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Radiation Safety Training for Users


This training course has been partially adapted. from s provided ... Radiation Wavelength in Angstrom Units. Photon Energy in Million Electron Volts (MeV) ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Radiation Safety Training for Users

Refresher Training for Users of Radiation
Producing Devices
Elayna Mellas Radiation Safety Officer Environment
al Health Safety Manager Clarkson
University Downtown Snell 155 Tel
315-268-6640 emellas_at_clarkson.edu
This training course has been partially
adapted from slides provided by Steve Backurz,
Radiation Safety Officer of The University of New
  • Radiation is a valuable tool used in research at
  • Electron microscopes
  • X-ray fluorescence spectrometry
  • X-ray diffraction analysis of samples for
    chemistry and engineering research
  • Radioactive materials and X-ray machines are very
    safe if used properly and simple precautions are

The Basics Definitions
  • Radioactivity The spontaneous disintegration or
    decay of an unstable atom, resulting in the
    release of energy (radiation).
  • Radiation Energy in the form of particles or
  • Radioactive material Any material that is
    composed of (or contains) radioactive atoms.
  • Ion Any atom or molecule with an imbalance in
    electrical charge. Ions are very unstable and
    will seek electrical neutrality by reacting with
    other atoms or molecules
  • Activity The number of disintegrations (decays)
    occurring per unit of time.
  • Half Life The time it takes for an amount of
    radioactive material to lose half (50) of its
    activity because of decay.

The Particles
  • ALPHA PARTICLE (?) A high energy particle
    emitted from the nucleus during the decay of an
  • Travel a few centimeters in air
  • Stopped by a sheet of paper or layer of skin
  • Not an external hazard ingestion or inhalation
  • BETA PARTICLE (?) A high energy particle emitted
    from the nucleus during the decay of an atom
  • Travel 10 to 20 feet in air
  • Stopped by a book
  • Shielding high energy betas with lead can
    generate more radiation due to Bremsstrahlung
  • GAMMA RADIATION (?) Electromagnetic radiation
    emitted from the nucleus during decay
  • No mass, no charge
  • Travel many feet in air

  • The Electromagnetic Spectrum

  • X-Rays
  • Wave type of radiation - non-particulate
  • Photons originating from the electron cloud
  • Same properties as gamma rays relative to mass,
    charge, distance traveled, and shielding
  • Characteristic X-rays are generated when
    electrons fall from higher to lower energy
    electron shells
  • Discrete energy depending on the shell energy
    level of the atom
  • Bremsstrahlung X-rays are created when electrons
    or beta particles slow down in the vicinity of a
  • Produced in a broad spectrum of energies
  • Reason you shield betas with low density material

  • Bremsstrahlung Radiation

Energy is lost by the incoming charged particle
through a radiative mechanism
Beta Particle
Bremsstrahlung Photon

  • X-Ray Machine Components

  • X-Ray Machine Basics
  • kVp - how penetrating the X-rays are
  • Mammography - 20 - 30 kVp
  • Dental - 70 - 90 kVp
  • Chest - 110 - 120 kVp
  • mA - how much radiation is produced
  • Time - how long the machine is on
  • Combination of the above determines exposure

  • Ionization

Ionization by a Beta particle
ejected electron
Beta Particle
Colliding Coulombic Fields
The neutral absorber atom acquires a positive
  • Gamma Interactions
  • Gamma interactions differ from charged particle
  • Interactions called "cataclysmic" - infrequent
    but when they occur lot of energy transferred
  • Three possibilities
  • May pass through - no interaction
  • May interact, lose energy change direction
    (Compton effect)
  • May transfer all its energy disappear
    (photoelectric effect)

  • Compton Effect

An incident photon interacts with an orbital
electron to produce a recoil electron and a
scattered photon of energy less than the incident
Before interaction
After interaction
Scattered Photon
Electron is ejected from atom
Incoming photon Collides with electron
Biological Effects
Effects of Acute Whole Body Exposure on Man
  • Acute Exposure
  • Large Doses Received in a Short Time Period
  • Accidents
  • Nuclear War
  • Cancer Therapy
  • Short Term Effects (Acute Radiation Syndrome 150
    to 350 rad Whole Body)
  • Anorexia Nausea Erythema Fatigue
  • Vomiting Hemorrhage
  • Epilation Diarrhea Mortality

