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Geotechnical measurements Use Licence

The geotechnical measurement industry uses radiation sources for a range of purposes, including:

  • density/moisture measurements for road base preparation
  • density measurement for testing asphalt compaction
  • moisture measurement for testing soil hydrology.

The use of radiation sources to carry out a radiation practice is regulated under the Radiation Safety Act 1999 to minimise the risks associated with radiation. This includes portable density and moisture gauges used for geotechnical measurements.

Geotechnical measurement equipment includes:

  • Cs-137 and Am-241/Be in a portable density/moisture gauge
  • Cs-137 in a portable density gauge
  • Am-241/Be in a portable moisture gauge.

Know which form you need?

This page contains the following geotechnical measurements Use Licence application form:

If you are unsure which form you need to complete, including the required supporting documentation, please read on.

Who needs this licence?

You will need this licence if you seek to use a radiation source for geotechnical measurement.

People using portable density/moisture gauges for geotechnical measurement include:

  • geotechnicians
  • engineers
  • field engineers.

You do not need to apply for a Use Licence if you are helping a licence holder to use the gauge. The Use Licensee will need to personally supervise these activities.

Responsibilities of a use licensee

As part of your responsibilities as a Use Licensee you will need to:

  • only use a radiation source for the practice described in your use licence
  • only use a radiation source if the Possession Licensee has specified that you may
  • comply with the Possession Licensee’s approved Radiation Safety and Protection Plan for the radiation practice and your individual responsibilities detailed in it.

You are required to comply with Radiation Safety Act 1999.

Apply for a geotechnical measurement use licence

Application for a licence to use a radiation source (PDF 964 kB)

Use this form if you seek to use a portable density/moisture gauge for geotechnical measurement.

Your application needs to include:

  • 2 proof of identity documents
  • verification that you have completed a radiation safety course approved by Radiation Health
  • a certified copy of your qualifications and training
  • work visa and immigration papers (if applicable)
  • Certificate of competency awarded in the last 2 years (signed by a Use Licensee who is approved by Radiation Health)
  • evidence of your experience using the radiation source, either: OR
    • a copy of an equivalent licence issued by another Australian jurisdiction (needs to be current).

Licence duration

A Use Licence can be for 1, 2 or 3 years.

Renewal applications can be made 60 days before your licence expires. You will be sent a reminder and renewal application form before your licence expires.


You will need to pay a licence fee. If you do not hold a current licence you will also need to pay an application fee.

See schedule of fees to determine the fee you will need to pay.

Required training and competency

You will need to demonstrate that you have undergone both theoretical and practical training using the radiation source safely and effectively for geotechnical measurement.

Knowledge and practical competencies

To be granted a Use Licence you will need to have both basic and specific knowledge of radiation safety and protection for geotechnical measurement.

Knowledge competencies for radiation safety and protection include:

  • the properties and effects of ionising radiation
  • principles of radiation protection
  • principles of personal radiation monitoring.

Practical competencies for the safe use of radiation sources include:

  • assess and reassess risks and hazards during radiation use and transport
  • operate the radiation source using correct and safe methods
  • use and care for personal protective equipment, safety devices and radiation monitoring equipment
  • conduct routine maintenance of equipment and devices
  • measure, monitor, and interpret radiation measurements
  • conduct operational and functional checks on equipment and associated devices
  • store and transport radioactive substances
  • maintain security of radioactive substances
  • incident response.

Training record

You can submit your training records as part of the evidence of your supervised experience using the radiation source for geotechnical measurement.

If you choose to submit your training record you will need to ensure it includes the following information:

  • type of service
  • when it was done (date and duration)
  • context of the service (for example: agriculture, civil engineering)
  • supervisor name and licence number.

Your supervisor will determine when you are considered competent to perform geotechnical measurements. At a minimum, you need to have completed 20 hours using the portable density/moisture gauge for geotechnical measurements.

Last updated: 1 April 2022