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Security and Storage of Radioactive Material

​Security Policy​

 All radioactive materials in a lab must be secured from unauthorized removal or access by either: 

  • Locking lab when unattended 
  • Locking material in containers within the lab 
  • Being present at all times when material is in use 

What is covered by the security policy? 

  • All forms of radioactive waste 
  • Ongoing experiments involving radioactive material, i.e., drying gels, incubating cells 
  • LSC vials and Standards for Counters 
  • Source Vials  

Source Vial Security 

Source vials must be in locked storage when not in use. Secure them by either: 

  • Placing vial in lockbox that is tethered to the shelf; or
  • Locking the refrigerator/freezer where vials are stored 
    • ​Note: The key to the lock must not be left in the lock or hanging visibly near it ​

Review the Radioactive Materials Source Vial Policy page for additional information. ​

Corridor Security ​

Notwithstanding the exceptions listed below, radioactive materials may not be stored or used in any corridor at NIH. 

Exceptions to the Policy

  • LSC or Gamma Counters may be in corridors, however vials may only be present if they are counting in the machine or queued up to count.  Vials that have finished counting may not be stored in or on the machine as radwaste
  • Film cassettes may be stored in a corridor freezer provided the freezer is posted with a "Caution Radioactive Materials" sign with the words "X-Ray Cassettes Only" written on the sign
  • DRS-approved quantities of radiolabeled gels, tissues, cells, or reference standards contained on slides or in imaging cassettes may be placed in locked storage in a corridor due to their inherent low activity and inability to cause the spread of contamination. Contact DRS for allowable quantities, which vary by radionuclide.​

*These exceptions​ do not apply to any NIH building where corridor storage of any kind is prohibited by the building manager.