Amherst College Radiation Safety

The Amherst College Radiation Safety Training Program was developed and implemented to comply with the requirements of the Massachusetts Department of Public Health Radiation Control Program (MRCP) 105 CMR 120.00 and the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC), as well as other organizations that regulate the use, transportation and disposal of radioactive materials and machines that produce ionizing radiation. Under the guidance of the Radiation Use Committee, an intradepartmental assembly of administration, faculty, and staff of the College, the Radiation Safety Program shall, to the best of its ability, protect the faculty, staff, and students from exposure or potential exposure to radiation including, but not limited to lasers, radioactive materials, and x-ray equipment.

The goal is to limit all radiation exposures to as low as reasonably achievable (ALARA). In an effort to best protect affected members of the campus community, the College has developed policies, guidelines, training, work practices, emergency response procedures, and other best management practices to maintain health and safety standards in facilities that use radiation and radioactive materials.



The Radiation Safety and Training Program shall be utilized by the faculty, staff, students, and vistors that store, transport, use, and respond to facilities that have radiation and/or radioactive materials.

As of March 1997, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) formulated an agreement with the Commonwealth of Massachusetts that assured authority for the implementation, inspection, training, and enforcement of regulations and licensing for the possession, storage, transport, and use of radioactive materials.



Absorbed Dose - The material to which the body was exposed and entered the bloodstream through external roots of exposure such as absorption, ingestion or injection, or the amount of a substance that penetrates the exchange boundaries of an organism after contact. It is expressed as mg/kg/day.

Activity - Decay rate of a specific amount of radioactive material, which is measured in the number of disintegrations over a period of time.

Acute - Short duration, high concentration, often dangerous exposure or effect to a contaminant, which could be, but is not limited to biological, chemical or radioactive materials.

Administrative Controls - Management tools that are used to best protect the faculty, staff, students and visitors from potential hazards. They might include analysis job rotation, medical surveillance, nominal group thinks, policies and procedures, as well as training.

ALARA (As Low as Reasonably Achievable - The level that the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) recommends exposure be kept to. The NRC, in cooperation with the Massachusetts Department of Public Health, mandate that occupational dose limits to individual adults does not exceed the established dose limits.

Adsorption - the attachment of atoms or molecules to the surface of another item, organism or substance; a process where one or more components of an interficial layer between 2 bulk phases are either enriched or depleted.

Atom - smallest unit of an element that can maintain both chemical and physical properties of its element.

Atrophy - depletion of muscle and other tissue in the body which is caused by a shrinkage or decrease in the number of cells.

Baseline Medical Surgery - initial medical evaluation of a person, prior to using radioactive materials. Used as a starting point for from which all future comparisons to potential exposure are made.

Dose - the amount of energy or substance absorbed in a unit volume of an individual or organ.

Dose Rate - the dose measured over a period of time. It is the concentration of a contaminant multiplied by the duration of human exposure.

  • Dose = Concentration x Time

    Dosimeter - is a method by instrumentation used to detect and measure an accumulated dose of radiation. Used for personal monitoring, it is an instrument that measures accumulated energy to which a person may have been exposed. It is often referred to as dose meter.

    Electromagnetic Radiation - transfer of energy through matter and space by time changing electric and magnetic fields. Its range, often referred to as electromagnetic spectrum, extends from the longest radiowaves to the shortest cosmic rays.

    Exposure - contact from an agent that has resulted in a dose by absorption, ingestion and/or injection. The amount of exposure is dependant on the contaminant, the magnitude, frequency, duration and route of exposure.

    Film Badge - badge used to measure both full body and shallow dose. It is exposed to radiation and light. The badge will detect gamma and x-rays, high energy beta particles and, in certain cases, neutrons.

    Half Life - the time required for ½ of the atoms of a specific radionuclide to decay.

    IDLH (Immediately Dangerous to Life and Health) - an atmosphere or location that poses an immediate risk to life or which may seriously compromise health.

