Radiation Safety

Working With Radioisotopes


  • Radioisotopes must be handled only by authorized users in approved areas. Radioisotope labs are marked with appropriate signage. Consult the permit holder before working in a radioisotope area.
  • Before working with radioisotopes, it is necessary to take the U of A Radiation Safety Training Course with online modules and lab session, followed by completion of the U of A radiation safety exam with a mark of 70% or higher.
  • Prior to working with radioisotopes, users must obtain a dosimeter from Dr. Urmila Basu for personal radiation monitoring.
  • Permit holders (and users) must ensure proper records are kept of radioisotope stocks and usage, and perform regular swipes to verify areas and equipment are not contaminated.
  • More information is available at http://www.ehs.ualberta.ca/en/EHSDivisions/RadiationSafety.aspx.

Radioactive Material

  • Ensure that all radioactive stocks and second-generation radioactive products are stored in designated freezers and fridges in the radioactive assigned room.
  • All records must be retained by the University of Alberta for three years and should either be retained by the faculty member who plans to remain at the University or transferred to the Department should the faculty member leave the University of Alberta.
  • A thorough contamination survey using the wipe test technique must be performed on all surfaces of the laboratory where radioactive material was stored or used. This includes floors, handles, bench tops, fume hoods, sinks, equipment, refrigerators and freezers, etc.
  • Any radioactive contamination that is found must be removed by using standard decontamination techniques (refer to the Code of Practice for the Protection of Persons from Radioactive Material and Radiation Emitting Devices). The acceptable level of contamination is less than twice the background count rate on a wipe test.

Disposal of radioactive waste

  • Upon completion of experiments, arrangements must be made for radioisotope waste disposal through Chematix.
  • All radioactive waste must be properly packaged for disposal.
  • Safe disposal is the responsibility of permit holders and their users.
  • Users must specify radioisotopes and total microcuries in packages sent for disposal.
  • Update radioactive inventory sheets to reflect disposal of the radioactive material.

Radiation Safety Guidelines for Non-Users

  • All staff and students who are not working directly with radioisotopes but work in close proximity to where radioisotope materials are handled, must read the Radiation Safety Guidelines for non-users.
  • Signed non-users form must be given to the permit holder for documentation of the training record.

Radioisotope Spills

  • Spill clean-up and subsequent verification are responsibilities of permit holders and users.
  • Clean up of the spill should only be attempted if it is safe to do so.
  • If an emergency situation arises, warn others, evacuate the area, phone 2-5555 and give details.
  • In the Ag/For Ctr, Dr. Urmila Basu (AF 4-32A; 2-8712) can provide assistance.


Decertification of the radioisotope laboratory area

After all radioactive material and waste has been disposed of, and the laboratory has been surveyed, decontaminated and declared free of any radioactive contamination, contact the Radiation Safety Office at 2-7790 or ehs.info@ualberta.ca and request that the laboratory be decertified.