Carnegie Mellon University

Radioactive Materials (RAM)

Radiation and Radioactive Materials (RAM) are valuable tools in research and can be used in a variety of disciplines ranging from biology to physics. RAM can be classified as:

  • Sealed sources
  • Unsealed materials
  • Generally licensed devices

Sealed Sources

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. Principle Investigators wishing to use sealed sources must apply for a Radionuclide Authorization (RA) from the Radiation Safety Committee.
ba-133 radioactive source

Unsealed Sources

test tubes
Unsealed materials are typically liquid or powder chemicals that are radioactive. Special care must be taken when handling these materials to limit exposure and prevent contamination. Unsealed source activities also require an RA.

Generally Licensed Devices

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; however, they must be registered with the Radiation Safety Office.
marie curie

Policies and Procedures

If you have any questions regarding Carnegie Mellon's Radiation Safety policies and procedures, please consult the university's Radiation Safety Plan.

Training Requirements

Ancillary Training

For those persons who do not work with radioactive materials themselves, but who work in an area posted for radioactive materials, or who have cause to enter such an area as part of their work.

Radionuclide (RAM) New User Training

This is the first step to using either unsealed RAM or sealed sources (or both). 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.