Biological Effects
  • Chronic Exposure
  • Doses Received over Long Periods
  • Background Radiation Exposure
  • Occupational Radiation Exposure
  • 50 rem acute vs 50 rem chronic
  • acute no time for cell repair
  • chronic time for cell repair
  • Average US will receive 20 - 30 rem lifetime
  • Long Term Effects
  • Increased Risk of Cancer
  • 0.07 per rem lifetime exposure
  • Normal Risk 30 (cancer incidence)

  • Background Exposure
  • Your exposure to radiation can never be zero
    because background radiation is always present
  • Natural Sources (Radon), Cosmic, Terrestrial,
    Medical Diagnostic, Consumer Products, etc

Annual Dose from Background Radiation
Total exposure
Man-made sources
Total US average dose equivalent 360 mrem/year
Standards for Rad Protection
  • Occupational Limits (Researchers)
  • 5 rem per year (total effective dose equivalent
  • 50 rem per year (any single organ)
  • 15 rem per year lens of the eye
  • 50 rem per year skin dose
  • Members of Public
  • 100 mrem per year
  • No more than 2 mrem in any one hour in
    unrestricted areas from external sources
  • Declared Pregnant Females (Occupational)
  • 500 mrem/term (evenly distributed)
  • Declaration is voluntary and must be submitted to
    RSO in writing (see form on website)

  • Clarkson Anticipated
  • Worker Radiation Exposure
  • Anticipated Exposures Less than the minimum
    detectable dose for film badges (10
    mrem/month) - essentially zero
  • Average annual background exposure for U.S.
    population 360 mrem/year
  • State and Federal Exposure Limits 5000 mrem/year

  • Uses of Radiation

Consumer Products
  • Building materials
  • Tobacco (Po-210)
  • Smoke detectors (Am-241)
  • Welding rods (Th-222)
  • Television (low levels of X-rays)
  • watches other luminescent products (tritium or
  • Gas lantern mantles
  • Fiesta ware (Ur-235)
  • Jewelry

Research at Clarkson Using Radiation Sources
  • Radioactive Materials (both open and sealed
  • Gas Chromatographs (sealed sources)
  • Liquid Scintillation Counters (sealed sources for
    internal standards)
  • X-ray Diffraction equipment
  • Electron microscopes
  • X-ray fluorescence spectrometer

  • Medical
  • Diagnostic
  • X-rays
  • Nuclear Medicine (Tc-99m, Tl-201, I-123)
  • Positron Emission Tomography (PET)
  • Therapeutic
  • X-rays (Linear Accelerators)
  • Radioisotopes
  • Brachytherapy (Cs-137, Ir-192, Ra-226)
  • Teletherapy (Co-60)
  • Radiopharmaceuticals (I-131, Sr-89, Sm-153)

Reducing Exposure
  • The goal of radiation protection is to keep
    radiation doses As Low As Reasonably Achievable
    and eliminate any unnecessary dose to yourself,
    coworkers, and the public
  • Clarkson is committed to keeping radiation
  • exposures to all personnel ALARA
  • What is reasonable?
  • Includes
  • State and cost of technology
  • Cost vs. benefit
  • Societal socioeconomic considerations

A s L ow A s R easonably A chievable
Practicing ALARA
Protect Yourself Your Colleagues!
  • Time minimize the time that you are in contact
    with radioactive material to reduce exposure
  • Distance keep your distance. If you double the
    distance the exposure rate drops by factor of 4
  • Shielding place a barrier between you and the
    radioactive source
  • Source Reduction order and use the smallest
    amount of radioactive materials as necessary
  • Protective clothing protects against
    contamination only - keeps radioactive material
    off skin and clothes

Shielding Recommendations
  • Betas (ex 32P)
  • Use material with low atomic number, such as
  • Plastic, lucite, acrylic
  • Wood, paper, cardboard
  • Gammas (ex 125I or 51Cr)
  • Use material with high atomic number, such as
  • Lead, concrete, bricks, stainless steel, cast

  • External Radiation
  • Inverse Square Law

  • Gamma Ray Constant
  • Gamma Ray Constant to determine exposure rate
  • ??(mSv/hr)/MBq at 1 meter
  • Hint multiply (mSv/hr)/MBq by 3.7
  • to get (mrem/hr)/uCi
  • Exposure Rate Calculation, X (mrem/hr) at one

