organ only without providing undue exposure. Moreover, all necessary safety measures as recommended by PNRA are also employed.
Answer: Yes, PNRA has public awareness program under which it conducts seminars and workshops at various public sector departments, educational institutes and universities, thereby, enlightening them with the application of ionizing radiation in everyday life; associated hazards; and the means of protection. Relevant material regarding public awareness is also available on PNRA website.
Answer: Radiation is energy that moves from one place to another. Light, sound, heat, and X-rays are examples of radiation. Broadly, radiation are classified into two types;
  1. Ionizing radiation means radiation that can cause ionization of atoms or molecules such as Alpha, Beta, Gamma, X-rays, Neutrons, etc.
  2. Non-ionizing radiation means radiation that do not cause ionization of atom or molecule such as radio waves, microwaves, ultraviolet radiation, etc.
Answer: Ionizing radiation are colorless, odorless, tasteless and have no physical form, so their presence cannot be felt by human being. However, ionizing radiation can be detected by specialized instruments.
Answer: Natural background radiation means the radiation level associated with natural sources or any other sources in the environment that cannot be controlled. Major sources of natural background radiation are:
  1. Cosmic radiation originating from celestial events in the universe.
  2. Terrestrial radiation originating from natural deposits of uranium, potassium and thorium which are in the process of natural decay.
Answer: Since, natural radioactivity is present everywhere i.e. in environment, soil, food, building materials and even in our own bodies, therefore, we cannot prevent exposure from natural background radiation.
Answer: The radioactive material and devices containing material are identified through following radiation warning signs displayed on such material and devices.
Answer: Televisions having Cathode Ray Tube (CRT) emit ionizing radiation whereas, TV sets having Liquid Crystal Displays (LCD), Light Emitting Diodes (LEDs) and Plasma do not emit ionizing radiation.
Answer: X-ray is an effective diagnostic tool and may not be dangerous to human health if used with proper justification and recommended by medical and health professional. Unjustified or repeated exposure to X-rays should be avoided as it may affect human health.
Answer: No, handling of luggage passed through X-ray scanner do not pose any risk to human health because it only helps to identify unauthorized objects/items in the luggage.
Answer: You can protect yourself from hazards of ionizing radiation by adopting following precautions:
  1. Spend minimum possible time near the radiation source;
  2. Stay away, as much as possible, from the radiation source; and
  3. Use protective material to protect yourself from ionizing radiation.
Answer: The possible routes of intake are:
  1. through consumption of contaminated food stuff (ingestion);
  2. by inhaling contaminated air through respiration (inhalation); and
  3. by absorbing contamination through skin (absorption).
Answer: Edible and non edible items are irradiated to kill harmful bacteria/pathogens present in these items and to extend their shelf life.
Answer: No. Consumption of irradiated edible items is not injurious to health as it does not make these items radioactive rather it kills harmful bacteria/pathogens in such items. It also extends the shelf life of the irradiated items.
Answer: A radiation worker is any individual who is responsible for performing activities involving ionizing radiation.
Answer: Yes. PNRA has defined annual dose limit for radiation workers. Such limits are defined to minimize the probability of radiation effects to human health.
Answer: The annual dose limit for radiation worker is 20 mSv and 1 mSv for general public, as specified in PNRA Regulations PAK/904 available at Regulations.
Answer: Yes, PNRA has established monitoring laboratories for the measurement of radiation in the environment. These labs are equipped with relevant monitoring devices like Gamma Spectrometry System, Liquid Scintillation Analyzer, Alpha Spectrometry System, Radon Monitors and necessary equipment for collection, preparation and analysis of environmental samples.
Answer: Radon is a colorless, odorless, radioactive gas. It occurs naturally in the environment and mainly comes from the natural decay of Uranium. Depending on the amount of Radon inhaled, it can damage the cell lining of lungs and may lead to lung cancer. There is always a risk of Radon exposure in dwellings; especially in the basements which lack proper ventilation.
Answer: No, nuclear and radiation facilities in Pakistan are under strict regulatory control. These facilities do not pose any health hazards to the public residing around these facilities. Continuous environmental monitoring is performed around major nuclear facilities by the operator for the safety of public and the environment. It is also verified by PNRA.
Answer: NORM is an acronym for Naturally Occurring Radioactive Material. It mainly include the elements of Uranium (U-238) and Thorium (Th-232) decay series. International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) defines NORM as, "materials that contain no significant amount of radionuclide other than naturally occurring".
Answer: Any person or organization intending to use ionizing radiation for any purpose must obtain a license from PNRA and has to comply with PNRA regulatory requirements.
Answer: The procedure for obtaining PNRA license is explained in PNRA Regulations PAK/908, available on PNRA website.
