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California State University, Long Beach
College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics

Radiation Safety Manual Highlights


This document has been designed to serve as a "pocket" version of the CSULB Radiation Safety Manual (RSM). The list of key requirements outlined in this document may also refer to other specific CSULB procedures not contained in the RSM proper. Copies of the complete detailed procedures are available through the Radiation Safety Office.

Regulation of Radioactive Materials

The CSULB RSO/RSC, in conjunction with the CSULB administration, exercises control over all radioactive material possessed by or used at CSULB. The exact requirements appear in each Authorized User's IONIZING RADIATION USE AUTHORIZATION (IRUA), which in turn sets limits and conditions as required by Title 17 of the California Code of Regulations, the University Radioactive Materials License, and the Federal 10 CFR part 20. The CSULB Radioactive Materials License is issued by California's Radiologic Health Branch (RHB). The RHB inspectors audit our program every three years; they may arrive unannounced and have the right to inspect all labs, ask questions of PIs and students etc. without prior notification or permission.

Acquisition and Transfer of Radioactive Materials

RSO/RSC authorization is required prior to each order of radioactive material. Each transfer of radioactive material between Users must be specifically approved IN WRITING by the RSO and recorded in the white Radiation Notebook on the appropriate "Stock Bottle Log" sheet.

Custody of Radiation Sources

Users and their project workers are required to employ the following measures while in possession of radioactive materials:

  1. Personal Safety: Storage and use of radioactive material must be such that personal radiation exposure and radioactive contamination are kept As Low As Reasonably Achievable (ALARA) by using the principles of time, distance, shielding, and good laboratory practice.
  2. Security: Storage and use of radioactive materials must be in a manner that prevents unauthorized access. Radioisotope storage units (like refrigerators/freezers) must be kept locked when located in general access areas (such as classrooms). Unattended labs must be locked at all times.
  3. Inventory: Each User is required to keep track of her/his radioactive material. Written inventory summaries are forwarded to the RSO each quarter. Each stock-bottle of radioactive chemicals has its own "Stock Bottle Log" sheet, kept in the white Radiation Notebook. Whoever takes ANY isotope out of the stock-bottle for any purpose (including transfers to other Users) must immediately record the amount taken on the log-sheet.

Radiation Safety Training

The radiation safety training and experience requirements for those affected by a User program are as follows:

  1. Authorized Users: Users must have 20 hours relevant training and experience as required by state law. The User qualifications are reviewed by the RSC. An IRUA is granted only if the applicant is qualified.
  2. Radioisotope Project Workers: Each person (including unpaid students and volunteers) who actually handles radioactive material (including simply washing trace contamination from labware) must be given the training described below, and then must immediately sign the Training Sign-up Sheet in the User's white Radiation Notebook.
    1. General Safety Training ("live" by the CNSM Safety Office or "video", issued in rare instances by Radiation Safety personnel).
    2. General radiation safety training as outlined in "Minimum Training for Radioisotope Lab Personnel" coupled with issue of a personal copy of this "Manual Highlights" document and the "Reproductive Health Policy". This general radiation safety training can be done by the Authorized User, but via one of the periodic training sessions conducted by Radiation Safety is the preferred method.
    3. Radiation Safety Training in the form of reading the CSULB Radiation Safety Manual (borrowed from the Authorized User).
    4. Project-specific safety training for the actual manipulations conducted. This level of training is provided by the Authorized User or a skilled designee approved by the User.
  3. Project Workers Who Do Not Handle Radioisotope: These are people who have routine unescorted access to radioisotope areas. Persons who do not use isotopes but work alone in a laboratory where isotopes are used or stored must receive a brief radiation training session covering applicable topics referenced in "Minimum Training for Radioisotope Lab Personnel" (Radiation Safety Memo #10). The trained person must then immediately sign the Training Sign-up Sheet in the white Radiation Notebook. This training is usually provided by the User, but any Radiation Worker may give this training.
  4. Ancillary Personnel: (visitors, custodians, contractors, salespersons etc) who can be observed by a trained project worker while they are in the radioisotope area need no formal radiation safety training. When such persons are left alone in a radioactive materials area, they must given enough instruction to keep them safe. If they don't seem to understand, don't leave them alone--you're responsible for their safety. If in doubt, call the RSO.
  5. Refresher Training for Radioactive Material Users: Continuing education for IRUA holders and project workers is provided through periodic mandatory refresher training sessions, sponsored by the RSO/RSC. In addition, Users will conduct "Lab Meetings" for project workers.

