10.0 Radiation and Contamination Surveys

While research programs rely on the RSO's advice for accident prevention, correct experimental design and radiation protection procedures, and a conscientious radiation survey program is necessary to maintain awareness of possible radiation hazards.

10.1 Authorized Users

It is the responsibility of individual Users to perform appropriate radiation and/or contamination surveys in areas where radiation or radioactive contamination may exist. Procedures/facilities involving high potential for contamination/radiation to be present will be surveyed by the Authorized User during or immediately following radioactive material/radiation use. These surveys must be documented whenever the area has been in use. As a general policy, individual users are required to obtain suitable equipment for their own monitoring needs. The RSO will advise the Authorized Users in the selection and correct use of their instrumentation. The Radiation Safety Office will provide calibration for commonly used instruments (i.e., ion chambers and Geiger counters) and will assist the Authorized User in obtaining calibration services for the less commonly used instruments. It should be noted, that improper use of instruments may lead to misinterpretation of the hazards which could result in excessive and unnecessary radiation exposures.

10.1.1 Smear or Swipe Surveys

The most effective method for detecting removable contamination is to take smears in work areas >100 cm2 per smear, etc., using filter papers. The smears are then counted in a suitable detection system approved by the RSO, (i.e., for H-3 a liquid scintillation counter is used). The resulting counts give an indication of the levels of contamination. If contamination is found, decontaminate the area and repeat smear surveys. All findings, actions taken to decontaminate, and the final swipe test results must be documented. Contact EH&S if contamination persists.

10.1.2 Radiation Surveys

Personnel in the areas with moderate to high energy beta emitters (>0.1MeV) and x-ray or gamma emitters must use an appropriate radiation detection instrument to establish that radiation exposures are being adequately controlled. Use a map of the facility and record the readings from the radiation survey meter in the location on the map. Also include the surveyor, date, building and room number, instrument and probe used (model and serial numbers), instrument calibration date and any information regarding the survey. This must be available for inspection. Radiation levels must be AS LOW AS REASONABLY ACHIEVABLE in the radioactive material use facility and must not create a radiation area in any other area such as hallways, rooms next to and directly above and below except designated radiation areas.

10.2 Radiation Safety Office

The Radiation Safety Staff will conduct appropriate radiation and/or contamination (smear) survey inspections within each laboratory/facility at intervals of at least every 6 months. An inspection form should be used for surveys and will become the written report that will be placed on file in the EH&S Office.

The routine inspections will require a site visit to ensure that all provisions of this Radiation Safety Manual are carried out and that radiation and surface contamination levels are within the UNR Administrative Limits.

10.3 Reporting of Survey Findings

  1. A copy of the inspection report will be sent to the Authorized User. Matters requiring immediate action, such as removable contamination, will be reported by telephone.
  2. Each survey report is reviewed by the RSO and will include, if appropriate, findings, corrective measures to be taken by the user, and the time allotted to accomplish the corrective measures.
  3. Authorized Users will maintain a separate file of survey reports for each area where they use radioactive material, e.g., each posted laboratory and storage area.