Radiation Safety FAQs

Can I take my radioactive material to another facility outside Yale University?

After completing the necessary regulatory requirements, radioactive material may be shipped from Yale. There are very specific regulations about the transport of radioactive material on public streets. Radioactive material may not be taken on the Yale shuttles or in personal vehicles. Arrangements for the shipment of radioactive material in certified shipping containers and by approved carriers may be made by contacting Radiation Safety.

Is there a limit to the amount of radioactive material that can be stored in the laboratory at one time?

Yes. When a Principal Investigator is granted approval to use radioactive material by the Yale University Radiation Safety Committee, certain limits are authorized. The maximum amount to be ordered at in one day is stated as part of the approval. The maximum amount allowed to be in the possession of one Principal Investigator at one time is also stated. The total amount of radioactive material in all individual laboratory rooms used by that PI is summed. This total, including waste and experiments in progress in the labs, must not exceed the authorization limits.

How is radioactive material stored at Yale?

Each radioactive material comes from the vendor with storage information. Depending on its chemical form, it may need to be stored at room temperature, refrigerated or frozen. Whatever temperature or storage conditions are required, stock vials of radioactive material must be stored in a secure manner. A lockbox, locked refrigerated/freezer or locked lab must be part of your plan to ensure safe, secure storage of radioactive materials. All radioactive solutions must be well labeled as to isotope, activity and date.

How is radioactive material ordered at Yale?

After a Principal Investigator has received approval to purchase radioactive material, orders may be placed using the Yale Procurement department’s online ordering program called SciQuest. Phone orders may also be placed by calling Radiation Safety Purchasing at 203-737-2118. All orders for radioactive material must be placed with Radiation Safety or using Yale’s SciQuest purchasing system. Do not place orders for radioactive materials directly through the Yale Purchasing Department.

Can I work with radiation producing equipment or radioactive material if I am pregnant?

Generally, yes. The vast majority of work performed at Yale with radioactive materials can continue without modification during pregnancy. Once a person officially informs her employer in writing of her pregnancy using the Radioactive Material Use-Declaration of Pregnancy Form found in the Safe Use of Radiation by Pregnant Personnel Policy, new dose limits apply. A person can obtain a second film badge from Radiation Safety.

What are the commonly used radioactive materials at Yale?

Yale University has a Broad Type License from the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC). This allows researchers at Yale to use dozens of different radionuclides. However, the vast majority of the radioactive material used at Yale involves low-energy beta emitters used for biomedical research. These include H-3, C-14 and S-35. A high-energy beta emitter, P-32, is also commonly used. In addition, I-125 which has a complex decay scheme, is routinely used by many research groups at Yale.

Who is required to attend radiation safety training?

The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) requires training for all individuals who, in the course of employment (or study), are likely to receive an occupational exposure of 100 mRem in one year. The training should be commensurate with their activities. In general, such training includes biological effects of radiation, their responsibilities to report promptly any condition which may lead to or cause a violation of regulations or unnecessary exposure and the proper response to signs and warnings.

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