Radiation and Radioactive Materials (RAM) are valuable tools in research and can be used in a variety of disciplines ranging from biology to physics. More than 30 labs at Carnegie Mellon University (CMU) use radionuclides.
RAM can be classified as unsealed material, sealed sources or generally licensed devices.
Unsealed materials are typically liquid chemicals that are radioactive. Special care must be taken when handling these materials to limit exposure and prevent contamination. Principle Investigators wishing to use unsealed sources must apply for a Radionuclide Authorization (RA) from the Radiation Safety Committee
Sealed sources are solid materials, usually metal or plastic, that encapsulate a core of radioactive material. While sealed sources emit radiation, they are designed so that the radioactive material stays within, minimizing the chance of contamination. Sealed source activities also require a RA.
Generally licensed devices are instruments that require a radioactive component in order to function properly. Examples of these include static eliminators, aerosol neutralizers and some gas chromatographs. No special authorization is required to use or possess these articles; however, they must be registered with the Radiation Safety Office.
Ancillary Safety Training is required for those persons who do not work with radioactive materials themselves, but who work in an area containing radioactive materials, or who have cause to enter such an area as part of their work.
Radionuclide (RAM) New User Training is the first step to using either unsealed RAM or sealed sources (or both). This training is available online but arrangements may be made with the Radiation Safety Office to have training conducted in person for larger groups.
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The second step is completion of the training practicum. The practicum is conducted in a laboratory environment and allows new users to practice survey and spill response. Arrangements for this training may be made when completing the information page following the online quiz.
If you have any questions regarding Carnegie Mellon's Radiation Safety policies and procedures, please consult the university's Radiation Safety Plan (a copy can be provided to you upon request or reviewed at the EH&S offices). You may also contact the RSO at (412) 268-8405.