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Penn State University Radionuclide Safety Training. Environmental Health and Safety Radiation Protection 865-6391 Created by Russel O. Dunkelberger II, Revised Sept. 2004. 1. Introduction. Introduction.

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penn state university radionuclide safety training

Penn State UniversityRadionuclide Safety Training

Environmental Health and Safety

Radiation Protection


Created by Russel O. Dunkelberger II, Revised Sept. 2004

  • University rules and Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) regulations require that anyone working with or around ionizing radiation must be instructed about the possible hazards of radiation exposure and the procedures to be used for the safe handling of radioactive materials.
the senior vice president for research and dean of the graduate school
The Senior Vice-President for Research and Dean of the Graduate School:
  • Is the University official responsible to the NRC for assuring that radioactive material is used according to the conditions of the NRC regulations and licenses.
  • Appoints the University Isotopes Committee (UIC) to establish and oversee the policies for the use of radioactive material
members of the uic are
Members of the UIC are:
  • Chair: Craig Baumrucker, PhD; Animal Nutrition and Physiology
  • Jack Brenizer, Ph.D.; Nuclear Engineering
  • Eric Boeldt; Radiation Safety Officer
  • David Gilmour, PhD; Molecular and Cell Biology
  • Andrea Mastro, PhD; Microbiology and Cellular Biology
  • Robert Paulson, PhD; Veterinary Science
  • Catherine Ross, PhD; Nutrition
  • John E. Smith, PhD; Human Nutrition
  • Candice A. Yekel; Director, Office of Regulatory Affairs
ehs radiation protection staff
EHS - Radiation Protection Staff
  • Eric J. Boeldt, Radiation Safety Officer
  • Mark E. Linsley, Associate Health Physicist
  • Health Physics Specialists:
    • Gregory Herman
    • David A. Bertocchi
    • James P. Wiggins
  • Suzanne H. Morlang,Health Physics Assistant
environmental health and safety ehs
Environmental Health and Safety (EHS)
  • Provides radiation safety services including:
    • radiation monitoring
    • radioactive waste disposal
    • assistance with the use of radioactive material
  • Monitors the use of radioactive material for the UIC
  • Radiation protection staff are located at 228 Academic Projects Building
  • EHS offices are at 6 Eisenhower Parking Deck
  • Can be reached AT ANY TIME at 5-6391
nrc regulations
NRC Regulations
  • Available from EHS
    • 10 CFR 19
      • Requirements for instruction of personnel
      • Posting of Notices and inspections
    • 10 CFR 20
      • Standards for radiation protection
form nrc 3 notice to employees
Form NRC-3 “Notice To Employees”
  • Posted in or near all radioactive materials use labs
  • Lists responsibilities of NRC licensees and persons working with radioactive material
  • Provides the address and phone number to contact the NRC
things you should know
Things you should know…
  • Licensed radioactive material may only be used by, or under the direct supervision of, individuals approved by the UIC (almost always permanent professors) or under the specific reactor license.
  • Licensed radioactive material may not be used in tracer studies involving direct release of licensed material to the environment.
  • Radioactive material may not be administered to humans or be added to food, beverage, cosmetic, drug or any other product designed for ingestion or inhalation by, or application to, humans.
more things you should know
More things you should know...
  • Purchases and/or transfers of radioactive material are to be made through EHS. This includes transfers between authorized users at the University as well as between the University and other institutions.
  • If you loan any radioactive material to another lab, call EHS so we can process the transfer.
  • The UIC will not hesitate to impose sanctions on radionuclide users who do not comply with the conditions of their authorizations to use radioactive material.
even more things to know
Even more things to know...
  • Individuals are also subject to civil penalties, if they willfully violate NRC regulations or license conditions.
  • Violations usually result in corrective actions that affect all persons working with radioactive material, not just the individuals responsible for the infractions.
  • If you have questions about the regulations, license conditions or procedures, contact EHS or a member of the University Isotopes Committee for advice.
other regulatory information
Other Regulatory Information
  • The University also has to operate under regulations and licenses issued by the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Resources, Bureau of Radiation Protection. In general, the state regulations are identical to those of the NRC.
  • “The Rules and Procedures for the Use of Radioactive Material at the Pennsylvania State University” contains rules for working with radioactive material. A copy of these rules is provided to laboratory supervisors and is also available for download from
10 cfr 21 notification of defects
10 CFR 21:Notification of Defects
  • NRC licensees are required to identify and evaluate any defects that may potentially be a substantial radiological safety hazard, and any situation that leads to failure to comply with regulations. Such occurrences may need to be reported to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.
  • If you suspect that any facility, activity or component fails to comply with federal regulations or creates a substantial radiological safety hazard, contact EHS immediately!
A = mass number = Z + N = total number of protons + neutrons

