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Radioisotopes in Research Laboratories

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  Use of Radioactive Materials:
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This page provides an overview of the various types of radioisotopes used in research laboratories.

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Research facilities use radioactive materials in the development of new products and in scientific research studies. Radionuclides may be contained in small vials or be part of large devices with sealed radioactive sources, such as an x-ray machine.

Several examples of how radioactive materials are used in research include:

When using radioactive materials in research, a number of issues have to be addressed:

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Who is protecting you

U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC)

NRC regulates medical, industrial, and academic uses of nuclear materials through a combination of regulatory requirements; licensing; safety oversight, including inspections and enforcement; operational experience evaluation; and regulatory support activities.

The States

Thirty-four states have signed formal agreements with NRC providing the states regulatory responsibility over small quantities of special nuclear material and its source and byproducts. These states are known as NRC Agreement States.

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What you can do to protect yourself



Follow health, safety and environmental management procedures established for your facility.

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Directory of Agreement State and Non-Agreement State Directors and State Liaison Officers
February 2012. U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, Federal & State Materials & Environmental Management
On this page, you can find a links to your state’s radiation protection office.
General Lab Practices
February 2012. U.S. National Institutes of Health, Office of Research Services
On this website, you can learn about how laboratory workers handle radioactive materials safely.

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