The Radiation Protection Element (RPE) was established on October 1, 1986 to consolidate radiation oversite responsibilities of several state agencies, commissions and boards. There were several factors that led to the formation of RPE, among them:
- confronting the possibility of an accident at any of the nuclear power plants in New Jersey;
- the need to register and inspect the increasing number of x-ray machines, other radiation-producing devices, and radioactive materials users in the state;
- the need to accredit the individuals who operate radiation-producing devices and use radioactive materials in the medical field;
- the need to monitor, and in some cases clean up, contaminated industrial facilities; and
- the need to protect the environment from the release of hazardous substances.
RPE is nationally recognized as a leader in remote monitoring of nuclear power stations, emergency preparedness, inspecting and licensing users of X-ray machines and radioactive materials. The Element has trained staff which enforces radiation protection laws and regulations and is equipped to respond to radioactive source emergencies. The Element is divided into 3 distinct Bureaus:
- Bureau of Environmental Radiation which is responsible for the licensing and inspection of radioactive material users, decommissioning and clean-up of radioactively contaminated sites and implementation of the radon certification program for measurement and mitigation businesses and testers
- Bureau of Nuclear Engineering which is responsible for radiological emergency preparedness to protect the public in the event of a nuclear emergency and environmental monitoring of the environs surrounding New Jersey’s nuclear power plant sites.
- Bureau of X-Ray Compliance which is responsible for registering and inspecting all x-ray machines and licensing all radiation technologists performing x-ray and nuclear medicine studies in New Jersey.