N = number of neutrons

Z = atomic number = number of protons

X = element





A = 14 protons and neutrons

Z = 6 protons

N = 8 neutrons

C = Carbon





radioactive material
Radioactive Material
  • Radioactive material is a solid, liquid or gas compound or mixture in which some of the atoms present are radioactive atoms
  • Radioactivity is the natural property of certain nuclides to spontaneously emit energy, in the form of ionizing radiation, in an attempt to become more stable.
  • Radiation is the term given to the energy transmitted by means of particles or waves
  • It can be ionizing or non-ionizing
non ionizing radiation
Non-Ionizing Radiation
  • Examples:
    • Microwaves
    • Sunlight
    • Infrared Waves
    • Radio Waves
    • Lasers
ionizing radiation
Ionizing Radiation
  • Ionizing radiation occurs from the addition or removal of electrons from neutral atoms. Four main types of ionizing radiation are alpha, beta, gamma and neutrons.
alpha radiation
Alpha Radiation ()
  • Helium nucleus
  • 2 protons and 2 neutrons
  • Large, Slow, +2e charge
  • High linear energy transfer (LET)
  • Low penetrability
  • Decay:
    • Po  Pb + He







beta radiation
Beta Radiation ()
  • Electron emitted from nucleus
  • Small, Fast, -1e charge
  • Medium LET
  • Medium penetrability
  • Decay:
    • Neutron converted into a proton and an electron
    • P S + - +1.7 MeV





gamma and x radiation x
Gamma () and X- Radiation (X)
  • Gamma rays and x-rays are photons
  • No mass, no charge, travel at speed of light
  • Low LET
  • High penetrability
  • Commonly accompany other radiation
  • Penetrability can vary; therefore, shielding and detection requirements vary
neutrons n
Neutrons (n)
  • Neutral particle
  • Classified by energy
    • Fast neutrons - energy greater than 0.1 MeV
    • Thermal neutrons - same kinetic energy as gas molecules in the same environment
  • A concern at the nuclear reactor and with soil moisture probes
    • Emission of neutrons accompanies the splitting of Uranium and Plutonium nuclei
linear energy transfer let
Linear Energy Transfer (LET)
  • LET is used to describe the amount of energy imparted locally by ionizing radiation in a target.
  • The higher the value of a particle’s or wave’s LET, the greater the amount of damage that particle could potentially cause to the target.
  • The ability of radiation to penetrate matter.
  • Alpha particles have a low penetrability and can be shielded by a piece of paper.
  • Beta particles have a higher penetrability and are usually shielded with Plexiglas.
  • Gamma rays have the highest penetrability of the three, and are shielded with thick concrete or lead.
let and penetrability
LET and Penetrability
  • On the following diagram, each dot represents a unit of energy deposited. As you will see from the diagram, alpha particles impart a large amount of energy in a short distance. Beta particles impart less energy than alphas, but are more penetrating. Gamma rays impart little energy and are the most penetrating. Remember, gamma and x-rays vary widely in energy. The diagram shows a high energy gamma ray.
radiation units
Radiation Units
  • Exposure
    • Charge produced in air from ionization by gamma and x-rays; Unit: Roentgens, R
  • Radiation Absorbed Dose
    • Energy deposited by any form of ionizing radiationin a unit mass of material; Unit: rad
  • Dose Equivalent
    • Scale for equating relative hazards of various types of ionization in terms of equivalent risk; Unit: rem (1 rem = 1,000 mrem)
radiation units34
Radiation Units
  • Activity
    • Measure of the amount of radioactivity present
    • Units: Curie, Ci; or Becquerel, Bq
      • Becquerel = one decay per second (dps)
      • Curie = dps occurring in the quantity of radon gas in equilibrium with one gram of radium