    Ionizing Radiation - Electromagnetic or particulate radiation which is capable of producing ions directly when interacting with matter.

    Isolation - separation personnel from hazardous environments, equipment, locations, operation or processes using adequate, securable barriers to prevent unauthorized access or entry.

    Laser - Light Amplification through Stimulated Emission of Radiation.

    Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS) - Information provided by distributors and manufacturers of material that identifies the manufacturer, emergency phone numbers, material composition, emergency procedures, personal protective equipment requirements and other applicable documentation.

    Microwave - Electromagnetic radiation having a wavelength in the range of 1 mm to 1 m. The electromagnetic spectrum is between infrared and shortwave radio lengths.

    Mutagen - An agent or substance which can alter the genetic material of a living cell.

    Nanometer - A measure of radiation wavelength; 1 nm = 10^-6 mm or 10 angstrom units.

    Non-Ionizing Radiation - Photons with energy less than 12.4 eV, have insufficient energy to ionize matter and are therefore non-ionizing.

    1. The non-ionizing spectral region includes ultraviolet (UV), visible infrared (IR), radiofrequency (RF) and extremely low frequency (ELF) regions.

    Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) - Federal agency responsible for regulating the use of radioactive material.


    1. alpha - a nucleus that consists of two protons and two neutrons. It has a low penetrating power and a short range. Alpha particles can become hazardous if introduced to the body internally. However, alpha particles are most often stopped at the skin, which they are unable to pass.
    2. beta - is a high speed particle with characteristics of an electron emitted from the nucleus of a radioactive element. The penetration capability of a beta particle depends on the maximum energy. Most energetic beta particles may have a range of up to 10 feet in the air and will penetrate skin and tissue.
    3. gamma - electromagnetic radiation of very high energy, which originates in atomic nuclei and accompanying many nuclear reactions. Gamma rays and X-rays of high energy are identical, except that X-rays do not originate in the atomic nuclei. They are produced by reducing the speed of electrons of high energy or from atomic shell transformation. Gamma rays are the most penetrating forms of radiation and present a major external exposure hazard.

    Permit - Document required by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission and the Massachusetts Department of Public Health that states to whom and for what level of authorization a principle investigator can use radioactive materials. They are also used for any special procedures that may be needed within the facility that may warrant temporary controls or guidelines.

    Photons - Energy absorbed or restricted in the form of electromagnetic radiation, which has an energy value that is the product of its frequency. Photon energy can be light, radiowaves, gamma and x-ray, etc.

    Principle Investigator (PI) - is the person to whom a laboratory or similar type of facility is assigned. The PI is responsible for facility operation, including, but not limited to:

    1. biological, chemical and radioactive material storage
    2. proper identification and disposal of hazardous waste
    3. personal protective equipment
    4. laboratory policies and procedures
    5. regulatory requirements
    6. training (general and site specific)
    Radiation Absorced Dose - How (in units) dose is measured in tissue.

    Radiation - Transmission of energy in the form of electric and magnetic fields. It is also defined as nuclear energy emitted in the form of high energy electromagnetic waves of particles.

    Radiation Area - An area, such as a laboratory, that uses, or has the potential to use, radioactive equipment or materials at levels high enough for persons to receive a dose of more than 5 millirem (mr) in an hour, or greater than 100 mr in 5 consecutive days.

    Radioactive Materials - Any material that does or may spontaneously emit ionizing radiation at levels above background, or well above natural background.

    Radioactive Waste - Any material that has radioactive properties, but is no longer of benefit to the facility, laboratory or institution. Material that has been, or could be, labeled waste or waste-like (OCD) must be properly disposed of through the office of Environmental Health and Safety.

    Radioactivity - Spontaneous emissions of radiation, most often alpha or beta particles, which is often accompanied by gamma-rays, from the nucleus of an unstable radionucleotide. The radionuclide is then charged or decays into the nuclide of a different element that may or may not be radioactive. Through one or more stages of decay, a stable non-radioactive nuclide is formed.