X ??????? Where, A Activity (?Ci)
? ??Gamma Ray Constant(mSv/hr)/Mbq
3.7 is the conversion factor
Sample Calculation
  • 5 Curie Cs-137 Source
  • Calculate Exposure Rate at 1 meter
  • ? 1.032 E-4 mSv/hr/MBq _at_ 1 meter
  • X 1.032 E-4 3.7 5 Ci 1000 mCi/Ci 1000
  • X 1909 mrem/hour
  • X 1.91 rem/hour

Detecting Contamination
Survey Meters are portable instruments that can
be used to detect most spots of contamination -
except for 3H.
Wipe Testing must always be done for 3H and lower
activities (100 µCi or less) of 35S and 14C.
Detecting Common Isotopes
Sodium Iodide (NaI) Probe
Survey Meter
Geiger- Mueller (GM) Probe
Liquid Scintillation Counter
Survey Meter Operability
Each USER must verify that the survey instrument
is in good working order before each use.
  • Check calibration date (not older than 12
  • Batteries must be fresh / good
  • Background count rate
  • Detector/instrument must be responsive
  • Miscellaneous conditions…?
  • Check Physical Condition
  • Cables, Connections, Damage
  • Select Proper Scale
  • Response Time (Fast or Slow?)
  • Audio (On or Off)

  • A radiation detector will not detect every
    disintegration from a source (i.e., they are not
    100 efficient)
  • Counts per minute (cpm) is the number of
    disintegrations that a detector sees
  • The efficiency of a detector is determined by the
  • Efficiency net cpm / dpm
  • gross cpm background cpm / dpm

Survey Meter Background Levels
Remember that background is radiation coming from
the environment, and it cannot be prevented or
Each detector will have its own background level.
1st check the background level - use it as a
baseline. Observed Background Zero
Any reading higher than the background level
means the item is radioactive.
Regulatory Agencies
  • U. S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission
  • Regulates the nuclear industry pursuant to the
    Atomic Energy Act
  • Regulatory guides published to describe methods
    for complying with regulations
  • Agreement States
  • Some states have entered into an agreement with
    the NRC to regulate by-product material (and
    small quantities of source and special nuclear
  • Currently, 30 states are agreement states
    including New York

Radiation at Clarkson
  • Activities are licensed by the State of New York
  • Radiation Safety Committee has responsibility to
    review, approve, and oversee activities
  • Radiation Safety Officer (RSO) runs program
  • Clarkson is required to
  • Train individuals that use sources of radiation
  • Train non-radiation workers that work in the
    vicinity of radiation sources
  • Monitor and control radiation exposures
  • Maintain signs, labels, postings

Posting Labeling Notices
  • Posting
  • New York Notice to employees form
  • Caution Radiation Producing Devices or X-Rays

  • Employee Rights
  • and Responsibilities
  • Right to report any radiation protection problem
    to state without repercussions
  • Responsibility to comply with the Radiation
    Protection Program and the RSO's instructions
    pertaining to radiation protection
  • Right to request inspection
  • in writing
  • grounds for notice
  • signed
  • Responsibility to cooperate with NY State
    inspectors during inspections and RSO during
    internal lab audits

  • Inspections
  • NY shall be afforded opportunity to inspect at
    all reasonable times
  • Records shall be made available
  • Inspector may consult with workers privately
  • Worker may bring matters to inspector privately
  • Workers can request inspection
  • Must be in writing
  • Name is not revealed

Internal Audits
  • Internal audits by Clarkson RSO are performed in
    all labs on campus
  • Looking for same things as state inspector
  • Security of radiation producing devices
  • Proper procedures in use
  • Postings, dosimetry, survey meters, calibrations,
    records of surveys, etc.

  • Your Role
  • in Radiation Protection
  • Report anything that looks out of the ordinary or
    if you are uncertain about what to do, where to
    go, requirements, exposures
  • Call the people on the emergency list
  • Ask the Radiation Safety Officer (RSO)
  • Elayna Mellas
  • 268-6640
  • emellas_at_clarkson.edu

This training course has been adapted from
slides provided by Steve Backurz, Radiation
Safety Officer of The University of New
Hampshire and Eric Andersen, Radiation Safety
Officer at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute.
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