Radiation

Radiation refers to the transfer of energy through space away from a source. At the university, radioisotopes and radiation producing equipment such as lasers and X-ray machines are often used in research activities. 

EHS provides technical expertise and support to ensure compliance with federal and provincial regulations as they pertain to the use of radioactive material at the university. Our services include the following:
  • Review and approval of applications for work with radioisotopes & radiation-emitting devices & purchase of materials
  • Advice on equipment and laboratory decontamination
  • Inspections of laser and x-ray equipment

Dosimetry is the act of measuring or estimating radiation doses and assigning them to individuals.

There are two types of radiation exposure:

  • External exposure, which occurs when the source of ionizing radiation is outside of the body
  • Internal exposure, which occurs when the radiation is emitted by nuclear substances inside the body

Personal dosimetry is used to ascertain doses to personnel working in nuclear and X-ray facilities. External exposures are monitored using small radiation detectors called dosimeters, which are worn on the person. These dosimeters are provided by the service providers licenced by the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission. The University of Alberta staff and students that work in selected facilities or laboratories are required to wear personal dosimeters that are typically exchanged every three months. The dosimeters that were worn are sent back to the service provider for reading. The reports with the results are submitted to the Environment, Health and Safety department for analysis and record keeping. Internal exposures are typically monitored by measuring the presence of nuclear substances in the body, or by measuring nuclear substances excreted by the body.

There are two internal bioassay programs administered at the University of Alberta:

  • thyroid monitoring for I-125 uptake
  • urine testing for tritium uptake.

More information can be found as follows: http://nuclearsafety.gc.ca/pubs_catalogue/uploads/INFO-0827-Introduction-to-Dosimetry-e.pdf http://nuclearsafety.gc.ca/pubs_catalogue/uploads/I0742_e.pdf

 

Regulators/regulations

Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC)

International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) "Safeguards" Program (Regulated in Canada by the CNSC) 

  • Program that regulates the use, production, and storage of certain nuclear materials (uranium, thorium, plutonium); preparations that include these materials; and any research and development pertaining to the nuclear fuel cycle
  • Program requires completion of the CNSC Safeguard Declaration form; for an example of a completed form (nuclear material section only), click here.
  • More information about the program is available here

Alberta Occupational Health & Safety

Health Canada

Planning to work with radioisotopes, lasers or x-ray equipment at the university?

Contact EHS