Use of radiation equipment and Class 3B and 4 lasers requires authorization

Donated laboratory equipment comes with regulatory and financial risks.

24 January 2022

Have you been offered laboratory equipment by a departing researcher? Remember that the use of equipment containing nuclear substances (such as electron capture detectors or liquid scintillation counters) requires that you have a valid Nuclear Substance Permit issued by Health, Safety and Environment (HSE). The use of equipment without proper authorization can lead to fines and other penalties by the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission. Owners of equipment containing sealed nuclear substances are also required to cover the costs to dispose of equipment. 

Designated Radiation Equipment must be appropriately used and stored

The use of Class 3B and Class 4 lasers as well as X-ray devices [also called Designated Radiation Equipment (DRE)] also requires you to have a valid registration certificate issued by HSE. Provincial OHS legislation applicable to DRE changed on December 1, 2021, and there is now a higher risk of financial penalties and regulatory enforcement action in the event of non-compliance. All DRE in use on campus must have a valid registration certificate and be operated in laboratories approved for this purpose. Equipment that is not in use must be labeled as such, and in the case of lasers, must be removed from optical tables and stored safely.  

To learn more about regulatory requirements, review the U of A’s Operation of Designated Radiation Equipment ProcedurePossession of Radioactive Substances Procedure, and Purchase of Restricted Items Procedure.

To learn more about working safely with nuclear substances, X-ray devices, and lasers at the University of Alberta, visit the HSE website or contact

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