    Roentgen Equivalent Man (REM) - the absorbed or potentially absorbed dose measured in (Rad) multiplied by the Quality Factor (QF) that creates a degree of biological effect caused by different types of radiation.

    Restricted Area - Any area that prohibits unauthorized access of persons by posting of signage or other barriers, including locks, acceptable to the Department of Public Health and the NRC. The intent is to prevent exposure to radiation and/or radioactive materials.

    Ring Badge - Badge to measure hand dosage of radioactive material. Issued to persons trained and using millicurie amounts of gamma or high energy beta emitters. The ring is worn inside the glove with the label falling towards the palm.

    Sealed Source - Radioactive material or source placed and properly sealed in an impervious container, which has sufficient strength through design to prevent contact with or the dispersion of the radioactive material under normal conditions of handling, storage, transporting and use for which it was designed.

    X-rays - penetrating electromagnetic radiation which have wavelengths that are shorter than those of visible light. X-rays are normally produced by bombarding a metallic marget with fast electrons in a high vacuum. Roentgen - A measure of x-ray and gamma radiation exposure in the air.



Amherst College, in accordance with standing policies, procedures, and guidelines, has placed the responsibility for the Radiation Safety Program with the Radiation Safety Use Committee. As required by the Department of Public Health, in accordance with our license, the Radiation Safety Use Committee shall appoint and maintain a Radiation Safety Officer position, here after referenced as the RSO.

Currently, the RSO for Amherst College is Jason Williams. The RSO is an advisor to the Amherst College Radiation Safety Use Committee and assists with regulatory compliance and operating guidelines. Principle Investigators in facilities that utilize radioactive materials can contact the RSO directly for assistance and technical support as it pertains to radiation equipment and the use of radioactive materials.

In order to obtain a license for the use of radioactive materials at Amherst College, the Principle Investigator must first be authorized by the Amherst College Radiation Use Committee. The request to obtain a license may be made in writing to the chairperson of the Radiation Use Committee who will forward the request to the RSO as per our license agreement.

Principle Investigators that would like to maintain their ability to use radioisotopes must complete a renewal application. It should be completed and returned immediately to avoid a violation notice that could jeopardize the researcher's ability to use radioisotopes and more importantly our license to utilize radioactive materials on campus.

The Principle Investigator is completely responsible for the purchase, use, internal transportation, storage, and disposal of all radioactive material on campus. Except for sealed sources that may come directly to the College, all other radioisotopes become our responsibility as soon as they are delivered to the Principal Investigator

Laboratory assistants, researchers, teaching assistants, other personnel, and the facility Principle Investigator who handle radioactive materials and waste must be trained and registered to use the material in a manner referenced here in. Training can be obtained on-line at UMASS Amherst, through the department of Environmental Health and Safety and/or under the supervision of the Principle Investigator, provided documentation of the dates, times, and content of training is accurately maintained and filed.

The College must ensure that radioactivity and radioactive materials are handled in a manner that maintains the health and safety of the faculty, staff, students, and visitors, including contractors working at the College.


The Radiation Safety Use Committee

The Radiation Use Committee (RUC) at Amherst College must include representation from;

  1. College Administration
  2. Human Resources
  3. Biology / Neuro Science
  4. Chemistry
  5. Geology / Earth Sciences
  6. Physics
  7. Radiation Safety Officer (UMASS / EHS)
  8. Chemical Hygiene Officer (CHO)
  9. Environmental Health and Safety (EHS)
A member of the committee must serve as chairperson for reasons of license, paperwork, documentation and provisional authorization between meetings of the committee.