1 Ci = 2.22 x 1012 dpm = 3.7 x 1010 Bq

1 Ci = 2,220,000 dpm = 37,000 Bq

half life and decay
Half-Life and Decay
  • Each radioactive nuclide has its own unique characteristic pattern of decay, based on:
    • Types (alpha, beta, etc.) and energies of the emission involved
    • Rate of decay, or half-life.
  • A radionuclide’s half-life is the amount of time it takes for one-half of the radioactive atoms present to disintegrate or decay.
decay calculation
Decay Calculation

A = A0e-t

  • Where:

A = Activity at time, t

A0 = Initial activity

 = ln 2 / half-life

t = Elapsed time

  • If you have 1 mCi of P-32 initially, how much P-32 would remain after 8 weeks? Assume P-32 has a half-life of 14 days.
  • A = (1 mCi) e-[(Ln 2 / 2 weeks) (8 weeks)]
  • Note that the half-life of 14 days was converted to 2 weeks, so that the units match with the elapsed time period.
      • A = (1 mCi) e-[(0.693 / 2 weeks) (8 weeks)]
  • A = (1 mCi) e-[(.347 / weeks) (8 weeks)]
  • A = (1 mCi) e-(2.77)
  • A = (1 mCi) (0.0625)
  • A = 0.0625 mCi
is there an easier way
Is There an Easier Way?
  • There sure is! Draw a chart, as shown below, to get a quick estimate of activity remaining at time, t. For 1mCi of P-32,

Elapsed time, t # half-lives Activity

0 weeks 0 1 mCi

2 weeks 1 0.5 mCi

4 weeks 2 0.25 mCi

6 weeks 3 0.125 mCi

8 weeks 4 0.0625 mCi

sources of radiation
Sources of Radiation
  • Average person receives 360 mrem per year
    • Natural Sources 295 mrem (82%)
      • Terrestrial 228 mrem
      • Human Body 40 mrem
      • Cosmic 27 mrem
    • Man-made 65 mrem (18%)
      • Medical 15 mrem
        • (chest x-ray ~10 mrem)
      • Products 10 mrem
        • (tobacco, cosmetics, etc.)
      • Other 2 mrem
        • (occupational, fallout, nuclear power, etc.)
biological effects to typical occupational exposures
Biological Effects to Typical Occupational Exposures

From NRC Regulatory Guide 8.29:

(available at

  • Assessment of cancer risks associated with radiation exposure is projected from doses greater than 10 rem (10,000 mrem)
  • There is no scientific evidence that conclusively proves that lower doses of radiation cause cancer
  • However, for regulatory purposes, the NRC assumes that even small exposures to radiation carry some risk of causing cancer, and that this risk is linear below 50 rem (50,000 mrem)
biological effects to typical occupational exposures42
Biological Effects to Typical Occupational Exposures

From NRC Regulatory Guide 8.29:

  • The risk of developing a fatal cancer per 1 rem (1,000 mrem) of exposure received is assumed to be about 1 in 2,500 (0.04%)
  • Approximately 1 in 5 adults (20%) normally die from cancer from all possible causes (smoking, food, drugs, pollutants, genetic traits, etc.)
  • Therefore, working with radiation may increase your risk of dying of cancer from 20% (no occupational radiation exposure) to 20.04% (1 rem total lifetime occupational radiation exposure)
estimated loss of life expectancy from health risks
Estimated Loss of Life Expectancy from Health Risks*

Health Risk Estimate of Life Expectancy Lost

Smoking 1 pack cigarettes per day 6 years

Being 15% overweight 2 years

Alcohol consumption 1 year

Being in any accident 1 year

Natural hazards 7 days

Medical radiation 6 days

Occupational radiation exposure

300 mrem/year from age 18 to 65 15 days

1000 mrem/year from age 18 to 65 51 days

*Adapted from B.L. Cohen and I.S. Lee, “Catalog of Risks Extended and Updated,” Health Physics, Vol. 61, September 1991.

biological effects to very high levels of radiation exposure
Biological Effects to Very High Levels of Radiation Exposure

