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Student in research lab performing tests.

Research Using Radiation

The University Radiation Safety Committee (RSC) oversees the conduct of the Radiation Protection Program and establishes policies and procedures for the safe handling of radioactive material and radiation-producing machines. Common sources of radioactive materials and ionizing radiation include diagnostic X-ray machines, analytical and diffraction x-ray machines, Nickel-63 foils in electron capture detectors, Radioimmunoassay (RIA) kits, Mossbauer sources, radio-labeled chemicals (such as nucleotides and amino acids labeled with tritium, carbon-14, and phosphorous-32), and Strontium-90 eye irradiators.

A Radiation Safety Officer implements the policies and procedures established by the RSC and ensures that research involving the use of ionizing radiation is conducted in accordance with the provisions of the University's U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) and Virginia Department of Health licenses. Researchers wishing to use radioactive materials or radiation-producing machines must have RSC approval prior to possessing and using the material or machine. The University's Radiation Protection Manual outlines the approval process for new users of radioactive material or radiation-producing machines, amending existing approval and termination of activities at the University.

The Manual also defines the University's expectations for each user of radioactive material and radiation-producing machines with regard to safe work practices, training, emergency procedures, procurement of material and machines, inventory control and regulatory limits and requirements.

For more information, please contact the Radiation Safety Officer in the Office of Environmental Health & Safety at (757) 683-4495.

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