printer friendly version | forms | site map | search

Radiation Safety


The Radiation Safety Program at Rensselaer governs the use of the following sources of ionizing or non-ionizing radiation:

  • Radioactive materials
  • Radiation generating devices such as x-ray diffraction devices or accelerators
  • Class 3 and Class 4 Lasers
  • Non-ionizing radiation generating devices with a power density of greater than 1 milliwatt/cm2 at 1 meter.


The use of radioactive materials or radiation producing equipment at Rensselaer is governed by the New York State Department of Health (New York State Sanitary Code, Part 16) and the Nuclear Regulatory Commission regulations in Title 10 of the Code of Federal Regulations (10CFR). Under these regulatory agencies, certain requirements and regulations must be satisfied before and during use of radioactive materials and radiation producing equipment.

In compliance with State regulations, there exists a Radiation & Nuclear Safety Committee (RNSC) and Radiation Safety Officer (RSO) who are responsible for overseeing the use of radiation producing equipment and radioactive materials on the Rensselaer campus and enforcing pertinent regulations.

The Radiation Safety Manual provides an outline of the specific program requirements that an individual planning to use radioactive materials or radiation producing equipment must become familiar with. The laser safety manual and non-ionizing radiation device guide provide further information for use of non-ionizing sources of radiation.

Program Information

The most current version of Rensselaer’s policies regarding radiation safety are found in the Radiation Safety Manual. A current copy of the manual should be available in each laboratory authorized to use sources of radiation.

Researchers requesting approval for use of sources of radiation should review the radiation safety manual and the application procedure for the use of a source of radiation. The required forms are included.

New individual users in a laboratory requiring radiation monitoring (a “badge”) must complete the Radiation Monitoring Request Form . This also serves as the request for inclusion in radiation safety training.

Documentation requirements for radiochemical labs can use these Sample Laboratory Forms or ones containing the same information.

Radiological Safety Responsibility

There are several groups of individuals with varying levels of responsibilities for ensuring radiological safety requirements are met at Rensselaer. A brief summary is as follows:

Radiation and Nuclear Safety Committee

A committee on Radiation Safety has been established to give continual recognition to policies, problems, and potential hazards related to ionizing radiation uses at Rensselaer. The Committee is responsible to the Vice-President of Human Resources for the care and control of all radioactive materials and radiation-producing equipment at Rensselaer so as to ensure radiation safety and protection for all Rensselaer employees, students, and visitors, and to ensure compliance with applicable State and Federal regulations.

Included in the membership of the Committee are the Radiation Safety Officer, representatives of Management and Administration, an authorized user from each department using ionizing radiation, and other persons whose fields of expertise compliment the functions of the Committee.

Radiation Safety Officer

The Radiation Safety Officer (RSO), working closely with Radiation and Nuclear Safety Committee, is responsible for making safe working areas with regard to radiation, ensuring that radiation exposures are kept as low as reasonable achievable, and for maintaining compliance with Institute, State, and Federal regulations.

Authorized Users

Authorized Users are individuals specifically authorized to order, possess, control, use, or supervise the use by others of a source of radiation. This person is responsible for the safe use of sources of radiation under their supervision. All persons requesting to use radiation producing equipment or radioactive materials and must have a basic knowledge concerning the safe use of radiation generating devices and radioactive materials.

Laboratory Supervisor

The Laboratory Supervisor is an individual designated by the Authorized User and approved by the Radiation Safety Officer to serve as the day to day contact for safety-related issues in a radiation installation. A separate Laboratory Supervisor is not required, but is more common for large facilities, or when an Authorized User is responsible for more than one separate facility.

Individual Users

Individual Users are faculty, research assistants, technicians, and students who have contact with any source of ionizing radiation. Before working with any radioactive materials or radiation producing equipment, users shall have been instructed in the handling and use of radioactive materials and radiation producing equipment and radiation safety principles.

Ancillary Workers

Ancillary workers are personnel who do not work directly with radiation producing equipment or radioactive materials but whose job duties bring them into spaces containing those devices or materials. Training provided to ancillary personnel ensures they understand the hazards of exposure to ionizing radiation and radioactive materials and are aware of the precautions to be taken when entering affected spaces.

For any additional questions, please contact the Radiation Safety Officer at (518) 276-2212.

Last modified: July 19, 2011
© Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute 2009. All rights reserved.