Program Inspections

Each User program is subject to up to four formal RSO audits per year. The inspection consists of an unannounced review of records, inspection of the facility/equipment, measurement of radiation fields/contamination, and interviews with the User and project personnel. The RSO inspection findings are documented and a copy is provided to the User. If points of non compliance are encountered, the User must take appropriate action and forward a written notice of correction to the RSO.

Radiation Dosimetry

The RSO/RSC dictates the dosimetry requirements (badges and rings) for each program. Dosimeters will not be issued to people using 3H, 14C, and 35S (low-energy emitters). Use of dosimeters as stated on the IRUA is required. Personal dosimeters may NEVER be loaned to another individual. According to 10 CFR 20, radiation workers are allowed to receive a maximum annual dose of:

  • 5 Rem (0.05 Sv) to the whole body (Deep Dose Equivalent)
  • 15 Rem (0.15 Sv) to the lens of the eye (Lens Dose Equivalent)
  • 50 Rem (0.5 Sv) to the extremities or skin (Shallow Dose Equivalent)

Surveys - Radiation Levels/Contamination

  1. Experiment Surveys: An appropriate contamination/exposure survey (five sample points minimum) must be performed immediately after each experiment to demonstrate the absence of contamination. The meter survey and/or instrument print-out data must be immediately logged in the User's white Radiation Notebook. Don't forget to write down which areas you surveyed. Contaminated areas should be cleaned until the surveys show no more removable contamination; the repeat surveys must be documented. Instruments/areas allowed to be contaminated (e.g. tip of pipettor, hot spot on benchcote etc.) and/or sites with non-removable contamination must be labeled as described below. Survey procedures are as follows (see the white Rad Notebook, or lab "How To Do Contamination Survey" poster for details):
    • 3H: No meter use; wipe 5 areas and count in the LSC, put printout in the white Rad Notebook.
    • 32P, 54Mn, 60Co: survey slowly with the pancake GM probe, then log results in the white Rad Notebook.
    • 35S, 14C: find hot spots with the pancake GM probe; do not log these results! Wipe 5 areas and count in the LSC; put printouts in the white Rad Notebook.
    • 125I: survey slowly with the cylindrical gamma probe, then log results in the white Rad Notebook.
    • 109Cd: find hot spots with the cylindrical gamma probe; do not log these results! Wipe 5 areas and count in the gamma counter, put printout in the white Rad Notebook.
  2. Monthly Surveys: Lab personnel must assist the PI in ensuring that ONE MONTHLY SURVEY is performed EACH MONTH for each room where isotopes were used. Only ONE person in each lab need perform this survey. Refer to the above survey instructions; the LSC must be used if 3H, 35S, 14C, 33P or 109Cd has been used even ONCE during the month. Five areas must be surveyed that are not normally checked during experiment surveys. THIS SURVEY DOCUMENTATION MUST BE GIVEN TO THE RADIATION SAFETY OFFICE BY THE 20TH OF EACH MONTH. California's Radiologic Health Branch has cited us in the past for missing one lab's monthly survey out of three years of surveys from 17 different labs.

LSC & Gamma Counter Use

You must wear gloves and a lab coat whenever you use the liquid scintillation counter/gamma counter. Even if you don't think that your samples contain radioactivity (i.e. lab wipes), the counter itself may be contaminated. Remember to sign the log, and write your name and the isotope identity (or "wipes" if appropriate) on the first vial in the rack. Unidentified vials will be removed from the counter and all primary investigators will be notified. If you change the parameters of an existing program, CHANGE THEM BACK before you leave! If you must count for long periods, post a note on the LSC the day before.

Labeling Requirements for Radioactive Material

  1. All radioactive materials, including labware, containers, waste bottles, refrigerators and any known/suspected contaminated equipment or work-area MUST be fully labeled. Each label must include:
    • Radiation symbol (magenta "propeller" on a yellow background)
    • Radioisotope(s) present
    • Amount of radioisotope present (milli or microCuries -- but Becquerels are O.K. too). You may indicate a maximum amount, like "< 1 mCi" (but don't do this on the waste log!)
    • Date the label was prepared (the date is inextricably linked to the Curie amount)
    • Name of the Professor is mandatory for waste containers and for radioactive materials used/stored in joint-use areas. Your name is used in all other cases.
  2. This label information must appear on EACH container/surface as appropriate. The ONLY exception is when "hot" items are confined to a clearly outlined area such as a fume hood or an absorbent paper covered area which is properly labeled (yellow tape, rad sticker, Name, Date, Isotope, Amount).
  3. A yellow/magenta radiation symbol alone is ALWAYS INAPPROPRIATE! (i.e. a flask with "caution Radioactive" tape and no other labeling). This is considered a label violation when found during audits. Remember: Name, Date, Isotope, Amount!

