6.1. Radioactive Isotopes


  • Isotope Laboratory Class C.

    Copyright: Colourbox

  • All the Institute’s laboratory: when using nucleotide below the limit of exclusion i.e. tritium thymidine and

Areas where isotopes are working must be marked with yellow hazard signs.


Local Radiation Protection Coordinator: Siv Lise Bedringaas  e-mail
Central radiation protection coordinator: Bente-Lise Lillebø e-mail


All radiation exposure should be kept as low as possible and one should strive to keep the annual doses below 1 mSv. Substitution: Is it possible to substitute isotopes with other chemicals, this should be done.

Health check is given to employees exposed to health risks, contact the company health service to arrange an appointment.

Monitor: Employees working with the P-32 (Isotope Laboratory) should use dosimeters if the effective exposure is expected to exceed 1 mSv per year, c.f. Section 33 Radiation Protection.

User competence

No-one can start work with radioactive isotopes before they have completed and got the education approved.
Course: UoB offers e-learning course and one or three day courses in radiation protection.  Participation at one of the courses is mandatory for anyone who has not an approved course. If you plan to work with radioactive isotopes, you must schedule this in good time, as the courses are held approximately once a year.
You should, as a minimum, have knowledge of:
Parts of the internal control system that affect the use of open radioactive sources, i.e. distribution of responsibilities and relevant instructions and working procedures.
The physical and chemical properties of the substances to be worked with.
 The beam doses and possible effects of external and internal radiation.
Rules to minimize risk.
Use of protective and measuring  equipment.
Waste handling.
How to act during accident with open radioactive sources (emergency procedures)
(c.f. the Supervisor to the Regulations on Radiation Protection and Use of Radiation, page 16.)


Registration: An account of all radioactive material that is received and used is to be kept. an Annual accounts are to be sent to the State Radiation Protection Authority.

Storage: Isotopes must be stored in approved cabinets / rooms.

Waste: See hazardous waste disposal.

Isotope laboratory

The department has its own laboratory approved for work with isotopes. It is classified as Type C Isotope Laboratory, allowing the staff to work with an activity amount that is up to 10 times the exception limit when performing normal work.
Value can be increased with a factor of 10 for stock solutions and dilutions.
The value should be reduced by a factor of 10 when the work is particularly risky.


Exception limits: low dose radioactivity

Work with low dose radioactivity can be performed in specific areas at all laboratories at the department. These areas must be labelled with yellow and black branded radioactivity tape.

The following exemption limit for quantity and concentration applies, inter alia, to the following isotopes:

Assignments for users.: (C.f. UoB guidelines)

  • Should be familiar with, understand and comply with specific guidelines, procedures and routines.
  • Shall acquire sufficient knowledge about working with current radiation source(s).
  • Shall as a minimum receive internal training from the local coordinator and supervisor before work begins. Education shall include:
    • Guidelines for radiation protection and use of radiation.
    • Guidelines for risk assessment.
    • Guidelines for reporting accidents, near misses and non-conformities.
    • Local procedures for working with radiation/radiation sources, where topics such as purchase, use, registration, handling and disposal and monitoring of accidents are discussed.
  • If relevant, it is required to review and sign the “Handbook for working with radioactive nuclides”.
  • If accident and incidents occur, notify the supervisor and local radiation protection coordinator immediately.
  • Shall familiarize themselves with performed risk assessments concerning relevant topics.
  • Shall ensure that all handling of radiation sources is performed in such a way that it does not entail the risk of their own or other people’s health, safety, working environment and environment.
  • The following groups should as soon as possible attend radiation protection courses:
    • Permanent employees who use radiation sources over some time shall attend and complete the three-day course with exam.
    • Masters and doctoral students who only use radiation sources in a brief period must complete a one-day radiation protection course.
  • Shall notify the supervisor or radiation protection coordinator if something is unclear or one does not feel confident in working with radiation sources.
  • Shall wear appropriate protective equipment as required.
  • Students at the undergraduate level should not handle open radiation sources without agreement with local radiation protection coordinator.
  • Users, who based on the applicable work routines, may have accidents that give more than 6 mSv in a year, shall undergo a medical examination before the use of ionizing radiation starts. This applies, among others, to all who work with activities that are used in an A- and B-isotope laboratory. Medical examination shall thereafter be conducted every three years and that person shall also use personal dosimeters.
  • Pregnant users, once their pregnancy is known and for the duration of the pregnancy, shall not be exposed to a dose entailing more than 1 mSV for the foetus. At UoB, this means that pregnant employees shall not work with open radioactive sources.
Record all work with radioactive isotopes in the EcoExposure exposure register.


Internal Control:

It is the responsibility of the department that the following work operations are in writing and have been implemented, c.f. section 16 of the Radiation Protection Regulations:
Instructions for the radiation protection organization and for radiation protection coordinator, ie a description of
Functions, responsibilities and tasks
Instructions for handling open radioactive sources, i.e. where to use, storage location,
 training, etc.
Detailed work procedure for the use of open radioactive radiation sources
Instructions for cleaning and maintenance of laboratories
Instructions for handling radioactive waste
Instructions for emissions of radioactive substances
Equipment plan for how employees should act in the event of an accident or incident with open radioactive sources, including alert routines in such situations. (Not applicable to radiation sources below the exception limit).

The department recommends that the research groups risk-assess their own activities and make procedures as adapted to the needs of the group.


Requirement for documentation.

The following information should be logged as part of the internal control routines:
Result of risk assessments and assessments of radioactive material protection, cf. section 18.
Education and training of employees, cf. section 16.
Updated lists of the nuclides and activity quantities acquired, in use, stored or gone to waste, cf. section 21.
Result of contamination checks and measurement of beam levels, cf. Section 18 regularly / annual controls of radiation monitors, cf. Section 26.

(Retrieved from the Supervisor to the Regulations on Radiation Protection and Use of Radiation, page 18.)

Substitution Duty

If there is an alternative, choose a method that does not involve the use of ionizing radiation.


Duty to warn in the event of accidents and abnormal events

See here for notification procedures.


Useful links:

Here you will find more about ionizing radiation.

Guidelines for radiation protection and use of radiation at UoB ( including legislation).