Answer: You can obtain application forms for registration/licensing of his facility or activity from the relevant regional office of PNRA located at Islamabad, Karachi, Peshawar, Quetta, Multan and Chashma or can download these forms from PNRA website and apply for registration/licensing by submitting the filled-in application form along with fee and necessary information in the respective regional office.
Answer: No, for each purpose and type of the facility, duly filled-in, separate registration/licensing forms along with necessary documents are required. However, one person can apply for obtaining more than one license as specified in PNRA Regulations PAK/908.
Answer: Licensing fee applicable to different facilities/activities are documented in PNRA Regulations PAK/900, which is available on PNRA website. The applicant or licensee should pay the licensing fee in the form of bank draft in favor of Director Finance, PNRA or through Challan form available at PNRA Website which can be paid at any Askari Bank Limited branch across the country.
Answer: Yes. PNRA grants license on annual basis, however, on specific request and upon fulfillment of all regulatory requirements and submission of license renewal fee as notified by the Authority in PNRA Regulations PAK/900, the license may be renewed for a maximum period of upto five (05) years.
Answer: Yes. The license may be surrendered, withdrawn, or transferred after obtaining prior approval from PNRA by submitting written request in this regard.
Answer: All these are various types of authorizations issued by PNRA to the licensees of radiation facilities and activities and these are defined as:
  1. Permit: An authorization issued in the name of a licensee to facilitate the procurement of a radiation source. It is issued upon request and it declares the competency and credibility of the concerned licensee to acquire and use the radiation source for the intended purpose.
  2. No Objection Certificate (NOC): It is issued in the name of a licensee only, for facilitating clearance of a consignment involving radiation source from Pakistan Customs.
  3. License: An authorization issued to a person to operate the radiation facility or carry out the activity involving radiation source for a specific time and for a specific purpose.
Answer: Any person desirous to import/export a radiation source (radiation generators and radioactive material) or a device containing radioactive material requires an NOC for such purpose from PNRA. It is mandatory for getting clearance from Pakistan Customs at the time of import/export. Such NOCs are issued to PNRA licensees only. For details regarding process of obtaining NOC, respective Regional offices of PNRA located at Islamabad, Karachi, Peshawar, Quetta, Multan and Chashma may be contacted.
Answer: The licensee may apply to the relevant/nearest PNRA Regional Directorates by submitting an application along with the complete justification for need of duplicate document as required.
Answer: Yes. However, prior authorization/approval from PNRA is required to be obtained for such purpose.
Answer: X-ray equipment can be installed in residential areas provided that it is licensed with PNRA and comply with all applicable safety requirements.
Answer: No, PNRA approval is not required for the appointment of RPO. However, the appointment should be made in accordance with PNRA approved qualification criteria (given in PNRA Regulations PAK/904).
Answer: No, such apparatuses do not require any registration/licensing from PNRA because they do not emit ionizing radiation.
Answer: Yes, PNRA issues such certificates upon request of the exporters to facilitate the export process. These certificates are issued after performing radiometric analysis of edible and non-edible items.
Answer: The radiation safety measures mainly include:
  1. Shielding design
  2. Provision of personal protective equipment
  3. Personal and workplace monitoring (through Film Badge or TLD)
  4. Health surveillance
Answer: : PNRA could be contacted either through National Radiation Emergency Coordination Center (NRECC) via its toll free number (0800-77766) which is available round the clock, or through other contact numbers mentioned at PNRA website. Moreover, any regional office of PNRA may also be contacted to discuss the concerns, queries and guidance regarding protection from ionizing radiation.
Answer: A nuclear power plant uses nuclear fuel to generate heat for production of electricity, whereas, a thermal power plant burns fossil fuel such as coal, natural gas, or furnace oil for production of electricity.
Answer: PNRA ensure safety of Nuclear Power Plants through regulatory inspections which are conducted by resident inspectors stationed at NPP site. The inspectors verify compliance of NPPs against the safety requirements prescribed in PNRA regulations.
Answer: Yes. Radiation levels are measured directly through radiation monitoring devices installed around nuclear power plants or research reactors.
Answer: Yes, Nuclear Power Plants discharge radioactive effluents (liquid and gaseous) into the environment in a controlled manner. These discharges are far below the regulatory limits imposed by PNRA in accordance with the International Standards.
Answer: Radioactive effluents discharged from such facilities, if remain within limits set by PNRA, do not pose any additional radiation risk to the public living in the vicinity and the environment.
Answer: The risk of health effects due to Nuclear Power Plants, if operated within safety limits set by PNRA in accordance with the international standards, is minimal. Therefore, the expansion of Nuclear Power Program may not pose any additional risk to the public.