Operational Guidelines and General Work Rules

A set of common sense guidelines appears in the Appendix section of the Manual. Do employ these elementary rules: Keep the meter ON while working; incorporate ALARA in every operation; use "Double Containment" trays for stored radioactive liquids; wear your labcoat and gloves; wear your dosimeters; keep food and drink out of the lab; keep children out of the lab; do not mouth pipette; use a fume hood as needed.

Emergency Procedures

A step by step guide for notification, evacuation, containment, assessment, and clean up/decontamination procedures is outlined in the appendix of the Manual. The User must be notified of any significant spill. The RSO must be notified if the incident cannot be adequately handled by trained program personnel; if a release of radioactive material outside of the authorized location has occurred or is possible; or if personal contamination or ingestion of radioisotope is known or suspected.

CSULB Radioactive Waste Policy


NEVER MIX THE FOLLOWING WASTE TYPES!! Each waste type has its own designated container and a corresponding waste log sheet. You MUST log your radwaste in microcurie amounts (do not use the symbol "<") on the correct log sheet before you leave the lab. Each different radioisotope in the waste must be given a separate entry on the log. Call Radiation Safety at x55623 for a waste pick-up when the container is 4/5 full! Sum microcuries for EACH nuclide on the log-sheet BEFORE CALLING THE RS OFFICE.

Dry Solid Short 1/2 Life (<90 days)

*YELLOW LOG SHEET* This includes 32P, 35S, 125I, 51Cr and 203Hg. No liquids, lead or other chemical or biohazardous materials are permitted in this waste. NO SHARP ITEMS ARE PERMITTED (like pasture pipettes or broken glass). Sharp items must be put in a rigid closed container of some type (NOT benchcote!) before placing in the waste drum. MINIMIZE VOLUME! NO RAD STICKERS/LABELS!

Dry Solid Long 1/2 Life (>90 days)

*PINK LOG SHEET* This includes all other nuclides including, but not limited to, 3H, 14C, 57Co, 109Cd, 57&60Co. No liquids, lead or other chemical or biohazardous materials are permitted in this waste. NO SHARP ITEMS ARE PERMITTED (like pasture pipettes or broken glass). Sharp items must be put in a rigid closed container of some type (NOT benchcote) before placing in the waste drum. MINIMIZE VOLUME! NO RAD STICKERS/LABELS!

Aqueous Liquid (Mixed 1/2 lives OK)

*GREEN LOG SHEET* This waste consists of water-based solutions (alcohols, acetone, trichloroacetic acid, acetic acid, gel fixing/staining solutions etc.) in a bottle placed in a containment tray. Check with Radiation Safety before adding anything but water-based, biodegradable solutions to this waste-stream! KEEP BOTTLE CLOSED EXCEPT WHEN ADDING WASTE. DO NOT FILL MORE THAN 4/5 FULL – LEAVE SOME SPACE!

LSC Vials (Mixed 1/2 lives OK)

*BLUE LOG SHEET* This waste consists of tightly-capped scintillation vials containing LSC cocktail plus samples. These vials are usually stored in the original "flats".

Organic Liquid (Mixed 1/2 lives OK)

*ORANGE LOG SHEET* RSO approval is required prior to generating this waste! This waste type consists of LSC fluid and flammable concentrations of acetone and other solvents or CHEMICALLY COMPATIBLE organic compounds such as phenol. Accumulate in a container placed in a tray or tub. KEEP CONTAINER CLOSED EXCEPT WHEN ADDING WASTE. DO NOT FILL MORE THAN 4/5 FULL – LEAVE SOME SPACE!

Animal Waste

*WHITE LOG SHEET* This waste type consists of carcasses, tissue, blood, excreta etc. Each project generating such waste and the disposition of the waste must be pre-approved by the RSO! This material must usually be stored frozen or refrigerated. RSO approval must also be obtained before disposal by project personnel via the designated garbage disposal.

Unusual Items

Sealed sources/foils, uranium, thorium and consumer products (smoke detectors, anti-static devices, radium dials, etc) may not be put in any of the above waste containers. CALL THE R.S. OFFICE!