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Radiation Protection

Radiation Protection

The Federal Regulation governing the use of radioactive materials at Ames Laboratory is 10 CFR 835. To implement this regulation, the Ames Laboratory Radiological Protection Program (RPP) has been written to state how each of the safety requirements will be accomplished at the Laboratory. The Radiation Safety Manual presents the information and procedures that must be understood and practiced in order to ensure that all uses of ionizing radiation at Ames Laboratory are in compliance with existing regulatory requirements. Any resultant radiation exposures must be maintained As Low As Reasonable Achievable (ALARA).

Use, handling, storage, receipt, shipping, transferring, and disposal of radioactive materials are important aspects to many of the Laboratory's research programs. The hazards associated with radioactive materials can be significant and demand an effective management program. This section describes the health physics protection mechanisms designed to ensure worker and environmental protection from radioactive materials.

The activities of radioactive material commonly used in research at the Laboratory today are typically quite small (microcurie or millicurie amounts) and the doses recorded on personnel dosimetry records are far less than 100 millirem in a year. However, radiological conditions are continually monitored by the Health Physics Group in order to promptly detect, and correct, if necessary, potentially unsafe conditions. New projects or modifications to existing projects involving the use of sources of radioactive materials must be approved through the Readiness
Review approval process before beginning operations. Special projects, such as mitigation of contaminated equipment or areas, are performed under guidance of a Radiological Work Permit issued by ESH.

Ames Laboratory follows the requirements listed in the Radiation Protection Program (RPP). The RPP, Radiation Safety Manual, along with the information contained in this section of the Ames Laboratory ESH Program Manual and Institutional Training modules constitute the Laboratory's written program.
It is the policy of Ames Laboratory to both allow and facilitate the use of radioactive materials and radiation-producing devices for purposes of research and teaching. At the same time, Ames Laboratory is committed to ensuring that all uses of these materials and devices are in compliance with regulatory requirements and that resultant radiation exposures are kept As Low As Reasonably Achievable (ALARA). Toward this end, the Ames Laboratory has established specific administrative entities with responsibilities for controlling the use of radioactive materials and radiation-producing devices at Ames Laboratory.

ALARA Committee:

In accordance with the specific requirements of Ames Laboratory RPP, an ALARA Committee has been established. The Committee consists of members of Ames Laboratory staff and faculty appointed by the Director for terms of three years. The principal function of the Committee is to oversee the implementation of Laboratory policies and procedures for the safe use of radioactive materials and radiation-producing devices. In addition, the ALARA Committee reviews all requests for use of radioactive materials and radiation-producing devices, reviews records of personnel dosimetry, and decides whether or not authorization for use is to be granted. The ALARA Committee must specifically authorize each activity, which involves the use of radioactive material. See Section 4.0 of the Radiation Safety Manual for detailed explanation of these requirements.

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