Q. What is the purpose of monthly surveys?
Monthly surveys are required to ensure your approved radioactive material use/storage areas are free of radioactive contamination.
Q. What is the difference between an after-use survey and the monthly survey?
The after-use survey is performed to ensure your radioactive material (RAM) workspace is free of radioactive contamination after each use radioactive material. The monthly survey is performed to ensure all the rooms on your approval are free of radioactive contamination.
Q. Does every approval perform monthly surveys?
Yes, all approvals in possession of radioactive material (including in storage and in waste) any time during a calendar month must perform a monthly survey unless the approval has been granted a specific approval condition exempting them from the requirement.
Q. When does the monthly survey have to be performed?
Monthly surveys must be performed every calendar month in which radioactive material is possessed.
Q. What rooms are required to be surveyed?
Every room listed on your RAM approval must be surveyed. Monthly surveys may be limited to RAM storage areas during calendar months in which RAM is only in storage and not in use.
Q. Who can perform a monthly survey?
Any radiation worker listed on your approval may perform and document a monthly survey.
Q. What should be surveyed during a monthly survey?
- All areas where radioactive material is used or stored
- Commonly touched items, such as light switches, RAM storage area exterior surfaces, telephones, tools, equipment controls, door handles, or computer keyboards/mice
- Commonly travelled floor areas such as entrances or exits and the floor near RAM use areas, waste storage locations and frequently used equipment
Q. What survey methods are approved for the monthly survey?
The method depends on what radionuclide(s) your approval is approved to possess and use:
- Approvals approved for low energy beta emitters (such as C-14, S-35 and H-3 ) must use a liquid scintillation counter.
- Approvals approved for high energy beta emitters (such as P-32) can use a pancake probe Geiger counter.
- Approvals approved for low energy gammas emitters (such as I-125 or Cr-51) can use a low energy gamma scintillation probe.
- Wipes surveys with a liquid scintillation counter can substitute for portable instrument surveys.
Q. What are the survey documentation requirements?
All surveys (both monthly and after-use) must include:
- Date survey was performed
- Initials of the surveyor
- A background count or count rate
- Location(s) surveyed
- Results for each location
- Follow-up survey results, if necessary
Q. What corrective actions must be taken if a required survey is not performed?
- Perform a survey immediately .
- Inform the Approval Holder or Approval Safety Coordinator that a survey was missed.
Q. How do I know if an area is contaminated?
The action level for contamination is 50 counts per minute (cpm) above the background count rate.
Q. What do I need to do if the action level is exceeded?
The area must be immediately decontaminated and a documented follow-up survey must be performed to show that contamination does not exceed the action level.
Q. Where do survey records have to be kept?
There are no specific requirements for where survey records must be maintained. Survey records must be readily available for inspection by Research Laboratory & Safety Services or outside regulatory agencies.
Q. How long must we maintain survey records?
Survey records must be maintained for three years after the date of the survey.
Q. How many areas or objects should be included on the monthly survey?
There is no set number of areas required to be surveyed, but you must ensure that all radioactive material use areas within the lab are covered.
Q. When are monthly surveys not required?
Monthly surveys are not required when there is no radioactive material in your inventory (including in storage and in waste) for the entire calendar month.
The approval has been given a special condition from the Radiation Safety Committee(s).