Published 19.02.2008 , updated: 13.11.2009, 14:17
Areas of useThe term “open radioactive sources” means radioactive material that is not sealed. The so-called sealed radioactive sources are the counterpart to this, whereby the radioactive material is encapsulated in order to prevent the diffusion of the radioactive material to the surroundings, often in form of a steel capsule around the radioactive material. The radioactive material in open sources typically appears in liquid or gas form, and in some cases, also as powder.Open radioactive sources are used in a number of areas in industry, research, medical diagnostics and therapy, and so forth. A common use of open radioactive sources in industry and research is for the purpose of conducting so-called tracer studies, that is, the open radioactive sources are used to follow one or another physical, chemical or biological process. The radiation from radioactive material is usually relatively straightforward to measure, and even the presence of tiny amounts (trace amounts) of radioactive material can be detected. By marking different molecules with appropriate radioactive elements, these molecules can literally be tracked through different processes. For example, tritium-marked (H-3) water (HTO) can be used to follow ground water movements, and the marking of proteins can be used to follow the decomposition of nutrients in biological systems.
Other use of open radioactive sources requiring written notification to NRPA according to section 6 of the regulations, assuming that the amounts that are used exceed the exemption levels specified in the annex to the Radiation Protection Regulations. Application for authorisation: