Guidelines for Using Radiation-Emitting Instruments


St. Lawrence University science departments possess and use instruments that are potentially capable of generating and emitting X-Ray radiation. Specifically, there are two X-Ray diffraction units located in the Geology department. There are three electron microscopes on campus, an SEM in Geology and an SEM and TEM in the Biology department. All of these instruments are potentially capable of emitting X-Rays under certain operating conditions. Because of this, St. Lawrence University is registered as a Radiation Facility with the New York State Department of Health - Bureau of Environmental Radiation Protection (NYSDOH-BERP). Radiation safety matters related to this facility are managed under the comprehensive radiation safety program of the institution.


St. Lawrence University has adopted as policy a radiation safety program that applies the ALARA principle to ensure that personnel exposure to all forms of radiation are As Low As Reasonably Achievable, that is, that their exposure is not significantly above natural background levels. In order to accomplish this goal, the following items are performed.

The facility undergoes an inspection every two years by an officer of NYSDOH-BERP. This inspection includes radiation surveys along with examination of safety data records, personnel dosimetry records, operating procedures, proper warning signage, and instrument use logs.

The RSO semi-annually surveys the instruments for X-Ray leakage using a calibrated survey meter and maintains a permanent record of findings.

The RSO provides personal dosimetery to approved users of the X-Ray diffraction units as appropriate. Monitored users are notified annually regarding their dosimetery results.

Faculty and/or staff who use or supervise the use of the instruments shall be approved as an authorized user by the RSO.

The right to know NOTICE TO EMPLOYEES signage must be prominently displayed at each instrument site along with a copy of the registration certificate and the compliance letter from the NYSDOH-BERP regarding the most recent inspection.



Radiation emitting instruments will be operated only by personnel who have received appropriate radiation safety training.

A log of each use will be maintained for each instrument. The log should indicate the user name and the length of usage.

Student usage should be closely monitored by an approved user. Students should receive appropriate radiation safety training before using the instruments.

Instruments should not be modified in any manner that could affect the containment or shielding of radiation. If any modification or repairs are done, the instrument may not be placed into service until it is inspected by the RSO.

When not in use, the X-Ray diffraction units should be secured to prevent unauthorized use.

Any and all incidents or accidents involving potential or actual radiation exposure while using the instruments must be reported to the RSO as soon as possible.

Standard operating procedures or operation manuals must be available at each instrument site.