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Radiation Safety

The Radiological Safety Division of EH&S is responsible for the development and oversight of a comprehensive radiation safety program to ensure the safe handling, transport, use and disposal of radiological materials, lasers and X-ray machines. EH&S is charged with enforcing all written directives of the California State Radiological Health Branch, as well as the oversight of use of radioactive sources to ensure safety and legal compliance.

EH&S offers the following procedures, guidelines and other resources to support radiation users on campus, help ensure safety and make certain that radiation exposures are reduced to levels that are as low as reasonably achievable (ALARA).

If your work requires use of radiation:

  1. Existing and new principal investigators (PIs) wanting to use radioisotopes must be listed on UCM's radioactive material license, issued by the state.  Any changes to the license requires an amendment. Amendments are processed by the state of California and may take up to six months to be completed. To facilitate this process, please contact the radiation safety officer as soon as possible if you plan to use radiation in future experiments.
  2. All PIs requiring use of radioisotopes and/or radiation producing machines must complete the radiation use authorization (RUA) form and statement of training and experience form in the UC Radiation tool. 
  3. If your research requires use of radioactive materials in quantities of concern (RAMQC), all lab personnel with access to these materials are required to complete live scans through the police department. Please note that access to RMQC is granted by the Office of Research, not EH&S.
  4. Use of radiation in research requires development of standard operating procedures (SOPs). Please use the RADiCAL tool to develop SOPs specific to your lab.
  5. All individuals who will have access to radioisotopes and/or radiation producing machines should complete the new user training checklist and are required to register for radiation safety training through EH&S at the UC Learning Center (UCLC).
  6. Once authorization for use of radiation is granted, the EH&S radiation safety officer will meet with the PI to provide additional information, as well as guidelines for radiation use, including development of a lab diagram that specifies where radioactive materials are to be stored, and locations of fume hoods and sinks.

Responsibilities of lab personnel using radiation in their research:

  1. Use dosimeters if assigned, and return them promptly at the end of their wear period.
  2. If applicable, complete the declaration of pregnancy form at the end of the prenatal radiation exposure guidelines.
  3. Follow guidelines in the safe use of radioisotopes, and understand the occupational exposure limits and risks of working with radiation.
  4. Post relevant emergency phone numbers in and around the designated area(s) where radioactive materials will be stored, as well as where they will be used.
  5. When radioactive materials are received, be sure to add them to your online chemical inventory using the UC Chemicals and UC Radiation tools.
  6. Maintain your radiation safety binder containing the radiation safety manual (it is required that you have a complete copy of the radiation safety manual in the lab). Maintenance includes updating the inventory section and cataloging the movement of activity from stock/reagent containers to waste containers.
  7. Practice proper handling and disposal of radioactive waste by using the WASTe tag system to generate appropriate waste labels. Note that the activity and pH of the label you generate before waste accumulates will be different from the final activity and pH. To address this issue, you will need to update and replace the tag before the waste is marked for pickup.

Maintenance of authorization to use radiation in your research:

  1. RUAs require annual renewal. You can renew your RUA on the UC Radiation tool.
  2. Ensure your survey instruments receive their required yearly calibrations.
  3. Radiation safety trainings conducted by EH&S are valid for two years. All lab members using radioactive materials are required to stay up to date with their training through the UC Learning Center.