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Radioactivity and radiation are often used interchangeably, so it is important to understand the distinction between them. Radioactivity is the mechanical breakdown of unstable nuclei, whereas radiation is the product of that breakdown. Regarding radiation safety, it is the radiation which causes biological damage.
Any organization that wishes to take possession of and use radioactive materials in Canada must first secure a Radioactive Materials License. The Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission is responsible for regulating the use of radioactive materials, creating regulatory policies, establishing legally binding regulations on matters relating to health, safety, security, and environmental issues that are affecting the Canadian nuclear industry. Apart from these, they are the one who deals with licensing decisions on nuclear activities in Canada.
Whenever a radiation regulatory agency such as the CNSC wants to conduct an inspection or contact a company whose business deals with radioactive materials, they will speak with the company’s Radiation Safety Officer (RSO). All users of radioactive materials in the company are required to know the RSO’s contact information in case safety, operational, and/or regulatory issues arise.
Radiation Safety Officer
Typical duties of the RSO usually include, but may not be limited to, the following:
1. Stopping unsafe work practices
2. Ensuring the proper use and maintenance of gauges
3. Training staff
4. Managing incidents, investigation and reporting
5. Controlling security and storage of nuclear substances and radiation devices
6. Handling disposal
7. Ensuring packaging and transport requirements
8. Conducting internal audits
9. Handling radiation dose monitoring (issuing dosimetry and reviewing results)
10. Ensuring compliance with all of the regulatory requirements from nuclear regulatory bodies such as CNSC
11. Adhering to ALARA principles
12. Designating employees as Nuclear Energy Workers
13. Providing proper equipment and instrumentation to employees (ensuring proper maintenance and calibration as required)
14. Ensuring that proper procedures are followed and maintained
15. Maintaining complete records.
The following documents should be maintained and available for review by an inspector of the licensing agency:
a. Radioactive Substance License
b. Training Certificates
c. Regulations Manual
d. Leak Test Reports
e. Personnel Monitoring Reports
f. Warning signage and post
h. International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Certificate of Competent Authority (Special Form Certificate).
i. Type A Package Test Results
j. Emergency Response Information
k. Bill of Landing
l. Annual Compliance Report
m. Annual Internal Audit
n. Gauge Certificate
o. Incident Procedures
Become a Certified RSO
An individual who wants to be a Radiation Safety Officer should get training first from certified training institutions such as Measur.