"Natural" Radioactivity

Background radiation has several sources including naturally occurring radioactive materials and global fallout as it exists in the environment (such as from testing of nuclear explosive devices.)  However, any action that has been taken to separate or concentrate such sources results in these sources being considered to be radioactive at Argonne National Laboratory.   For example, general soil samples that have not been processed beyond sterilization are part of background radiation and as such are not considered to be radioactive for application of radioactive sources requirements.  However, soil samples from the Chernobyl or Fukushima exclusion areas, mined ores or tailings from mining operations, and sediments taken from downstream of known or suspected radioactive effluent discharge points are considered to be radioactive.  In addition, any chemical with an uranium containing compound or a sample prepared with such is also considered to be radioactive.  Small quantities may not require special packaging under Department of Transportation regulations but do require radioactive postings and handling once they arrive at the Laboratory. These materials must be shipped via the Argonne Materials Controls & Accountability (MC&A) Group.   Any questions regarding the proposed use of naturally occurring radioactive materials must be brought to the attention of your Beamline and/or the APS (Bruce Glagola) as early as possible to assure that the materials are handled according to the required regulations.  See APS Experiment Hazard Class 8.1 for details on shipping and other requirements for radioactive materials.



Reviewed and Updated: August 1, 2013