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

Using Radioactive Samples / Materials at the APS

The use of radioactive samples requires additional information for review and approval. All proposed experiments involving radioactive samples will be reviewed by the APS Radioactive Sample Safety Review Committee (RSSRC). The review will be on a graded basis. Hence, the experimenters are strongly advised to send in the experiment proposal in detail at least 2 months before the expected scheduled date of the experiment. Previously approved containment, isotopes and weights can be submitted as late as 2 weeks in advance. If your ESAF was submitted less than seven (7) days in advance of its scheduled start date you may be delayed to allow time for a safety review.  If your samples are rocks or soil please see HPTN-2015-002 Attachment A for information about very low activity samples.

The following guidelines are to be followed for all experiments with radioactive materials at the APS. These are minimum requirements to be adhered to by all experimenters.

  • The number of layers of containment will depend on the sample form, size, activity, and other factors. The minimum number of containment layers required for a given sample will be determined by the RSSRC review.
  • All solid samples must have at least one acceptable containment enclosure. In general, no credit shall be allowed for a sample holder as containment. This will be determined by the RSSRC after a review of the proposed experiment.
  • Powder and liquid radioactive samples will be allowed provided they have a minimum of two containment enclosures.
  • Gaseous radioactive samples are currently prohibited and would require detailed review.
  • If multiple samples are each individually contained within separate primary barriers, they can have a common secondary and tertiary barrier.
  • In the case of multiple samples inside a primary containment, the sample masses for each isotope must be summed to give the total mass for each isotope within the primary.
  • Fragile materials used as containment must be approved by the RSSRC.

To request a RSSRC review of a proposed new sample holder please complete the APS Proposed Radioactive Sample Information Form.  This completed form and all supporting material should be sent to Wendy VanWingeren.

Upon request the experimenter must provide a physical example of the containment proposed and be available to meet with the RSSRC.
All samples must be in the approved containment while at the APS. If the sample needs additional preparation work or containment modification while at Argonne the work must be performed in the Argonne Actinide Facility. Arrangements can be made through your host Beamline or contacting Lynne Soderholm (630-252-4364). Please make arrangements well in advance. Sample containment may not be removed or opened at the APS.

Required Information about samples

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

  • Total sample matrix, weight, and dimensions.
  • The amount (weight) of each radioactive isotope in the sample.
  • The total number of samples that will be at the APS.
  • A detailed description of the sample containment.
  • Any 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 APS site-specific practical training will be required at the start of the experiment.)
  • Exposure readings from the sample at contact and at 30 cm, with a description of the instruments used
  • to perform the measurements.
  • Approximate beam size and flux on sample.
  • Beam type (Mono/Pink/White).
  • Beam energies if Mono or ID gap if pink/white.
  • Energy cutoff if pink beam.

Note: Contact the Beamline if needed to obtain the beamline specific information .

This information must be entered in the Description page of the ESAF.  This can be achieved by completing the APS Radioactive Sample Information Form and attaching it to your ESAF under the Description tab.  If you are using a containment method that was previously approved by the APS RSSRC please note this in your writeup and reference the ESAF for which it was approved. New containment schemes or 'larger' samples can take more time to review. Allow at least two weeks for the review process. Failure to provide the information above will delay or prevent the start of the experiment.

Shipping and Movement of Samples at Argonne and the APS

It is very important that the quantities of each isotope and number of samples listed in the ESAF match the samples that are brought to the APS. The shipping papers must also match the quantities listed in the ESAF.  Failure to provide accurate sample information can result in delays or not being able to conduct the experiment. 

The APS must be notified of shipment of any radioactive materials to the site in advance of the proposed experiment. All radioactive materials must arrive through Argonne Receiving in Building 46 and the Argonne Materials Controls & Accountability (MC&A) Group. This includes radioactive samples/materials that are not regulated by the US Department of Transportation. All radioactive materials transport between buildings on the Argonne site must be done by the MC&A group. Users may not transport radioactive samples in personal or government vehicles on the Argonne site. If you need to move your samples to another building arrangements must be made in advance with the MC&A group. Radioactive sample movements between buildings may only be performed during normal business hours Monday through Friday. Please plan your work accordingly.

The contact person for the MC&A group is Brent Finney (630-252-7519).Either you or someone from your institution must contact Brent Finneyto arrange for the shipment of the samples.For the shipment MC&A will need the number of samples, weight of radioactive material (isotope weights only, non-radioactive matrix not included), and activity. Unapproved or unannounced shipments of radioactive materials may be returned to the sender upon receipt at the APS.

NOTE: Argonne will not accept any Saturday or Sunday deliveries of radioactive materials.

The shipping address for sending radioactive samples to the APS is:

MC&A contact: Brent Finney (, 630-252-7519)
The shipping address for sending radioactive samples to the APS is:
Argonne National Laboratory
Attn:Bldg 46, Receiving
B. A. Finney, Special Materials Rep.
9700 South Cass Avenue
Lemont, IL 60439

Note:Upon receipt at ANL, Bldg. 46, Please contact Health Physics

Please contact Wendy VanWingeren (630-252-1348) or Nena Moonier (630-252-8504) for details on completing the necessary procedures for shipping radioactive materials to or from Argonne. It is recommended for shipping to Argonne that a commercial carrier (e.g., FedEx, etc.) is used. After arrival at the APS all radioactive samples will be surveyed by RSO Health Physics before they are accepted at the APS and allowed to be used for the experiment. The survey of individual sample containers will be performed only with a member of the experiment team present. After your experiment, all radioactive samples will be returned to the home institution. The APS does not provide long term storage for radioactive samples. It is the User's responsibility to complete the necessary form and arrange for return shipment with the APS through an APS Floor Coordinator. Users are encouraged to arrange for the return shipment details prior to starting their experiment. If your samples need to be returned by a specific date, please indicate this in the ESAF or to the on-duty Floor Coordinator and/or Wendy VanWingeren in advance. This will allow time for the proper procedural paperwork to be completed and arrangements made for shipment.

Required Training for Handling Radioactive Materials

All users that handle radioactive samples at the APS must complete Radiation Worker 1 (ESH700) training that is available through the APS User Office. The Department of Energy does not have a reciprocity agreement in place for Radiation Worker training completed at other DOE facilities. There is also a one time practical portion of the Radiation Working training that must be completed.The contact for completing the practical is Elaine Slavik (630-252-9411). Please work with your Beamline Host to arrange for the practical training and provide at least 48 hours notice to arrange for the practical.

The APS RSSRC will provide a beamline runtime procedure for radioactive sample handling activities that occur prior to, during, and after the experiment. The procedure covers posting of the area, sample monitoring, and sample movements. This procedure will be attached to the ESAF Description page when it is available. Health Physics personnel will review the procedure with the experiment team prior to the beginning of the experiment. A copy of the procedure will be in the safety placard on the experiment station door during the experiment.


APS Policy for Conducting Radioactive Samples Experiments in APS Experiment Enclosures. 4/05/2018

APS Experiment Hazard Class 8.1 - Radioactive Materials

Please contact the APS User Safety Program if you have any questions or can not access the internal links

Reviewed: February 8, 2019