Safely Decommission a Radiation Room

If you plan to close a room that is posted for the use of radioactive materials, there are a few steps that need to take place to ensure safety.

  1. Notify Radiation Safety - Contact your EHS representative at least 30 days in advance of the intended close-out.
  2. RAM Inventory and Waste - Arrange to have all RAM waste picked up and inventory removed from that space before completing any of the lab’s final surveys. Schedule waste pick-ups through EHS Assist.
  3. Survey Meters - Advise which survey instruments will be removed from the university inventory and which will need to be transferred to another PI or to radiation safety.
  4. Final Survey of Equipment - Once all material has been removed from the space, perform a thorough instrument and smear wipe survey of all the equipment that was labeled for radioactive use. This includes defrosting posted refrigerators and freezers.  Any contaminated item that cannot be decontaminated must be disposed of through the radioactive waste stream.
  5. Final Survey of the Room - Perform a thorough instrument and smear wipe survey of the rooms. The swipes must be less than 200 dpm/100cm2.
  6. Dosimetry - If the radiation permit is being completely closed and your staff participates in the dosimetry program, contact the dosimetry program coordinator at to cancel your badge series.

After all the above conditions have been met, your designated EHS staff member will schedule an appointment to perform a confirmatory instrument and swipe survey. If Radiation Safety’s surveys indicate no removable contamination, EHS will return to your site to remove all postings, notices, labels, etc. Radiation Safety will then send a letter to the permit holder stating that the area has been removed from the permit and is no longer allowed to be used for any RAM use.

The responsibility for properly using and disposing of RAM lies with the permit holder, but if a permit holder leaves without following the proper procedures, the department head becomes responsible.

If there is scheduled remodeling or maintenance to be performed in a research area that is posted or was posted in the past, contact Radiation Safety before any work is conducted. This will allow EHS to do a historical site assessment and verify there is no contamination in the plumbing, fume hood duct work, or ventilation shafts.

Involving Radiation Safety as soon as possible will ensure an efficient and successful deactivation. Radiation Safety is always available for assistance.