The Radiation Safety Use Committee shall meet at least twice annually in May and November, and any other time so designated by the chairperson. Meetings that may be required over and above would include

  1. Incidents involving contamination
  2. Incidents involving illness/injury
  3. New regulatory requirements
  4. Change in policies and guidelines
  5. Training modifications
  6. New or potential users of radioactive material
The Radiation Safety Use Committee can, if necessary
  1. Suspend or remove authorization for non-compliance
  2. Renew corrective actions
    • Regulatory requirements
    • Best management practices
  3. Establish policies and guidelines for the Radiation Safety Program
  4. Enforce compliance with the Radiation Safety Program
  5. Conduct appropriate audits
  6. Review paperwork and training records to ensure regulatory compliance

Radiation Safety Officer

The Radiation Safety Officer is responsible for

  1. Assisting the College and the Radiation Safety Use Committee with the continuous development and implementation of our radiation safety policies and procedures
  2. Ensuring compliance with all federal, state, and local regulations
  3. Monitoring the purchase, use, storage, and disposal of radioactive materials
  4. Monitoring the use, calibration, and maintenance of teh equipment used for radioactive materials
  5. Maintaining all appropriate records for personnel using radioactive materials including, but not limited to
    • Medical, when necessary
    • Training content and dates
    • Badges
    • Radioisotopes used
    • Other applicable or required information
  6. Performing inspections of radioisotopes and radiation facilities in a manner that complies with federal, state, and local regulation
  7. Providing personnel monitoring and bioassessing services
  8. Emergency incident response for contamination and spills with the office of Environmental Health and Safety
  9. Incident investigations involving radioactivity and regulatory non-cpmpliance
  10. Providing periodic leak testing of seal sources and equipment as required by Massachusetts Radiation Control Program in accordance with best management practices
  11. Maintaining all records of operations including training on a database or spreadsheet that is readily obtained for purposes of evaluation and inspection

Facility/Laboratory Staff Using Radioactive Isotopes, Materials, and Equipment

  1. Any person that would like to use radioactive materials, isotopes, or equipment must first get permission from the facility Principle Investigator.
  2. After approval of the Principle Investigator, the applicant must register with the office of Environmental Health and Safety
  3. After registering, the applicant must obtain the necessary training sessions, and shall not be permitted to work with radioactivity until a training program has been successfully completed.
  4. Any person entering a laboratory where radioactivity or radiation sources are used, but who is not authorized or trained to work with radioactive materials must receive appropriate instruction from the Principle Investigator and/or the Uinvoersity of Massachusetts at Amherst department of Environmental Health and Safety in advance before entering the facility or laboratory.


It is required that any person(s) wishing to use radioactive materials must be registered and so authorized by the Radiation Safety Use Committee.

    1. Temporary registration can be requested of the Radiation Safety Chairperson, acting on behalf of the Radiation Safety Committee. However, a complete registration required by the federal and state regulatory agencies must be completed by and with the assistance of the RSO or their designee.
  1. Under NO circumstance can use of radioactive materials on campus, with temporary or full registration, without first obtaining the material specific training.

Application for Authorization

The PI must list the following information as part of the application process for using radionuclides

  1. Name of Principle Investigator and their campus address and phone numbers
  2. Identification of material to be used, including quantities and hazards
  3. Training methods to be utilized
  4. Past experience of the PI
  5. Names, training, histories, and experience of the workforce
    1. The PI must submit the completed request to the Radiation Safety Use Committee Chairperson, who will forward it to the RSO for review and consideration.
  1. After the application has been completed, the RSO will meet with the PI and/or their designee to facilitate future acquisition, transportation, use, and proper disposal of the radioactive material beign sought. The RSO will go over:
  • Regulatory requirements
  • Paperwork responsibilities
  • Notices of non-compliance
  • Potential areas of concern
  • Issues of liability
  • Responsibility to the material being used
  1. After each of the above referenced conditions are met, the RSO shall have the authority to issue a provisional authorization until full approval by the Radiation Safety Committee is granted.
    • Following the approval of the Radiation Safety Committee, the chairperson will sign the appropriate document, authorizing use of the radioactive material.
    • If for any reason, as is required by regulation, the PI or their designee does not maintain the terms of the agreement, such as for regulatory non-compliance or paperwork infractions, the temoporary or full authorization to use the radioactive material could be revoked
    • Regulatory non-compliance of a PI places the entire institution at risk. The potential for loss of license could result.

