Radiation symbol

Radioactive Materials Policies

Your RSO

The Radiation Safety Officer (RSO) is Tom N. Feel free to contact him with any questions. Please read these policies carefully. If you violate these policies, we may be forced to prevent you from using isotopes in order to protect our license.


Before using radioactive materials for the first time, you must contact the RSO, who will arrange for orientation training. You must receive training before using any isotopes for any reason.

All users also need to take the annual refresher course which consists of donuts and a short movie.


The RSO must sign all purchase orders involving radioactive material. Please don't try to bypass this procedure. Our purchasing agent will not place orders that have not been signed. Using radioactive materials that have not been approved by the RSO will cause serious problems.

There are also special procedures that must be followed for transferring radioactive materials (samples, etc.) to or from another lab. Contact the RSO for assistance.


Contact the RSO immediately when radioactive materials are delivered, so we can maintain an accurate inventory. The RSO is required to inspect each incoming package before placing it in storage, and will place an inventory tag on each vial that arrives in satisfactory condition. Please note that using materials not on our inventory will result in immediate suspension or cancellation of your permission to use isotopes.

The yellow Tyvek inventory tag with the control number must remain attached to the source vial (or the plastic source vial container) and returned to the RSO when the vial is empty.


Radioactive source vials (the original glass containers in which the isotopes arrived) must be stored in the -80o freezer in room 345. This freezer must be kept locked at all times. Never store source vials in any other location, including your laboratory.

Small amounts of radioactive material (e.g. samples), and radioactive waste can be stored in the lab, but it MUST be secured at all times. We are required by law to make sure radioactive materials are always kept under lock and key. This means either:

  1. All doors to your lab are locked unless you are physically inside the lab. This means, even if you go out for a drink of water, you must lock the door. If a co-worker later unlocks it, you will be held responsible.
  2. Alternatively, you can keep the material in one of the locked storage cabinets we have provided for this purpose.
  3. Radioactive materials can only be used in those labs that are posted with "Caution Radioactive Material" signs.
  4. Never loan your radioisotopes to anyone else. If the person you loaned it to should turn out not to be authorized for isotopes, you will also be prohibited from using isotopes.
If you need refrigerated storage in your lab, you need to install a lock on your refrigerator first.


Most of you are not using isotopes in quantities sufficient to require dosimetry (film badges). If you plan to use large amounts of P-32, or if you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant, contact the RSO who can help you (get a film badge).

Spills, Fires, Earthquakes, etc.

In the event of a spill or other incident involving possible release of radioactive materials, please notify the RSO, who is required to investigate. The RSO will also give you advice on the most effective way to clean up the spill. He might even help you clean it up. If you accidentally ingest or inject yourself with radioactive material, contact the RSO immediately.


As you know, we are prohibited from disposing of radioactive material in the trash or down the drain. Please use the designated stepcans and carboys.

Inventory is controlled by attaching a yellow Tyvek tag with a control number to each source vial. We are only permitted to have a certain amount of each isotope at one time. When your source vial is empty, return the tag to the RSO so your isotope can be removed from our inventory.