Carnegie Mellon University

Radiation Safety

Carnegie Mellon University uses ionizing radiation emitted from radioactive material (RAM) and radiation-producing devices (RPD) for teaching and research purposes.  These activities may present risks to the user, to other individuals and to the environment. The university has put forth its own policies, procedures, and guidelines to establish a safe work environment for personnel who use radioisotopes, x-ray producing equipment, or other sources of ionizing radiation.

The university’s Radiation Safety Program (RSP) has two major objectives:

  • To achieve full compliance with local, state and federal laws and regulations governing the use of RAM and RPDs
  • To ensure that persons engaged in these activities keep their radiation exposures "as low as reasonably achievable" (ALARA)


Carnegie Mellon University operates under the provisions of the United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission (USNRC) and the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (PADEP)-Bureau of Radiation Protection, Title 10 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR), and the Title 25, for the procurement, possession, transportation, and use of all radioactive materials (RAM) and radiation-producing devices (RPD). The physical form and activity of the materials that the university may possess at any one time vary depending upon the licensure requirements.

Two licenses authorize the use of RAM and RPD's on campus:

  1. USNRC/DOE special nuclear materials license
  2. PADEP specific license and RPD registration
Both licenses are available for inspection in the Radiation Safety Office located in room 313 of Mellon Institute.

Executive Management

The Executive Management Representative (EMR) is at the senior level of management and, as the delegate for the university’s President, has the ultimate responsibility for the licenses and the activities associated with the RSP. Therefore the EMR has a key role in overseeing implementation and management of the RSP. The EMR is a member of the RSC, and attends all committee meetings.

Radiation Safety Committee (RSC)

The Radiation Safety Committee (RSC) has been established at Carnegie Mellon University and operates under the authorization of the university's president. It consists of faculty, research staff members, and university administrators, several of whom are knowledgeable in the safe use of sources of radiation. The committee develops and recommends radiation safety policy and monitors the progress and continuity of the RSP. Formal meetings of the committee are held quarterly, at which time it reviews all applications for proposed use of sources of radiation and either approves or denies these applications. The RSC has representatives from Biological Sciences, Chemistry, Civil & Environmental Engineering, Facilities Management Campus Services, Materials Science & Engineering, Molecular BioSensor & Imagine Center, Physics and Environmental Health & Safety.

Radiation Safety Officer (RSO)

The Radiation Safety Officer (RSO) is responsible for the day to day management of the Radiation Safety Program (RSP) and maintaining compliance with the regulations for the use of RAM and RPDs. The RSO is responsible for crafting policies and procedures necessary for an effective and compliant program. The RSO is a member of the RSC and works closely with the Radiation Safety Committee and Executive Management Representative in implementing the RSP. The RSO and his/her staff have full access to all activities involving the use of radioactive material and radiation producing devices. The RSO has the authority to terminate any activity in which health and safety appear to be compromised without consulting Executive Management Representative or the Radiation Safety Committee, if required.