Authorization to Use Radioactive Materials
Principal Investigator (PI)
If you intend to use Radioactive Materials (RAM) in your laboratory at Auburn University then you must apply to become an Authorized User (i.e. RAM Principal Investigator) and obtain an internal RAM license. Your application will be reviewed and approved by the Radiation Safety Committee or you may be granted interim approval by the Radiation Safety Officer (RSO). The entire authorization review and approval process typically takes 3-4 weeks. Your authorization will be issued for a five year term and as long as you do not request significant changes in your license or protocols the renewal process is quick and easy. If you wish to make amendments to your current license a formal request, with the changes, must be submitted to the RSO for review.
Radioactive Materials License Application Forms & Documents:
Radioactive Material Order Request & Reporting
Auburn University (AU) is licensed by the Alabama Department of Public Health (ADPH) to posses and use radioactive materials (RAM). Due to license conditions it is required that the University carefully control the process of obtaining radioactive materials to ensure that unauthorized labs and personnel do no receive radioactive materials. AU Radiation Safety program helps facilitates the order request and receipt of shipments. All radioactive materials must be shipped to the correct Radioactive Receiving address. The lab or staff member ordering the material must be authorized to possess and use radioactive materials. An order request form is made available to use as a notification tool for radiation safety to be aware of an expected shipment. Orders for all radioactive materials must be inventoried and tracked so please do notify the radiation safety office to make arrangements.
Ordering Exempt Quantity Radioactive Materials
The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission has determined that exempt quantity sources, which are radioactive sources containing very small amounts of radioactivity and used under certain conditions, do not present a significant hazard. An example of exempt quantity of radioactive materials include button sources that is typically used in instructional labs and for meter calibrations. However, radiation safety strives to know about all presence of radioactive sources on campus. This therefore includes exempt quantity sources and we encourage you to contact the RSO to discuss purchase and delivery of your sources.
Planning to Use Uranium or Thorium
Regulations require educational institutions to limit their entire campus wide inventory to no more than 3.3 pounds of uranium and thorium. This means that you must be sure to notify Radiation Safety about your orders and inventory of uranium and thorium. Please consult with our staff before ordering or using uranium or thorium even if you intend to use small amounts or concentrations. Radiation Safety will include all uranium and thorium materials in the overall inventory and will work with you to determine disposal needs. You may be required to dispose of your uranium and thorium wastes as radioactive waste. Before bringing uranium and thorium material on campus work with Radiation Safety to determine an appropriate plan to get rid of uranium and thorium waste.
Delivery of Radioactive Material Packages
All radioactive material packages are delivered to Radiation Safety which is located at Leach Science Center. Our staff will enter information about the radioactive material into our database and generate a Use Inventory Sheet which will be given to authorized personnel along with the package. We will also survey each level of packaging to ensure that there is no external contamination on any part of your package or on the exterior of the vial. The package will be delivered directly to authorized personnel in your lab.
Radioactive Material Order Request/Report
Inventory & Tracking
We utilize a radioisotope inventory and tracking database that is the main tool for inventorying and tracking your radioactive materials. When a radioactive material package is delivered to our lab our staff reviews the shipping paper and material information and enters that information into the database. A unique RAM ID Number is assigned and a label is affixed to the actual RAM container and on the shipping package. Our staff will provide a Use Inventory Sheet and then delivers the package to the lab.
Use Inventory Sheet and Physical Inventory
Whenever you withdraw RAM from your shipment (e.g. vial) you must use the inventory sheet to enter the date of withdrawal, your name, and the volume (amount) removed. This is especially important since we need to account for all presence of RAM on campus. Our staff will periodically request each lab to physically review its inventory of RAM stock and to verify that the inventory as listed in our database agrees with the actual inventory. Instructions for doing this are included in the email that requests physical inventory.
Pregnancy in a Radioisotope Lab
If you are pregnant and work with radioactive materials or near areas where radioactive materials are used, there may be concern with regard to the amount of radiation exposure the baby might receive. You are encouraged to contact the Radiation Safety Officer (RSO) for consultation to assess whether radiation exposure presents a prenatal hazard. The RSO will handle inquiries confidentially and if requested can:
Provide information about the risks of prenatal radiation exposure
Assess your potential for radiation exposure
Provide an opportunity to submit a Declaration of Pregnancy
Provide radiation monitoring badges to measure fetal dose during your pregnancy (if you have submitted a Declaration of Pregnancy)
Declared Pregnant Worker
The Alabama Department of Public Health (ADPH) has established regulations that limit fetal radiation dose under certain conditions. The fetal dose regulations apply only if you have voluntarily informed Auburn University, in writing, of your pregnancy and the estimated date of conception. This notice is called a Declaration of Pregnancy and if you submit a notice, you are known as a Declared Pregnant Worker. You are not required to submit a Declaration of Pregnancy, and you may withdraw your Declaration at any time. ADPH has specified that the embryo/fetus does not receive more than 500 mrem exposure over the entire pregnancy, and that substantial variation in the monthly exposure (>50 mrem) does not occur. If you perform work that has a high potential for the fetal dose to exceed 500 mrem, it might be necessary to modify your duties. Auburn University is fortunate for the type of radiation work performed and very rare is it necessary to recommend reassignment or changes to job duties.