Notices of Violation

Amherst College, in an effort to maintain our license to order, store, transport, and use radioactive materials, shall reduce the potential for regulatory non-compliance whenever possible.
  1. Repeat violations (3 or more) within a consecutive 12 month period will result in the suspension of activity for the PI involved.
  2. Violations could include, but are not limited to:
    • Not securing radioactive materials and/or the laboratory to prevent unauthorized access
    • Not identifying or training new personnel
    • Failing to report known or potential contamination
    • Failure to report leaks or spills
    • Not wearing personal protective equipment such as
      1. Safety eyewear
      2. Laboartory coat, when necessary
      3. Appropriate badges (filn, ring, etc.)
    • Failure to properly record disposal of radioactive waste.
    • Failure to perform equipment calibration.
    • Not performing laboratory or personal surveys.
    • Not posting or labeling areas, containers, equipment, machinery, rooms, or otherwise maintaining same.
    • Consuming, placing, or storing food and.or beverages in the laboratory.
  1. Minimize the potential for incidents involving the use of radioactive materials.
  2. Properly protect and secure radioactive materials from unauthorized access.
  3. Reduce the risk of potential exposure.
  4. Properly label and warn any potentially affected personnel about the storage, transport, and use of radioactive material.
  5. Provide the necessary personal protective equipment needed to work with the material.
  6. Properly communicate our guidelines, management, disposal practices, and training to all necessary personnel.
  7. Comply with the regulatory requirements of the federal and state agencies charged with the control and oversight of the Radiation Safety Committee.
Hazards associated with the use of radioactive materials are related to both
  1. Radiation type
  2. Absorbing tissue or organ system
Alpha Particles - are most often stopped by the skin. It may be possible, however, for alpha emitters or their daughters to emit gammas, which may present an external hazard.
From an internal hazard standpoint, alpha particles can be very damaging because of their high linear energy transfer (LET). They deposit all of their energy in a very small area. Because of their chemical properties, alpha emitters can be concentrated in specific tissues or organs, which may increase the likelihood of cellular damage, disfunction, or death.

Beta Particles - can deliver an external dose of radiation to the skin, tissues, eyes, etc. Beta emitters can also emit gammas. High level activity of a high energy beta emitter can create a significant exposure. Internally, betas can be more damaging, especially when concentrated on a specific organ or tissue.

Photons - Low energy (< 30KeV) gammas and X-rays are damaging to the skin and eyes. Higher levels of energy can adversely affect the entire body. Gamma emitters have the potential to affect not only organs and tissues at a specific site, but also the surrounding tissues.

Low Dose Radiation Effects - Diseases caused by low dose radiation are not well known because the damage to the site specific cells is either insignificant or repairable.

  1. Doses of < 25 REM do not show immediate effects
  2. Effects may develop years after the dose exposure
  3. Cancer of some form may develop

High Dose Radiation Effects

  1. Doses 25-50 REM, if received in a short period of time, can result in disfunction of the bone marrow system, the gastro-intestinal system, and the central nervous system (>200 REM)
  2. An acute exposure can be lethal at >300 REM
    • Risk Reduction - To best protect oneself from the risk of radiation exposure, affected personnel should incorporate the use of time, distance, and shielding.
    • TIME - Personnel should plan activities in such a manner as to minimize the time spent handling or in close proximity to the radioactive material.
    • DISTANCE - By increasing the distance or space from the radiation source, through handling devices (such as tongs) and specialized equipment, personnel can reduce the received dose of radiation.
  3. Exposure rates decrease at of 1/r^2, where r = the distance from a point source
SHIELDING - If passed through an absorber, gamma and X-rays decrease in number by a process governed by the energy of the radiation, the density of the absorber medium, and the thickness of the absorber.
I = Io exp(-µx)
  1. Io = intensity of the initial radiation
  2. I = Radiation intensity after passing through absorber
  3. u = Linear absorption co-efficient factor (the value of u depends on the energy of the incident radiation and the density of the absorbing material)
  4. x = thickness of the absorber