For a single exposure to extremely high levels of radiation (>50 rem), the following sequence of events may occur:

  • Latent period - time lag between the radiation event and the first detectable effect
  • Period of demonstrable effects on cells and tissues - discrete effects of radiation exposure may be observed
  • Recovery period - apparent in short-term (days to weeks) effects. May not occur for some residual damage, giving rise to long-term effects
acute biological effects to very high levels of exposure
Acute Biological Effects to Very High Levels of Exposure
  • Common Symptoms 50 rem (50,000 mrem)
    • Nausea and vomiting, malaise and fatigue, increased temperature, blood changes
  • Hemopoietic Syndrome 200 rem (200,000 mrem)

Ablation of bone marrow, death within months, if untreated

  • Gastrointestinal Syndrome 1000 rem (1,000,000 mrem)

Desquamation of intestinal epithelium, death within weeks, if untreated

  • CNS Syndrome 2000 rem (2,000,000 mrem)

Unconsciousness within minutes, death within days, if untreated

  • By comparison, the highest exposure at PSU last year was approximately 0.1 rem above natural background
radiation safety
Radiation Safety
    • Program developed in order to keep doses As Low As is Reasonably Achievable
    • Obtaining higher doses in order to get an experiment done quicker is NOT “reasonable”!
    • Three main ways to keep your doses ALARA: time, distance and shielding
    • Ask EHS for assistance in developing procedures that help keep your doses ALARA.
time distance and shielding
Time, Distance and Shielding
  • Minimize your exposure time
    • Dry runs (without radioactive material)
    • Identify portions of the experiment that can be altered in order to decrease exposure times.
    • Make sure you have all necessary equipment
  • Maximize distance - Inverse square law
    • Doubling distance from source, decreases dose by factor of four
    • Tripling it decreases dose nine-fold
  • Use appropriate shielding
  • High-energy beta emitters (P-32)
    • Plexiglas (acrylic) shielding
    • Do not use only thin lead to shield beta emitters
      • production of bremsstrahlung x-rays
        • low-energy x-rays produced by beta interaction with a high-Z nucleus
        • Can shield with Plexiglas first, then with lead on the outside
  • Gamma emitters (I-125, Cr-51)
    • Lead or leaded acrylic
  • Neutrons
    • hydrogenous material: water, concrete
contamination surveys
Contamination Surveys
  • Required after EVERY use of unsealed radioactive materials - If you don’t have time to survey, you don’t have time to do your experiment!
  • Survey yourself, your benchtop, the floor, the non-radioactive trash and any other area that could potentially become contaminated
  • Use the appropriate instrument for the radionuclide you are using
    • Use the data on the next slide as a guide
what instrument should i use
What Instrument Should I Use?
  • H-3 - always use Liquid Scintillation Counter (LSC) wipe tests
  • C-14, S-35 and P-33 - both LSC wipe tests and a Pancake GM probe
  • P-32 - Pancake GM probe (NaI probe and/or LSC may also be used)
  • I-125 - NaI probe (LSC or Gamma counter may also be used)
  • Use LSC wipe tests to differentiate between fixed and removable contamination
activity calculations
Activity Calculations

Efficiency = cpm / dpm

dpm = cpm / Efficiency

If we detect 2,200 cpm of P-33 with a Pancake GM probe, we can determine the activity. The efficiency for P-33 with a Pancake GM probe is about 10 %.

dpm = 2,200 cpm / 0.10 = 22,000 dpm = 2.2 x 104 dpm

We already know that 1 Ci = 2.22 x 1012 dpm.

