Safety Office

Section 13: Precautions with Sources of Ionising Radiation

The use in the University of radioactive materials and apparatus producing ionising radiation is governed by the Ionising Radiations Regulations 1999. The acquisition and disposal of radioactive materials is regulated by the Radioactive Substances Act 1993, which is enforced by the Environment Agency. The Director of Health and Safety exercises general supervision in these matters.

The University's arrangements for managing work with sources of ionising radiation are described in Safe Working with Radiation PDF format, which is published on the Safety Office web-site.

The Safety Office must be pre-notified of any intention to commence work with radiation sources for the first time or of subsequent significant changes, for example at a new location, or with new or additional sources, or for a new application using existing sources. This to enable the Safety Office to ensure that the work can be carried out in accordance with the legal requirements. Particular attention must be paid to certain types of analytical equipment which, although not involving deliberate work with radioactive material, might contain a radioactive source as part of the detection system, for example electron capture devices found on some gas chromatograms, or calibration sources for liquid scintillation counters.

Each School working with radiation sources must:

    • Appoint at least one Radiation Protection Supervisor to provide local control and advice on radiation matters. No work with ionising radiation is permitted without such an appointment.
    • Develop a set of written Local Rules for safe working with radiation, and the acquisition and disposal of radioactive materials.
    • Register radiation workers with the Safety Office.
    • Pre-notify to the Safety Office the intention to acquire, relocate, modify, decommission or dispose of closed radioactive source or X-ray equipment.
    • Pre-notify to the Safety Office the intention to work with radiochemicals.
    • Prior to working with radiation sources, a risk assessment must be completed and written procedures for use produced.
    • No radiation work may be carried out without the knowledge and consent of the Radiation Protection Supervisor and the Safety Office.

Every individual working with ionising radiations or radioactive substances has a duty to protect both themselves and others from any hazard arising from his work. They must inform themselves of the correct safe working procedures as outlined in the Radiation Safety Rules PDF format (personal issue as part of the worker registration process) and in the Area Local Rules.

Further information may be found in the notes accompanying the radiation training that is held for new radiation workers. A copy of these notes can be found at the Safety Office website PDF format.

It is a legal requirement under the Radioactive Substances Act that radioactive materials may be brought into the University, and radioactive waste disposed of, only in accordance with authorisation from the Environment Agency. Hence all orders for radioactive materials must be countersigned by the School Radiation Protection Supervisor. Radiochemical orders, stocks and disposals must be recorded on Isostock at the time that the transaction is made. Regular recorded checks (usually at least monthly) are made of both radiochemical stocks and closed sources. Undergraduates must not attempt to dispose of any radioactive waste.

There are also strict controls on the movement or transport of radioactive materials between different premises. These controls include requirements on the packaging and labelling to be used, documentation to accompany the package and duties on the driver of the vehicle. Radioactive materials cannot be sent through the post or carried on public transport. There are couriers who specialise in this. Advice must be sought from the Safety Office if work of this nature is being considered, e.g. collaborative work with other organisations or between different campuses. Information is also available on the Safety Office website PDF format.

Access to laboratories where the Trefoil Radiation symbol is posted on the door is strictly limited to authorised personnel.

Black Trefoil on yellow background.

For Further Advice Contact:

Safety Office - tel. 13401/e-mail or the School Radiation Protection Supervisor.


Safety Office

Pharmacy Building - Lower Ground Floor
University Park
University of Nottingham
Nottingham, NG7 2RD

Telephone: +44 (0)115 951 3401