Shielding Difficulties

  • Walls and partitions may not provide adequate shielding
  • Radiation can be scattered around corners

Handling Precautions

  • Radioactive materials must always be secured to prevent unauthorized access.
    •  Cabinet, drawer, and refrigerator locks may be required
    • Controlling unauthorized access of the faculty by utilizing locks and logs
    • Proper personal protective equipment shall be utilized
      1. Laboratory coats
      2. Gloves of an appropriate type and protection
      3. Safety glasses and goggles, depending on the type of work
      4. Boots or full protection footwear
      5. Do NOT permit the wearing of
        • Shorts, skirts, or other pants that do not completely cover the legs
        • Open toe shoes or sandals
        • Do not wear laboratory attire outside of the area that requires its use
        • (otherwise known as the Regulated Area)
  • Label all cabinets, containers equipment, and material in accordance with requirements of DEP, Department of Public Health (DPH), Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC), and OSHA.
    • Abbreviations of containers, including chemicals and radioactive materials, is not permitted. All labels must completely identify contents of containers as well as any hazards
  • Prohibit the storage of food and beverages in the laboratory. Food stuffs are not permitted in the facility, including in refrigerators, microwaves, or desks.
  • Doors to the facility that store, handle, or otherwise use radioactive material must be properly labeled with the following:
    1. RADIATION USE Sign (if applicable)
      • Overposting or oversignage is an NRC violation
    2. Door Safety Information Card
    3. Emergency response number and MSDS location posting
    4. Any other appropriate or required label
  • Proper disposal of all waste, including radioactive waste, should be done in accordance with the campus policy, as is required by the DEP and NRC
    1. Contact the Chemical Hygiene Officer for additional information
    2. Improper disposal of any waste carries severe penalties by the federal government. Failure to comply could result in fines and/or imprisonment.
  • Use time, distance, and shielding to reduce the risk of exposure to radiation
  • Utilize appropriate radiation detection devices, such as dosimeters, film, and ring badges
  • Wash hands frequently
    1. Before and after using radioactive material
    2. Before using equipment or telephone
    3. Prior to leaving the laboratory or handling food
  • Utilize all appropriate detection methods and testing equipment
    1. Geiger Counters
    2. Swipe Tests
    3. Personal Monitoring
  • Always monitor yourself, the work area, and equipment for potential contamination when the experimentation or operation is complete
  • Report any known or suspected contamination to UMASS Environmental Health and Safety (545-2682) or Amherst College Environmental Health and Safety by phoning Campus Police at (542-2111) as soon as possible
  • Provide proper secondary containment, including absorbent paper and spill trays to minimize and confine contamination
  • Radioactive material work that requires the use of local ventilation, such as when using Sodium Iodide, should be performed in a fume hood with an average face velocity of 125 fpm, with the bottom of the sash placed below the level of the users breathing zone
  • Mouth pipetting is absolutely prohibited
  • Provide, mandate, and document all training as is required by the state and federal agencies charged with the administration and control of the Radiation Safety programs.

Labeling Radioactive Material

All labels must be clearly visible and shall be able to withstand environmental conditions such as moisture and light. At a minimum, the wording shall read:
  1. Under no circumstances can abbreviations or symbols be used to the contents of a container.
    • Massachusetts DEP Right to Know Law, OSHA Hazard Communications, NRC, and Amherst College prohibit the use of abbreviations and symbols for the protection of emergency response personnel.
  2. Labeling requirements also apply to radioactive waste, including sharps.
  3. Signs must be legible, of legal size, and designed to denote areas and/or containers with radiation levels or radioactivity specified below:
    • CAUTION RADIATION AREA - area accessible to personnel in which radiation levels could result in an individual receiving a dose equivalent or in excess of 5 mrem/hour at 30 cm.
  4. Signage is NOT required in rooms or areas containing radioactive materials for periods less than 8 hours provided that the materials are completely and constantly supervised by a trained and competent person who will take all appropriate steps to minimize any actual or potential exposure.
  5. All containers that hold licensed material shall also be labeled to prevent handling by unknown or unauthorized persons.