2.2 x 104 dpm x (1 Ci / 2.2 x 1012 dpm) = 1 x 10-8 Ci

1 x10-8 Ci x (106Ci / Ci) = 1 x10–2 Ci = 0.01  Ci

activity calculations53
Activity Calculations
  • Your laboratory’s survey meter is calibrated for C-14/S-35, P-32 and/or I-125
  • A “Conversion factor” is listed on the meter’s calibration sticker; this conversion factor is the inverse of the efficiency.
  • If you detect 10,000 cpm of P-32 with a pancake GM probe, and have a conversion factor of 2.2:
  • cpm x conversion factor = dpm
  • 10,000 cpm x 2.2 dpm/cpm = 22,000 dpm P-32
dose limits
Dose Limits
  • Federal, state and University regulations limit the amount of radiation dose allowed to adult and minor radiation workers, members of the public, and the fetus of a declared pregnant radiation worker due to University operations.
dose limits55
Dose Limits
  • Adult Occupational Limit
  • 5000 mrem (5.0 rem) / year
  • Minor Occupational Limit
  • 500 mrem (0.5 rem) / year
  • Member of the Public
  • 100 mrem (0.1 rem) / year
  • Declared Pregnant Radiation Worker’s Fetus
  • 500 mrem (0.5 rem) / pregnancy term
declared pregnant worker
Declared Pregnant Worker
  • It is important to note that a woman is considered pregnant (for NRC license purposes) ONLY IF SHE DECLARES HERSELF SO, IN WRITING, TO THE RADIATION SAFETY OFFICER.
  • A woman may declare or undeclare her pregnancy at any time; it must be in writing to the Radiation Safety Officer.
  • For more information, see NRC Regulatory Guide 8.13 - Instruction Concerning Prenatal Radiation Exposure
dose determination tlds who needs them
Dose Determination TLDs - Who Needs Them?
  • Thermoluminescent dosimeters (TLDs)
    • Anyone likely to receive at least 10 % of the limits
    • Anyone using greater than 1 mCi-hr/week of P-32, or > 0.1 mCi-hr/week of gamma emitters
    • Anyone working at the Breazeale Nuclear Reactor
    • Anyone performing radioiodinations
    • Anyone working with x-ray machines
    • If working with sources >100 mrem/hr at 1 foot
    • NOT assigned to anyone working exclusively with H-3, C-14, S-35, Ca-45 and / or P-33
dose determination bioassays who needs them
Dose Determination Bioassays - Who Needs Them?
  • Bioassays are required of:
    • Anyone performing radioiodinations
    • Anyone using greater than 100 mCi of H-3 at any one time
radioactive material orders
Radioactive Material Orders
  • Must be approved by EHS before being placed
    • For one-time orders, this can be done by sending all necessary forms to EHS by campus mail, or by bringing the forms to EHS at 228 Academic Projects Building for approval
    • Standing purchase orders must be initially approved by EHS (as above). EHS notification is NOT required for individual orders using a standing purchase order
    • Can NOT be purchased on a credit card!
incoming packages
Incoming Packages
  • Must be received by EHS, not by the lab
  • EHS checks all incoming packages for contamination, leakage or other damage and delivers them to the labs
  • If a package is accidentally delivered directly to your lab, DO NOT OPEN THE PACKAGE; notify EHS immediately so that we can check the package for you.
incoming packages62
Incoming Packages
  • After removing the radioactive material, all radioactive markings on the package must be removed or defaced prior to placing the package for disposal or recycling!
inventory forms
Inventory Forms
  • Must be filled out and returned to EHS in order for the supervisor to receive credit for disposal of the material
  • Supervisors are considered to be in possession of each isotope order until EHS receives the inventory form
  • This could lead to EHS denying a request for a radioactive material order if it causes the supervisor to exceed their possession limit
radioactive material transfers
Radioactive Material Transfers
  • Any radioactive material transfers between lab groups must be phoned to EHS
  • Any shipments to other facilities, or transfers within PSU requiring vehicular transportation, must be transported by EHS
  • Radioactive materials less than 50 Ci may be hand carried between labs or buildings without EHS notification, but must be double sealed and labeled with the lab’s address and phone number
  • Authorizations for radioactive material usage must be approved by the UIC
  • No supervisor will be permitted to receive an amount of radioactive material that will cause him or her to have in excess of their allowed possession limit
  • A copy of the authorization request form is available on our website at
  • All radioactive materials, including radioactive waste, must be secured when unattended, even if for a very short time
  • This can be accomplished by keeping the lab door(s) locked at all times, or by securing the materials within the lab via locked freezers, waste containers, etc.
solid radioactive waste
Solid Radioactive Waste
  • Separated by nuclide
  • Only in containers furnished by EHS
  • Sharps must be placed in sharps containers
  • Autoclave Infectious waste before disposal as rad.
    • See PSU Policy SY29 - Infectious Waste Disposal
  • No liquids (5 mL or less per container)
  • For EPA Hazardous materials, contact EHS for instructions
  • Completely fill out waste card, or your waste will not be collected
  • When the container is full, submit a request for waste pick-up at
liquid radioactive waste
Liquid Radioactive Waste
  • Separated by nuclide
  • Only into containers furnished by EHS
  • No solids (except for 1 or 2 pH strips)
  • pH must be between 5 and 9
  • If biohazard, add 10% bleach before adding rad waste
  • EPA Hazardous waste must be separated from non-hazardous radioactive waste
  • The waste tag must be completely filled out, including activity, CAS #’s, and a signature
lsc vials and stock vials
LSC Vials and Stock Vials
  • LSC Vials should NOT BE EMPTIED. Place the used vials into the cardboard flats that the empty vials came in, then place the flats into the plactic containers provided by EHS
  • Stock Vials can be placed in the appropriate solid radioactive waste container. If the stock vial still contains more than 1 mCi of a long-lived radionuclide, contact EHS for special disposal instructions
major spill response procedure
Major Spill Response Procedure
  • No matter how careful we are, we are all sometimes still vulnerable to having an accident. On the following slides are the steps to take if a major spill occurs. Follow this general procedure.
major spill response procedure73
Major Spill Response Procedure
  • Immediately notify EHS and the Laboratory Supervisor.

