The Advanced Photon Source
a U.S. Department of Energy Office of Science User Facility

Experiment Hazard Class 8.1 – Radioactive Materials


This hazard classification applies to all experiments involving the use of radioactive materials as samples.  The requirements of this hazard class also apply to sealed radioactive sources that are used as a sample (i.e. as a target for x-ray radiation).  Other hazard classifications and their associated hazard controls may also apply to experiments in this hazard class.  The current requirements for experiments involving radioactive samples at the APS can be found in the APS Policy for Conducting Radioactive Sample Experiments in APS Experiment Enclosures.

Approval is required by BOTH APS AND ANL in order for radioactive material to be shipped to and used at the APS

If beamtime for an experiment is assigned: Complete the APS Radioactive Sample Information Form and see the steps below for obtaining APS and ANL approvals.

If NO beamtime for an experiment is assigned and user is currently seeking RSSRC approval on proposed new sample holder: Complete the APS Proposed Radioactive Sample Information Form


  • Create an ESAF (Experiment Safety Assessment Form)
  • Submit the ESAF
    • NOTE: ESAF may be submitted before final sample preparations are completed
  • ESAF is reviewed by the APS ESRB (Experiment Safety Review Board)
  • Once final sample containment is completed the following should be submitted (if not previously submitted, more details of these requirements are on the APS Radioactive Sample Information Form)
    • Pictures showing the final containment/encapsulation of the samples
    • Survey results on final sample containment: dose rates on contact and at 30 cm and smear/wipe test of outer containment
  • Once final containment and survey results are reviewed and approved, APS approval is given.
    • The ESAF will be Conditionally Approved by the APS; final full approval is given after the samples are surveyed and inspected prior to the start of the experiment


  • The ANL-RSO must grant authorization for every shipment of radioactive material to ANL, even those not regulated by DOT. 
    • There is an exception for samples that have been reviewed and deemed Indistinguishable From Background (IFB) per APS Radioactive Samples Appendix B.  Please complete the requirements for APS (see above) to seek approval for this determination.
  • The information supplied on the APS Radioactive Sample Information Form will be used to create an acquisition plan to obtain ANL-RSO authorization.
    • Please ensure the final sample information including the weight of each isotope and final number of samples is correct on the Form and ESAF.  The ANL-RSO authorization must match the ESAF and shipping papers. 
    • Please ensure the shipper contact information is correct on the APS Radioactive Sample Information Form.  This person will receive the ANL-RSO authorization memo with the correct shipping address to ANL as well as ANL radioisotope licensing exemption information.
  • Ideally the acquisition plan is not submitted to the ANL-RSO until APS approval is given (i.e. all survey results and pictures of final containment have been reviewed and approved).
    • If sample preparation must be done right before shipment, the plan will be submitted but the samples MAY NOT be shipped until BOTH APS and ANL approval are granted.
Shipping and Movement of Samples at Argonne and the APS

The quantities of each isotope and number of samples listed in the ESAF MUST match the samples brought to the APS.  The shipping papers MUST also match the quantities and types of radioactive materials listed in the ESAF.  Failure to provide accurate sample information can result in delays to the start of the experiment or forfeiture of the experiment beamtime.  ESAFs submitted less than seven (7) days in advance of the scheduled start date may be delayed in order to allow time for a thorough safety review.

The APS must be notified of the shipment of any radioactive materials to ANL well in advance of the proposed experiment start date.  All shipments of radioactive materials to Argonne National Laboratory must go through an acquisition process and be approved by the ANL-Radiation Safety Officer (ANL-RSO) before authorization to ship is granted.  This process can take several business days.  Please include in your ESAF the following information to help expedite this process:

  1. The contact information for the person at the experimenter's home institution who will be responsible for shipping the radioactive samples to ANL.  The name, email address, shipping address, and phone number for this person must be provided.
  2. All sample information must be complete and accurate on the ESAF.  If this information changes before shipment of the samples, a new acquisition plan must be submitted for approval.

All radioactive materials are received through Argonne Shipping & Receiving in Building 46 and the Argonne Special Materials Group. NOTE: This also includes radioactive samples/materials that are NOT regulated by the US Department of Transportation.  Please contact Wendy VanWingeren (630-252-1348, or Liz Schmidt (630-252-3931, for shipping procedures of radioactive materials to and from Argonne.  The Argonne Materials, Controls, and Accountability (MC&A) group will provide the proper shipping address to the user's home institution.  It is recommended that a commercial carrier (FedEx, etc.) is used for shipping radioactive materials to ANL.  All radioactive samples will be surveyed by RSO Health Physics before they are accepted at the APS and are allowed to be used in the experiment.  All radioactive samples will be returned to the user's home institution upon completion of the experiment.  It is the user's responsibility to arrange with the APS the return of their samples to the user's home institution.

