A radioactive sealed source is radioactive material (RAM) radioactive material that is permanently bonded or fixed in a capsule or matrix designed to prevent release and dispersal of the radioactive material under the most severe conditions which are likely to be encountered in normal use and handling. Sealed sources may contain radioactive neutron, alpha, or beta particle emitting materials.
The University of Arizona Sealed Source Protection Reference Guide provides information on the University’s sealed sources program and the safe use of radioactive sealed sources.
Approval to Use Radioactive Sealed Sources
Approval to use radioactive sealed sources is granted after the appropriate Radiation Safety Committee reviews and approves an Application for New Seal Sources Approval. The radionuclides to be used, their activity, the protocols, the rooms where the material will be used and stored, and off-site locations must be specified in the application.
To amend approved protocols, including adding radionuclides, increasing activity limits, changing or adding storage locations, or modifying device in which the source is contained, an Approval Holder is required to submit an Application for an Application to Amend Sealed Sources Approval for review and approval by the appropriate Radiation Safety Committee.
The Sealed Source Protection Course is required for all research personnel working with radioactive sealed sources, other than those in moisture gauges and the gamma irradiator facilities.
Approval Safety Coordinators must also complete an Approval Holder Orientation, provided by Research Laboratory & Safety Services (RLSS) personnel. Contact RLSS at (520) 626-6850 to schedule this training.
The Approval Holder is required to maintain a record of sealed source use. The date used, person using the source, and analysis type must be logged for each use.
Various types of sealed sources require different logs:
Sealed source users have different training requirements based on the type and use of the sealed sources possessed under the approval Approval Holder. There are four categories of source use:
- electron capture detector
- gamma irradiator
- soil moisture gauge
- general sealed source
The Approval Holder (AH) or the Approval Safety Coordinator (ASC) initiates the training process by contacting Research Laboratory & Safety Services (email@example.com) with the following information:
- Worker’s Legal Name
- Official work email address
- Approval Name and Number
The worker, AH, and ASC will be notified of their status throughout the process.
Call RLSS at (520) 626-6850 if you have additional questions.
Electron Capture Detectors
Prospective Electron Capture Detector (ECD) users are required to obtain a safety orientation from the designated member of your source Approval (usually the Approval Holder or Approval Safety Coordinator) who has attended the Radioactive Source Protection Course. This orientation will be documented on the Electron Capture Detector Orientation form, which are then maintained for inspection by the Approval Holder.
The Approval Holder or Approval Safety Coordinator must contact Research Laboratory Safety Services (RLSS) to arrange for you to be enrolled into the Sealed Source Protection Course if you are chosen to provide and document electron capture detector orientations for other new ECD users.
Approval to Use an Irradiator Facility
Individuals seeking unescorted access to an irradiator facility must have their Principal Investigator or Department Head prepare a brief written memorandum that advocates their trustworthiness and details the protocols to be performed at the facility.
The memorandum of trustworthiness must specifically:
- state how long the individual needs to use the facility and
- request that the potential irradiator user have unescorted access to the facility and
- state that the individual is deemed trustworthy
The Gamma Irradiator Protection Course is required for all personnel who wish to operate gamma irradiators. Registration occurs after a prospective user has been deemed Trustworthy & Reliable (T & R). Contact the appropriate Approval Holder or Approval Safety Coordinator to begin the T & R process.
Approval to use a Moisture Gauge
Approval to Use Radioactive Sealed Sources is granted to an individual for the use of moisture gauges after the Radiation Safety Committee has reviewed and approved an Application for New Seal Sources Approval. The radionuclides that will be used, their activity, the protocols, the rooms where the gauges will be used and stored, and off-site locations must be specified in the application.
In order to obtain readings at depths of over 20 feet, the Approval holder must obtain specific approval from the Radiation Safety Committee. The submission must include assurances that all sample holes will be cased and that either a kellem’s grip will be used for the probe or secondary support line or that an inert probe of the same dimension as the live probe will be deployed to and retrieved from the required reading depth before using the live probe. Research Laboratory & Safety Services can assist with drafting the submission to the Radiation Safety Committee.
To change approved protocols, add radionuclides, raise activity limits, modify routine transport plans, change or add storage locations, an Approval Holder must submit an Application to Amend Sealed Sources Approval for review and approval by the appropriate Radiation Safety Committee.
The Moisture Gauge Protection Course is required for all personnel working with soil moisture gauges.
RAM Transporter Training
Radioactive Material Transporter training is required for all individuals who will transport radioactive material, such as sealed sources, seeds, and soil moisture gauges at the University of Arizona.
For more information or to request RAM Transporter training, please contact Research Laboratory & Safety Services at (520) 626-6850 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Emergency Procedures (PDF)
Notice to Employees (PDF)
Please contact Research Laboratory & Safety Services at (602) 626-6850 with any questions.