Radioactive Nuclear Substances

UNB Reference Number: 7836
Authorized by: John McLaughlin, President,
Effective Date: (Original Policy June 1982)
Revised: February 2006
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To outline the safety and physical security measures for protection of nuclear substances and radiation devices when stored, processed, used or transported.


All users of ionizing radiation, including open and sealed nuclear substances, radiation-emitting devices (including X-ray generators) on both campuses.


Exposure to ionizing radiation in sufficient quantities is reported to pose increased risk of adverse health effects.


All nuclear substances shall be used in accordance with the conditions of the University licence issued by the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC). The CNSC is a federal regulatory agency assigned authority by the Nuclear Safety and Control Act (2000) to ensure the use of nuclear substances does not pose undue risk to health, safety and security of the public or the environment. The CNSC recommends that all radiation dose levels be kept as low as reasonably achievable (ALARA principle).


  1. The Radiation Safety Committee is responsible for ensuring the use of nuclear substances adheres to license conditions as well as University policy and procedures as set out in the Radiation Safety Manual. The Committee reviews all permit applications to ensure appropriate levels of safety and security will be adhered to.
  2. The Radiation Safety Officer (RSO) is responsible for the day to day administration of the radiation safety program including the internal authorization system of permits. The RSO possesses the authority to stop any work that does not comply with license conditions.
  3. New projects involving nuclear substances for which funding is being sought, shall be identified by the principal investigator to the offices of Research Services (ORS), Budget & Risk Management, and Environmental Health and Safety for appropriate review.
  4. Prior to initiating any new project, change in existing experimental protocol or expiry of a previously approved permit, an application for a Radiation User Permit shall be submitted to the RSO for review by the Committee. Any proposal involving long-term acquisition of a sealed nuclear substance or radiation-emitting device shall include detailed specifications for storage as well as approval in principle from the administrative head of the department.
  5. Prior to acquiring a sealed nuclear substance or radiation-emitting device, the Permit Holder shall address the issues of security, liability for transport, ownership and ultimate disposal with the vendor or lessor. If possible, a written agreement should be secured which would allow the University to return the nuclear substance to the original vendor or lessor at the expiry of a pre-determined term, or upon prior notice.
  6. The Permit Holder is responsible for the safety and security of nuclear substances in his/her possession or in storage as well as for the supervision of all radiation users enrolled under his/her permit.
  7. All Radiation Users shall successfully complete the UNB radiation safety seminar, read the Radiation Safety Manual, sign a Security Awareness Acknowledgement form and receive specific training from their supervisor prior to beginning any work with nuclear substances.
  8. Procedures for disposal of "unsealed" sources of nuclear substances are specified in the Radiation Safety Manual. Arrangements for disposal of all "sealed" sources shall be made through the RSO. The cost for disposal of hazardous waste is supported centrally through the University budget.


  • Radiation User Permit application forms may be obtained from the Radiation Safety Manual, the ORS website or the RSO.
  • Application forms must bear the signature of the applicant as well as the administrative head of the department and shall be forwarded to the RSO for approval by the Radiation Safety Committee.
  • All internal purchase requisitions shall be forwarded to the RSO for signature of approval prior to being sent to the Purchasing Department and shall indicate the nuclear substance, units of radioactivity, licence number, name of permit holder and permit number.
  • Nuclear substances shall be received or shipped during normal University operating hours and only by experienced individuals who possess a current Transportation of Dangerous Goods (TDG) certificate.
  • Access to nuclear substances shall be restricted to authorized radiation users only.
  • Nuclear substances, including waste, shall be stored in a secure manner at all times.
  • The Permit Holder shall maintain accurate inventory records, including records for disposal, to guard against unauthorized access or removal.
  • The Permit Holder shall complete and submit to the RSO a Radiation Security Plan for their facilities. Procedural and physical measures to control access to all nuclear laboratories shall be maintained. An authorized radiation user shall be present in the laboratory at all times when nuclear substances are in use or not secured in a locked container. The laboratory shall remain locked when unoccupied.
  • Any breach of security, theft or loss of a nuclear substance or radiation device shall be reported immediately to UNB Security and the RSO who will advise the CNSC.

Radiation Safety Manual (pdf version)