NOTE: Deliveries of radioactive samples/materials will NOT be accepted at Argonne National Laboratory on Saturdays, Sundays, or Holidays.

The proposed experiment involving radioactive samples requires review of sample handling procedures and containment by the APS Radioactive Sample Safety Review Committee (APS RSSRC) before the experiment can be approved by the host Beamline.  The APS must be notified well in advance of radioactive material arriving at ANL to be certain the material can be accepted under DOE 1027-92 accountability rules.  The sample size and the number of samples may be limited by accountability requirements and risk assessment depending on the isotope(s) in use for the experiment and other APS experimenters running concurrent experiments involving the use of radioactive materials.  The APS will generate a standard operating procedure (SOP) for handling requirements of the sample during the experiment.  This SOP describes the role of RSO-HP activities allowed for the duration of the experiment (example APS procedure).

Experiment Category

Experiments in this experiment hazard class are always categorized as high risk.

Experiment Hazard Control Verification Statements

Engineered Controls – Controls required in the Argonne Radiological Safety Program Description and any agreed upon controls as determined in the review of the experiment by the APS and Beamline Management.

Procedural Controls – APS SOP defining sample control and Health Physics requirements/interactions.

Design Reviews and Equipment Inspections – Any experiments involving radioactive materials require review of sample handling procedures and containment methods by the APS and RSO/Health Physics as well as Beamline Management.  Allow sufficient time for this review to occur.

The investigator proposing to conduct experiments with radioactive materials at an experiment hutch must provide the following information:

  • Total sample matrix, weight, and dimensions.
  • The amount (weight) of each radioactive isotope in each sample.
  • A detailed description of the sample containment.
  • Data on integrity of the sample, the sample holder, and containment under the expected experiment conditions (e.g., heating, cooling, pressure, etc.).
  • Special training requirements in reference to handling, accountability, transport, etc. of the samples.  (The APS requires a minimum of Radioactive Worker 1 (ESH700) training for all experiment participants that will handle the contained samples.  An ANL site-specific practical training is also required prior to the start of the experiment.).
  • Exposure readings (mrem/hour, for both soft and hard exposure) from the sample at contact and at 30 cm, with a description of the instruments used to perform the measurements.
  • Approximate beam size and maximum flux on sample.
  • Beam type (Mono/Pink/White).
  • Beam energies if Mono or ID gap if pink/white.
  • Energy cut off if pink beam.
Note: Contact the beamline to obtain the beamline specific information.


  • Argonne Radiation Worker I (ESH700) for work with contained samples.  This training can be completed at the APS User Office or via the APS remote training website.
  • One-time Radiation Worker I practical (ESH700PR) administered by RSO-HP.  Contact Wendy VanWingeren (630-252-1348, to schedule the Radiation Worker I practical training.
  • Argonne Radiation Worker II (ESH702) may be required for certain experiments, dependent upon the review conducted by the APS RSSRC.
  • Signs and Labeling – All signs and postings required for the experiment station, storage, and samples will be supplied by RSO Health Physics.  Procedures for sample handling must be posted at the experiment station.

Personal Protective Equipment – As determined in the review of the experiment.

Dosimetry and Monitoring – All users involved in the experiment may be required to wear a dosimeter during the experiment.  The requirement for a dosimeter will be determined by RSO-HP.  RSO-HP is responsible for all monitoring of samples as noted in the sample handling procedure posted on the experiment station.

Experiment Authorization

Unless otherwise noted in the approved experiment safety plan, the PSC Deputy Associate Laboratory Director of Operations delegates the authority to authorize an experiment in this hazard class to a member of the APS Experiment Safety Review Board and resident beamline personnel having the authority to authorize experiments as listed in the ESAF system.  Approval by both the host beamline and APS Experiment Safety Review Board are mandatory prerequisites for experiment authorization.

Hazard Control Verification

The PSC Deputy Associate Laboratory Director of Operations delegates responsibility for verifying that required controls are in place to RSO Health Physics, the experiment On-Site Spokesperson, and Beamline Management.


Argonne Radiological Safety Program Description 5/24/2021 (Internal link)

LMS-PROC-171: Accountability and Control of Sealed Radioactive Sources 4/11/2022 (Internal link)

LMS-PROC-109: Control of Radiation-Generating Devices 5/13/2019 (Internal link)

LMS-PROC-143: Radiation Safety Interlock System 8/29/2019 (Internal link)

Contact the APS User Safety Program with any questions or if the internal links are not working properly.

Updated: December 19, 2022