All radioactive materials must be acquired, possessed, and used at Cornell University facilities following the procedures described in the radiation safety manual, including exempt quantities of radioactivity. These procedures exist to protect the welfare of individuals and the environment and to comply with the stringent regulatory requirements established by the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, the New York State Department of Health, and the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation.
Many people play important roles in radiation safety. A radioactive material license is issued to Cornell by the New York State Department of Health which requires oversight of the radiation safety program by a Radiation Safety Committee. The Radiation Safety Officer and staff implement the safety program approved by the Radiation Safety Committee. Permit Holders are responsible for following the radiation safety requirements and ensuring safety in labs and other spaces under their control. Individual lab workers are the most important link in the chain of responsibility because they actually handle and use radioactive material.
Cornell University is subject to periodic inspection to ensure that all regulatory requirements are met. These inspections are very thorough, including monitoring checks of laboratory areas, inspection of procurement and disposition records, records of the qualifications of individual users, and records of personnel exposure. Violations of license requirements can result in the suspension or loss of authorization to use radioactive materials.
If you are interested in working with radioactive materials in a Cornell lab, contact askEHS@cornell.edu.