The NIH Activity Control System: One Large Institution's Approach

Authors

M. P. Roberson, C. A. Ribaudo

Abstract

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) is the federal government's biomedical research facility; situated in Bethesda, Maryland, it includes a number of satellite buildings in the surrounding area. Currently there are about 2,100 lab modules posted for radioactive work performed by 7,300 people under the supervision of 925 authorized users (AUs). With such a large amount of research utilizing an increasingly wide range of radionuclides, the Division of Radiation Safety restructured its procedures for controlling radioactivity used in the laboratories in 2003. The goal of the Activity Control System (ACS) is to improve the overall structure of radioactive material use in the following areas: increased health physicists' oversight of work involving higher amounts of activity or use of isotopes with greater relative hazards; more accurate inventory accounting; creating a formula that standardizes the way activity limits are established; and creating tiers of authorization whereby training and experience are considered on an individual basis for establishing activity ceilings. These changes have been made with the philosophy that although they represent a large shift in how NIH Radiation Safety controls radioactivity, their implementation will have minimal impact on the ability of scientists to carry out their research.

Meeting

This abstract was presented at the 38th Annual Midyear Meeting, "Materials Control and Security: Risk Assessment, Handling, and Detection", Materials Control and Security in University and Medical Facilities Session, 2/13/2005 - 2/16/2005, held in New Orleans, LA.

 
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