Radiation Safety

A radioactive caution signs are placed where radioactive material are used. Ionizing radiation is an extremely important NDT tool but it can pose a hazard to human health. For this reason, special precautions must be observed when using and working around ionizing radiation. The possession of radioactive materials and use of radiation producing devices in the United States is governed by strict regulatory controls. The primary regulatory authority for most types and uses of radioactive materials is the federal Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC). However, more than half of the states in the US have entered into "agreement" with the NRC to assume regulatory control of radioactive material use within their borders. As part of the agreement process, the states must adopt and enforce regulations comparable to those found in Title 10 of the Code of Federal Regulations. Regulations for control of radioactive material used in Iowa are found in Chapter 136C of the Iowa Code.

For most situations, the types and maximum quantities of radioactive materials possessed, the manner in which they may be used, and the individuals authorized to use radioactive materials are stipulated in the form of a "specific" license from the appropriate regulatory authority. In Iowa, this authority is the Iowa Department of Public Health. However, for certain institutions which routinely use large quantities of numerous types of radioactive materials, the exact quantities of materials and details of use may not be specified in the license. Instead, the license grants the institution the authority and responsibility for setting the specific requirements for radioactive material use within its facilities. These licensees are termed "broadscope" and require a Radiation Safety Committee and usually a full-time Radiation Safety Officer. For more information on ionizing radiation safety go to Engineering Radiation Safety.