1. Stop the spread of radioactive material. If there is any sign of hallway contamination, run a rope across the hall at least 10 feet from the door on both sides of the lab. Use Caution signs and duct tape. Enforce the no-pass rule, station someone to stop traffic.

major spill response procedure74
Major Spill Response Procedure

2. Warn others in laboratory. This will help minimize the spread of the contamination. Call EHS for assistance at 865-6391.

major spill response procedure75
Major Spill Response Procedure

3. Survey all lab personnel. Record results (Fred left shoe: 10,000 cpm-GM at 1 cm, Betty palm of right hand: 950 cpm-GM at 1 cm). Pay particular attention to skin contamination. Skin dose may be a problem. Document levels prior to a quick clean, recheck/re-document.

major spill response procedure76
Major Spill Response Procedure

4. Survey people in other labs if there is any indication of widespread problems. Instruct others to survey their own labs.

major spill response procedure77
Major Spill Response Procedure

5. Call in Help. The laboratory supervisor should be present to organize the cleanup. The supervisor should call in all staff and students.

Request help for cleanup from EHS.

major spill response procedure78
Major Spill Response Procedure

6. Determine if the chemical composition of the spill could cause airborne particulate contamination if the spill was allowed to dry. If so, mop immediately.

major spill response procedure79
Major Spill Response Procedure

7. Establish a 'Clean' area. The area should be inside the room if possible, in the hallway if not. Issue boots or plastic bags for shoe covers. Absorbent bench paper is handy for covering floors to use as a clean area.

major spill response procedure80
Major Spill Response Procedure

8. Survey public areas. Have someone with clean feet survey hall, elevator, stairs, etc.

If wider contamination is found, expand your roped

off area.

major spill response procedure81
Major Spill Response Procedure

9. Survey the room. Remove people from lab until a survey of the room is performed. Smears are not necessary, but documentation is required.

major spill response procedure82
Major Spill Response Procedure

10. Assign some lab personnel to cleaning the halls while others continue to survey. Extend roped off area as necessary. Do not permit lab personnel to decontaminate their own space until all public areas are clean. Radiation protection staff will not necessarily help perform the decontamination, but they will help train, supervise, and monitor.

major spills other cautions
Major Spills - Other Cautions

1. Enforce glove changes whenever a glove gets contaminated.

2. Work from cleaner areas towards areas with more contamination.

3. Do not permit removal of contaminated shoes. People tend to contaminate their socks, then their feet. Have personnel place plastic bags over their shoes and walk carefully.

4. If the room has to be roped off and not used until the next day, NRC notification may be required.

radionuclide laboratory rules
Radionuclide Laboratory Rules

1. Radioactive materials may only be possessed or used in accordance with authorizations issued by the University Isotopes Committee.


