Safety Services


Registering and decommissioning radiation workspaces 

Radiation workspaces must have written approval by the Radiation Protection Team before any work with ionising radiation takes place.

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Areas where work with ionising radiation is carried out are evaluated on the radiation risk from the work that will be conducted in that area.​ Stricter controls are applied for higher-risk work areas.

Radiation Workspaces (designated areas)

Designated Areas are a legal requirement and their purpose is to help manage the radiation risk by identifying and segregating higher risk activities from the lower, and thus controlling the extent of radiation exposure.

Departments must not designate an area or change the designation of an existing area without written approval from the Radiation Protection Team

Controlled Area

This is the highest category. A Controlled Area is an area where either a person might receive over three-tenths of the relevant annual dose limit, or “special procedures” have to be followed which are designed to restrict significant exposure, or to prevent or limit the probability or magnitude of radiation accidents. Note - special procedures are deemed to not include routine work with low levels of radionuclides.

Supervised Area

A Supervised Area is an area where either a person might receive more than one-tenth of the relevant annual dose limit, or the conditions of the area need to be kept under review to determine whether it could become a Controlled Area.

Registered Area

Radiation workspaces that do not require designation as either Supervised or Controlled are called Registered Areas at UCL.

Types of radiation work areas

  • ​Unsealed radioactive material ​
  • Sealed radioactive material ​
  • Radioactive waste storage ​
  • Nuclear materials​
  • X-rays or other radiation generators

Registering new or refurbished work areas or radioactive waste stores

Early notification of projects that involve the creation or refurbishment of an area to be used for work with ionising radiation or storing radioactive waste will ensure that projects are not delayed or additional expenses incurred whilst waiting for approval.

The Radiation Protection team will provide the correct advice including:

  • Layout (e.g. location of workbenches, sinks, clean areas)
  • Surface finishes (e.g. walls, floors, laboratory furniture)
  • Pipework (including sinks, drainage and taps)
  • Furniture (including workbenches, fume cupboards and laboratory storage)
  • Security
  • Shielding
  • Signage

Email the Radiation Protection Team to register new or refurbished work areas or waste stores.

Decommissioning of radiation work areas or radioactive waste stores

Radiation areas, including radioactive waste stores, must be formally decommissioned: 

  • When work with radioactive materials in the area has ceased
  • Prior to any work not involving ionising radiation in the area
  • Prior to refurbishment 
  • Prior to demolition 

Departments must follow the Decommissioning and Clearance of Radiation Work Areas and Radioactive Waste Stores procedure (UCL login required).

Last updated: Tuesday, April 26, 2022