Facility Surveys

Personnel Survey - hand and clothing monitoring is required when working with 100 millicuries or more of beta/gamma emitting radioactive material and when using microcurie levels of alpha emitters

  1. Results, including date and time of monitoring prior to leaving the facility, are required to be documented
  2. Tritium is NOT required to be monitored and recorded, but should be checked during surveys

Area Surveys - Daily surveys of all work areas is required when using 100 or more microcuries of beta/gamma emitters, or if using microcurie levels of alpha emitters

  1. Results, including date and time of monitoring prior to leaving the facility, are required to be documented
  2. All areas should be cleaned and monitored after completion of work to ensure no contamination

Bioassays - The body is required to be monitored for radioactivity if a dose of radiation from ingestion, inhalation, or absorption is possible and could be significant. Bioassays shall be performed, when necessary, and in cooperation with and under the direction of Amherst College Environmental Health and Safety Office.



Principle Investigators - Users or radioactivity are required to document the following:

  • List of those persons authorized to work with radioactive material
  • Training records, including material covered, date of completion, those attending, and the name of the instructor
  • Radioactive inventory and procurement records
  • Survey reports and associated paperwork
  • Radioactive waste disposal procedures and records
  • Medical logs such as thyroid scans and iodinations
  • Bioassay and Radiation survey reports forwarded to UMASS Office of Environmental Health and Safety
  • Copies of appropriate licenses and permits

Environmental Health and Safety must document and maintain records for the following:

  1. NRC licenses and amendments
  2. Massachusetts Radiation Control Program licenses and amendments
  3. All notices of violations and non-compliance
  4. Authorizations, amendments, and renewals
  5. Meeting minutes for Radiation Safety Use Committee and the Laser Safety Use Committee
  6. All correspondence between the faculty and UMASS EH&S
  7. Audit Reports
    • Training Records and documentation that include subject matter covered, dates and times of training and the name of the instructor
    • Radioactive material purchase and receipts
  8. Survey records including bioassays, thyroid scans, urinalysis, swipe tests, and Greiger Counter
  9. Leak tests
    • Fume hood and stack sampling
  10. Inventory of radioactive material
  11. Waste disposal records including
    • Sink disposal
    • Waste for decay
    • Shipment to alternate site
  12. Authorization termination
  13. Loss or theft of radioactive materials

Transportation of Radioactive Materials

Once the regulated material reaches the final destination at Amherst College, it shall not leave the specified laboratory or laboratory floor without the following:

  1. Written permission from the RSO to relocate the material
  2. The packaging conforms with the United States Department of Transportation (DOT)
    • See Policies and Prodedures at under environmental for TSCA and IATA requirements
  3. Provide the RSO with a copy of the licenses of the receiving institution and documentation of the approval of their RSO.

Radioactive Materials - Waste

Radioactive waste is strictly regulated by the Massachusetts DEP, DPH, RCP, as well as the federal EPA, NRC, and DOT.

    • Our license, our ability to continue operations using radioactive materials, and the need to remain in compliance with regulatory requirements dictates strict control on the part of the College as it pertains to the handling, storage, and disposal of radioactive waste.
  • Waste must be constantly monitored and recordkeeping must be maintained. The following are all closely monitored and could adversely affect our operations if not followed:

    • Proper packaging and labeling
    • Appropriate secondary containment
    • Disposal procedures, including documentation
    1. Under NO circumstance can radioactive waste be discharged into an ordinary trash container, regardless of the location.
    1. Attempt to minimize the amount of radioactive waste material to be disposed of if possible.
  1. Verify and document all waste disposal techniques before discarding. In many cases, sink disposal is no longer permitted without pre-identified procedures, and is required to be trace amounts only!

