Radiation safety

The SFU Radiation Safety program facilitates the safe and informed use of radiation sources and devices in research, teaching and the environment. The program is dedicated to safe management of ionizing radiation.

Procedures

Acquiring radioisotopes

Prior to placing your order for radioisotopes, consider the following:

  • Have you successfully completed SFU’s Radiation Safety Training course?
  • Is your lab properly prepared to begin work with the radioactive material?
  • Are you ordering from within Canada?Does your order require importing?*

Permit holders place orders for radioisotopes through an online system. The orders are placed through Science Stores and are directed electronically through the FINS system to the Radiation Safety staff for approval.

Upon arrival of the radioactive shipment in Science Receiving, the Radiation Safety Technician (RST) is notified to pick up the package and receive it according to the TDG 7 requirements. Once the package is received, its unique content information is entered into SFU’s inventory system and the RST will deliver the product to your lab, along with an inventory sheet. Please note that only the Radiation Safety staff are qualified to ship/receive/transfer TDG 7 Radioactive Goods at SFU.

*Important: Special considerations need to be given to items which fall under the International Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty which require a special import permit. Please contact the Radiation Safety Officer if you wish to import nuclear materials from outside of Canada. Allow 3-4 weeks to receive an import permit from the CNSC.

Waste handling

Simon Fraser University has a comprehensive hazardous waste program that fulfills all regulatory requirements.

The disposal of all radioactive waste is regulated by the CNSC, which specifies that a strict accounting be made of all radioactive waste generated. At SFU, radioactive waste disposal is controlled by the RST.

Consult the Radioactive Waste Disposal Plan for information detailing how to classify and package your radioactive waste prior to bringing it to the Hot Lab.

If you have any questions about what you are required to do, always ask your supervisor. Still unsure? Please contact the Radiation Safety staff in EHS.

Radioactive spill response

Important: Each radioactive lab is required to be equipped with an easily accessible radioactive spill kit and spill response procedure document

In case of a radioactive material spill:

  1. Call for help
  2. Contain the spill
  3. Secure the area to prevent further access

For detailed spill management instructions please refer to the CNSC spill poster in your lab, and SFU’s Radiation Safety Manual.

Note: If the spill results in skin contamination, the CNSC has a specific protocol which must be followed. Please refer to the Skin Contamination section of the Radiation Safety Manual for further details.

Follow-up:

  • Regardless of the nature of the spill, please contact the Radiation Safety staff  (ph: 778-782-3633,                            email: rad-safety@sfu.ca) immediately to inform them that a spill has occurred
  • Once the spill has been cleaned-up, you are required to fill out an incident report with SFU

Floor cleaning schedule

If you want your lab floor wet-mopped, you are required to conduct swipe tests, remove any contamination, and post the Go” - green mop and bucket sign on the appropriate cleaning day (see schedule for your area.)

Find more information about signage requirements.

Swipe tests

Swipe tests must be done on a weekly basis when using open sources of radioactive materials.

Download the swipe test form for results in cpm (counts per minute) per square centimeter
or for results in Bq (Becquerel) per square centimeter.

Handling Portable Gauges

What are portable Gauges?

Portable Gauges measure moisture and compaction levels. They are used in a variety of industries, such as agriculture, construction and civil engineering.

Types of Portable Gauges:
  1. Gamma (e.g., Cesium-137)
  2. Neutron (e.g., Americium-241/Beryllium)

Responsibility of Portable Gauge Users

Portable gauge users must:
  • Ensure they conduct their work in a safe conduct.
  • Comply with Regulatory documents.
  • Ensure their own safety, the safety of the general public and environment.
  • Must comply with the SFU’s Radiation Safety Program established, in accordance with regulatory requirements.
  • Be aware of the risks associates with the safety or security of gauges, its safe operations.
  • Must ensure that the Portable Gauge is under the constant surveillance of a worker, or secured in a transport vehicle, or at the storage location.

Please download a copy of the “SOP for Using Portable Gauges” and “Tracking Usage of Portable Gauges”, each time you handle your device. A completed copy of these documents must be retained, indefinitely, in a binder nearby the storage location of the portable gauge.

Note: Gauge operators (workers) must have their TDG certificate with them at all times.

Storage of Portable Gauges

  • Before storing the gauge, make sure the radoactive source is fully retracted and the shutter is fully closed.
  • Never modify or change the source holder, shielding or safety locks.
  • Store the gauge in a locked, tamper-resistant container.
  • Ensure that the package is identifiable with the consignor name, in case the gauge is lost, damaged or misplaced.

Portable Gauge Incidents and Emergency Procedures

If you are working with portable gauges, please download and print a copy of the "Emergency Procedures when Working with Portable Gauges" and "Portable Gauge Incidents" documents.

External Resources

CNSC, Working Safely with Portable Gauges

CNSC, Portable Gauge Quick Reference Guide

CNSC, DNSR Newsletter: Preventing Portable Gauge Accidents

Covid-19

Hot Lab Entry Protocol

Effective Monday June 15, 2020 we have implemented a Covid-19 Hot Lab Entry Protocol. 

Prior to entry into the Hot Lab, please:

  1. Read over and familiarize yourself with the Hot Lab Entry Protocol document.
  2. Complete a Health Screening Form.

Additionally, there is a sign-in sheet inside by the entrance door. Please sign-in each time you enter and ensure that the proper protocols are being followed

The Hot Lab Occupancy Limit has been set to 2 people max: 1 Radiation Safety Staff member and 1 Hot Lab user. The Hot Lab will have a physical barrier to separate the Radiation Safety Staff workspace (desk, and package receiving/shipping area) from the user work-space (waste drop-off by the entrance, and LSC room). 

Questions?

For questions regarding the Hot Lab entry protocol, please e-mail rad-safety@sfu.ca.

For questions regarding Covid-19, please visit SFU community frequently asked questions about Covid-19 and Work & Research Safety Covid-19 Resources; or e-mail covid19@sfu.ca.