The CU Radiation Safety Office supports all safety in research involving radioactive materials and radiation-generating machines on the CU Boulder and Colorado Springs campuses. We provide resources, training, and various required safety programs to help you conduct your research and minimize any danger or health hazards in the process.

The CU Radiation Safety office provides oversight and helps ensure compliant and safe use of radioactive materials on both the Boulder and Colorado Springs campuses with the express goal of fulfilling all requirements of the university’s Broad-Scope Radioactive Materials License issued through CDPHE. Our unit has helped maintain safety and compliance since the university first began using radioactive materials in the 1950s. In those days, the field of Radiation Safety (and the office on campus) was known as “Health Physics” – a name developed under the secrecy of the Manhattan Project in order to avoid arousing suspicion.

To support the requirements of the University Radioactive Materials License, our unit works as a liaison between radiation users and the campus Radiation Safety Committee to ensure the suitability of PI oversight as well as facilities and equipment. We also provide expertise on radiation safety compliance and “best practices” for proposed research protocols.

  • Our primary goal is safety and compliance with the use of radioactive materials.
  • Areas where radioactive materials are used are checked regularly for contamination as well as for compliance with security and inventory procedures.
  • Our office tracks occupational exposure to radiation for campus users likely to receive doses from their work with radiation.
  • We develop training and support structure in order to empower researchers with information and tools to lower the risk from occupational exposure to radiation.
  • We calibrate survey meters and other radiation detection equipment for radiation laboratories and local institutions off campus.
  • Radioactive waste from laboratories is collected and processed using procedures compliant with federal hazardous materials transport and disposal regulations.
  • Our staff works closely with laboratories to adjust experimental protocols to minimize the production of long-lived radioactive or mixed hazardous/radioactive waste.
  • Our staff perform compliance audits in radiation use laboratories as part of our general role of providing oversight to the safe use of radiation on campus.

Though our role involves a great deal of required procedures and documents to ensure compliance with regulations, members of the Radiation Safety team also pride ourselves on the development of amenable and professional collaborative relationships with researchers with the goal of making compliance easier for everyone. We frequently work closely with researchers to develop innovative solutions which meet the intent of regulations while also facilitating each laboratory’s research needs. We are available to answer any questions or assist with issues involving radiation use on campus at any time.

Services Provided

  • Oversight of University Radiation Safety Program, including compliance inspections and collaboration with researchers to develop a proactive safety culture on campus
  • Contamination and exposure surveys
  • Radioactive and Mixed waste (radioactive/chemical) disposal
  • Non-ionizing radiation (EMF, ELF, RF, microwaves, lasers) use and safety recommendations
  • External and internal radiation exposure monitoring
  • Research X-ray machine certification and inspection
  • Licensing for use of radioactive materials through the CU Radiation Safety Committee
  • Calibration of portable radiation detection instruments and liquid scintillation counters
  • Sealed source leak-testing, inventory, receipt, shipment and disposal
  • Coordination of radon testing in campus buildings
  • Radiation Safety Training

The University of Colorado has been granted a license for the use of radioactive materials and radiation-generating machines in research. This license has been granted by the Colorado Department of Public Health & Environment (CDPHE) under an agreement with the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, and it calls for compliance with applicable federal and state laws. We work to maintain the health and safety of all radiation-workers at CU Boulder.

Engaging in services and programs set up by our unit will ensure utmost safety while using radiation in your laboratory.

Online Training through BioRAFT

Safety Resources

In addition to training, you can use our library of resources to stay on top of safety and compliance. Reference materials, including the Radiation Safety Handbook, can be found on the Resources page under Radiation Safety or Lasers.

Radiation Safety Handbook

Dosimeter Application

The primary use of a dosimeter is to provide a record of personnel radiation exposure. Dosimeters are returned every 2 months in order to identify possible problem areas on a continuing basis. Wearing a dosimeter is required for some isotopes and uses, as determined by the CU Radiation Safety Office. You can obtain a dosimeter through our Radiation Safety Office. To get a dosimeter, follow the steps below:

  1. Complete appropriate Radiation Safety Training module on BioRAFT (Search Course Directory under the Training link).
  2. Fill out the Dosimetry Application (fillable PDF) with as much information as possible.
  3. Print out form.
  4. Return form to the Radiation Safety Office via email (, campus mail (413 UCB) or fax to 303-492-1322.

Security of Radiation

The Radiation Safety Committee (RSC) is committed to the safe use and storage of radioactive materials on campus. All radioactive materials and radiation-producing machines must be secured from unauthorized use or removal. Contact the Radiation Safety Office with questions regarding this requirement.

Radiation Safety Laboratory Audit

Radiation Safety laboratory audits are performed once a year in all laboratories with any type of radiation license. The audits are performed by Radiation Safety staff and are compliance driven—they are an opportunity to check laboratories for compliance before the campus is inspected by CDPHE. They are also an opportunity to “check-in” with laboratories and answer any questions. They are unannounced, but a pre-audit questionnaire is usually sent to laboratories a month or two before the audit. Any items noted in the audit need to be responded to in writing within 30 days.