Radionuclide Laboratory Rules

2. Persons working in radionuclide laboratories must be familiar with regulations and radiation safety procedures. New personnel must contact EHS to arrange for required safety instruction before beginning work with radioactive materials.

radionuclide laboratory rules87
Radionuclide Laboratory Rules

3. Orders for shipment of radioactive materials to and from the University and transfers between supervisors within the University must be processed through EHS.

radionuclide laboratory rules88
Radionuclide Laboratory Rules

4. Inventory forms for radioactive materials must be kept current. Completed inventory forms must be returned to EHS when the material has been used up or has decayed to an insignificant activity level.

radionuclide laboratory rules89
Radionuclide Laboratory Rules

5. People using radioactive materials are responsible for conducting routine surveys to detect excessive contamination or radiation levels each time unsealed radioactive materials are used.

radionuclide laboratory rules90
Radionuclide Laboratory Rules

6. People using radioactive materials are responsible for the immediate decontamination of facilities that become contaminated in excess of allowed levels.

radionuclide laboratory rules91
Radionuclide Laboratory Rules

7. Pipetting by mouth is prohibited in laboratories where unsealed radioactive materials are used.

radionuclide laboratory rules92
Radionuclide Laboratory Rules

8. Persons working with unsealed radioactive material must wear laboratory coats, or other protective clothing and appropriate protective gloves.

radionuclide laboratory rules93
Radionuclide Laboratory Rules

9. Eating, drinking, or the storage of food or beverages is prohibited in laboratories where unsealed radioactive materials are used. Radiation protection staff have been directed by the University Isotopes Committee to order the use of radioactive materials be stopped immediately in any laboratory in which food or drinks are found. Use of radioactive materials must not resume until the laboratory supervisor has taken action to correct the problem and has received written approval to start work from the University Isotopes Committee.

radionuclide laboratory rules94
Radionuclide Laboratory Rules

10. Radioactive materials must be discarded only into appropriately labeled radioactive waste containers. Radiation protection staff has been directed to order the use of radioactive materials stopped immediately in any laboratory in which radioactive material is found in normal trash, biohazard waste, or recycling containers. Radionuclide use may not resume until the laboratory supervisor has taken action to correct the problem and has received written approval to start work from the University Isotopes Committee.

radionuclide laboratory rules95
Radionuclide Laboratory Rules

11. All containers with greater than 1 Ci of radioactive material that are left unattended must be labeled with: the radiation caution symbol, the user’s name, the radionuclide, the activity and the date. Lead shields, cabinets, refrigerators and other storage areas for radioactive material must also be conspicuously labeled.

radionuclide laboratory rules96
Radionuclide Laboratory Rules

12. Licensed radioactive material in storage must be secure from unauthorized removal or access. Radioactive material not in storage must be controlled and under constant surveillance.



  • Immediate suspension for:
    • Radioactive materials in the regular trash
    • Eating, drinking, smoking or storage of food in a posted lab or area
  • In case of immediate suspensions:
    • All persons working under the supervisor, or in the supervisor’s lab, must stop using radioactive materials immediately
    • Authorization is suspended until further notice
    • The supervisor must prepare a written statement to the UIC
should you have any questions
Should you have any questions,
    • The Pennsylvania State University
    • Environmental Health and Safety (EHS)
    • 6 Eisenhower Parking Deck
    • ~or~
    • EHS - Radiation Protection
    • 228 Academic Projects Building
    • University Park, PA 16802
    • Phone: (814) 865-6391
    • Fax: (814) 865-7225
10 scheduling the exam
10. Scheduling the Exam
  • Now, click here to download the “Radionuclide Safety Training Class” handout in Microsoft Word format. You must bring this with you to the exam (Do NOT bring a copy of all of the slides)!
  • Other languages available (may require special software):
    • Chinese radionuclide safety handout
    • French radionuclide safety handout
    • Spanish radionuclide safety handout
  • Print the handout, and bring a copy of it with you to the examination. The next slide will tell you how to schedule an exam time.
  • Congratulations! You have now completed part 1 of the required radiation safety training course for users of radionuclides at Penn State!
  • In order to become certified to use radioactive materials, you must now register for a time to complete part two of the course and exam at:
  • .
  • You may not use radioactive materials until you have passed the exam.