    • Signage and labeling must be sink specific.
    • Logs for sink disposal shall also be site specific and accurately recorded.
    • The disposal of radioactive waste must be done in accordance with the policies and procedures set forth by either the Office of Environmental Health and Safety at UMASS or Amherst College. In the event of conflict, the disposal method considered to be the most stringent shall be utilized.
    • Radioactive waste, except for animal carcasses and iodine compounds, shall be placed in 4 mm thick plastic bags or higher level of protection.
    • Radioiodines shall be double bagged in 4 mm poly or greater.
    • Animal carcasses shall also be double bagged in 4 mm poly or greater, but the outer bag shall be black or grey.
    • All bags shall be protected against leakage and shall be goose-necked and duct taped.
  • Radioactive waste to be placed in the Amherst College Waste Storage facility shall be done under the direction of UMASS EH&S.

Laboratory Animals

  1. All cages and storage areas with animals that have been contaminated internally or externally with radioactive material shall be labeled appropriately CAUTION RADIOACTIVE MATERIALS
  2. The cages must be separated from those in which radiation was not used.
  3. Adequate ventilation shall be maintained, as is required by the Massachusetts State Building Code 780 CMR and the BOCA Mechanical Code.
  4. Animal disposal shall be done in a manner appropriate for the type of waste. Personnel responsible for animal facilities shall contact the Office of Environmental Health and Safety for proper procedures.
Radioactive Materials - Emergency Response

  1. Every facility storing or using radioactive materials must be posted with signage that indicates proper procedures, including telephone numbers:
    • Amherst College Safety Information Card
    • Emergency Response Telephone numbers
    • Campus Emergency number 542-2111
  2. Amherst College has a 24 hour on-campus emergency number for people to call in cases of emergency, regardless of incident. 542-2111
  3. The College has and continues to maintain an "All Hazards Plan" that includes proper response to biological, chemical, and radioactive materials incidents, in addition to fires and other hazardous incidents.
  4. Emergency Response Procedures for a radiation incident include:
    1. Protect yourself first
      • Remove yourself from the hazardous environment
      • Try to limit the spread of the contamination
    2. Notify personnel in the area to evacuate
      • Merrill Science Room 425 is the designated safe area for Amherst Fire Response
    3. Contact Campus Police at 542-2111. Remember to provide as much information as possible.
      • Exact location
      • Number of persons injured or ill
      • Your current location
      • Faculty member responsible
      • Material you were exposed to and quantity or level if possible
    4. In case of leak, spill or other contamination not considered to be life threatening or which does not propose a threat to faculty, staff, or students, the following shall be done:
      • Limit the spread of contamination
      • Contact the Campus Police and provide as much detail as possible
      • Verify that no one is adversely affected or at risk
      • Request assistance from UMASS or Amherst College Environmental Health and Safety for clean up assistance of the specified site

Radioactive Materials - Training

  1. Training for each and every person using, storing, transporting, or coming in contact with radioactive material is both important and required by regulation of state and federal law.
    • Non compliance with this section and the recordkeeping requirement contained within this manual could easily result in loss of license and monetary fines!
  2. All laboratory faculty, staff, and students shall be required to take this training program and/or complete the test at the end to be compliant with state and federal requirements. Specialized training by Environmental Health and Safety and/or the PI may also be mandated, depending on the type of work to be performed.
  3. All maintenance workers who must enter a controlled facility must have first obtained appropriate , site specific training as required by OSHA and the Massachusetts Right to Know Law, or they shall be accompanied during an emergency by an authorized, competent person from that facility.
By clicking the 'I Agree' button you signify that you have read and understood the guidelines for the Radiation Safety Program that you agree to abide by the guidelines.

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