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Peter Burns
Vice-Chairman 53rd session
Chairman 54th and 55th sessions

Peter Burns was educated at the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology where he was awarded a Fellowship Diploma in Applied Physics in 1967.

In 1968 he commenced work as a health physicist at the Commonwealth X-ray & Radium Laboratory in the Radiation Protection Section and provided a radiation protection advisory service for users of irradiating apparatus and radioactive materials.  This included site visits to hospitals, industries and mines for the measurement and assessment of radiation hazards. In 1975 he became leader of the Radionuclide Metrology Group at the Australian Radiation Laboratory (ARL), maintaining and developing absolute and secondary techniques for the standardisation of radionuclides. In 1984 he began work on the measurement of the residual contamination and assessment of the radiological significance of radioactive contamination at former United Kingdom atomic weapons test site at Maralinga.  He was Health Physics Auditor for the Maralinga Rehabilitation Program until the project finished in 2000.  In 1991 he was appointed leader of the Health Physics Group at ARL, dealing with the measurement of radiation sources in the environment and in occupational situations and the assessment of the health consequences of exposure to such sources.  He was also responsible for the development of recommendations, codes of practice, regulation and legislation for the control of radiation sources.  He remained involved in these areas of work after his appointment as Head of the Scientific Services Section at ARL in 1995 and after moving to his present post as Director of the Environmental and Radiation Health Branch, Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Agency (ARPANSA) in 1999.

Between 1997 and 1999, Mr Burns was a Member of the ANSTO (Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation) Safety Review Committee (Deputy Chair 1998/1999), and in 1998 he was elected a Fellow of the Australasian Radiation Protection Society. From 1998 - 1999 he was the Australian member of the IAEA Advisory Commission on Safety Standards.  Since 1998 he has been a member of the Victorian State Government Radiation Advisory Committee and the Australian representative to the United Nations Scientific Committee on the Effects of Atomic Radiation (UNSCEAR). Since 2000 he has acted as Registrar of the Australasian Radiation Protection Society.  On 11 June 2001 he was awarded the Public Service Medal in the Queen's Birthday Honours for outstanding public service in the fields of environmental and radiation safety.

Peter Burns was the Director of the Environmental and Radiation Health Branch, Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Agency (ARPANSA), and since November 2008 he has been acting CEO of ARPANSA. He was Chairman for the 54th (2006) and 55th (2007) sessions of UNSCEAR.

Last updated: Friday, 24 January 2014