Working with nuclear materials
Nuclear materials such as Uranium, Thorium and Plutonium, are subject to Nuclear Safeguards requirements. There are specific accountancy and reporting procedures.
Depleted, natural and enriched Uranium, as well as Thorium and Plutonium, are defined as Nuclear Materials (also called Safeguards materials or, previously, Euratom materials).
Projects relating to nuclear fuel and waste cycles are also subject to additional requirements and must be reported to the Radiation Protection Team.
Individuals wishing to work with nuclear materials must be registered Radiation Workers.
> Read about how to become a Radiation Worker at UCL
New projects involving the use of nuclear materials must be assigned a Radiation Project Number before work can commence.
> Read about the Radiation Project Approval process
Nuclear materials must be accounted for, correctly labelled and stored securely throughout their lifecycle. Speak to your local Nuclear Materials Inventory Co-ordinator for more information on nuclear materials accountancy.
- Report nuclear material
The following materials must be reported to the Radiation Protection Team:
- Those that contain fissionable material e.g. any materials containing Plutonium-239, Uranium-233 and Uranium-235
- Material in the form of Uranium and Thorium metals, alloys or compounds
- Uranium and Thorium ores
- Report nuclear research projects
The following projects must be reported to the Radiation Protection Team.
- Research related to the nuclear fuel cycle or nuclear waste cycle
- Desktop studies (not involving any nuclear material) related to the nuclear fuel cycle or nuclear waste cycle
- Bringing nuclear material onto the UCL campus (including bought, gifted, loaned etc)
Before bringing nuclear material on site, it must first be approved by the local Nuclear Materials Inventory Co-ordinator (NMIC) and the Radiation Protection Team.
The following initial information must be provided to the NMIC when planning new acquisitions.
- Type of material (e.g. uranyl acetate, 3% thoriated wire etc)
- Amount of compound/material (e.g. 25g uranyl acetate)
- Name of the supplier or the institution/person who loaned/gifted the material and their address
- The supplier's Safeguards ‘MBA’ code (if they are reporting to Safeguards)
- Expected delivery date
- Unique ID (if assigned by supplier)
Further information will be requested once the material has arrived on site to satisfy full reporting requirements.
- Recording nuclear material usage
All usages must be:
- Recorded at the time of use
- Recorded in grams (g)
- Recorded on the templates available in the Ionising Radiation SharePoint
> Ionising Radiation SharePoint (UCL login required)
- Safe disposal of nuclear materials
Traces of nuclear waste
Typically laboratory goods contaminated with traces of nuclear material, such as gloves, paper towels, pipette tips etc can be disposed of as solid clinical waste.
Unused liquid or sample washings
Unused liquid or sample washings go into a collection bottle and the Nuclear Materials Inventory Co-ordinator will arrange collection by raising a service request with UCL Estates.
Nuclear materials must never be poured down the sink
Last updated: Tuesday, April 12, 2022
> Nuclear Materials Coordinator (previously known as a Euratom inventory co-ordinator)
> The Ionising Radiations Regulations 2017 (legislation)
> Ionising Radiation (Medical Exposure) Regulations 2017: guidance (gov.uk)
> Radiation legal base (HSE)
> Office for Nuclear Regulation – What are nuclear safeguards?