Administrative Code

Virginia Administrative Code
8/18/2022

Article 4. Operation of Irradiators

12VAC5-481-2830. Training.

Article 4
Operation of Irradiators

A. Before an individual is permitted to operate an irradiator without a supervisor present, the individual shall be instructed in:

1. The fundamentals of radiation protection applied to irradiators, including the differences between external radiation and radioactive contamination, units of radiation dose, agency dose limits, why large radiation doses shall be avoided, how shielding and access controls prevent large doses, how an irradiator is designed to prevent contamination, the proper use of survey meters and personnel dosimeters, other radiation safety features of an irradiator, and the basic function of the irradiator;

2. The requirements of Part X (12VAC5-481-2250 et seq.) and Part XII (12VAC5-481-2660 et seq.) of this chapter that are relevant to the irradiator;

3. The operation of the irradiator;

4. Those operating and emergency procedures listed in 12VAC5-481-2840 that the individual is responsible for performing; and

5. Case histories of accidents or problems involving irradiators.

B. Before an individual is permitted to operate an irradiator without a supervisor present, the individual shall pass a written test on the instruction received consisting primarily of questions based on the licensee's operating and emergency procedures that the individual is responsible for performing and other operations necessary to safely operate the irradiator without supervision.

C. Before an individual is permitted to operate an irradiator without a supervisor present, the individual shall have received on-the-job training or simulator training in the use of the irradiator as described in the license application. The individual shall also demonstrate the ability to perform those portions of the operating and emergency procedures that the individual is to perform.

D. Licensees shall conduct safety reviews for irradiator operators at least annually. Licensees shall give each operator a brief written test on the information. Each safety review shall include, to the extent appropriate, each of the following:

1. Changes in operating and emergency procedures since the last review;

2. Changes in regulations and license conditions since the last review;

3. Reports on recent accidents, mistakes, or problems that have occurred at irradiators;

4. Relevant results of inspections of operator safety performance;

5. Relevant results of the facility's inspection and maintenance checks; and

6. A drill to practice an emergency or abnormal event procedure.

E. Licensees shall evaluate the safety performance of each irradiator operator at least annually to ensure that regulations, license conditions, and operating and emergency procedures are followed. Licensees shall discuss the results of the evaluation with the operator and shall instruct the operator on how to correct mistakes or deficiencies observed.

F. Individuals who will be permitted unescorted access to the radiation room of the irradiator or the area around the pool of an underwater irradiator, but who have not received the training required for operators or for the radiation safety officer, shall be instructed and tested in precautions they shall take to avoid radiation exposure, procedures or parts of procedures listed in 12VAC5-481-2840 that they are expected to perform or comply with, and their proper response to alarms required in this part. Tests may be oral.

G. Individuals who shall be prepared to respond to alarms required by 12VAC5-481-2730 B and I, 12VAC5-481-2750 A, 12VAC5-481-2760, and 12VAC5-481-2870 B shall be trained and tested on how to respond. Each individual shall be retested at least once a year. Tests may be oral.

Statutory Authority

§ 32.1-229 of the Code of Virginia.

Historical Notes

Derived from Virginia Register Volume 22, Issue 25, eff. September 20, 2006; amended, Virginia Register Volume 24, Issue 18, eff. June 12, 2008; Volume 32, Issue 24, eff. August 25, 2016.

12VAC5-481-2840. Operating and emergency procedures.

A. Licensees shall have and follow written operating procedures for:

1. Operation of the irradiator, including entering and leaving the radiation room;

2. Use of personnel dosimeters;

3. Surveying the shielding of panoramic irradiators;

4. Monitoring pool water for contamination while the water is in the pool and before release of pool water to unrestricted areas;

5. Leak testing of sources;

6. Inspection and maintenance checks required by 12VAC5-481-2880;

7. Loading, unloading, and repositioning sources if the operations will be performed by the licensee; and

8. Inspection of movable shielding required by 12VAC5-481-2730, if applicable.

B. Licensees shall have and follow written emergency or abnormal event procedures appropriate for the irradiator type for:

1. Sources stuck in the unshielded position;

2. Personnel overexposures;

3. A radiation alarm from the product exit portal monitor or pool monitor;

4. Detection of leaking sources, pool contamination, or alarm caused by contamination of pool water;

5. A low or high water level indicator, an abnormal water loss, or leakage from the source storage pool;

6. A prolonged loss of electrical power;

7. A fire alarm or explosion in the radiation room;

8. An alarm indicating unauthorized entry into the radiation room, area around pool, or another alarmed area;

9. Natural phenomena, including an earthquake, a tornado, flooding, or other phenomena as appropriate for the geographical location of the facility; and

10. The jamming of automatic conveyor systems.

C. Licensees may revise operating and emergency procedures without agency approval only if all of the following conditions are met:

1. The revisions do not reduce the safety of the facility;

2. The revisions are consistent with the outline or summary of procedures submitted with the license application;

3. The revisions have been reviewed and approved by the radiation safety officer; and

4. The users or operators are instructed and tested on the revised procedures before they are put into use.

Statutory Authority

§ 32.1-229 of the Code of Virginia.

Historical Notes

Derived from Virginia Register Volume 22, Issue 25, eff. September 20, 2006; amended, Virginia Register Volume 24, Issue 18, eff. June 12, 2008; Volume 32, Issue 24, eff. August 25, 2016.

12VAC5-481-2850. Personnel monitoring.

A. Irradiator operators shall wear a personnel dosimeter while operating a panoramic irradiator or while in the area around the pool of an underwater irradiator. The personnel dosimeter must be capable of detecting high energy photons in the normal and accident dose ranges (see 12VAC5-481-750). Each personnel dosimeter shall be assigned to and worn by only one individual. Film badges shall be processed at least monthly, and other personnel dosimeters that require replacement shall be evaluated at least quarterly or promptly after replacement, whichever is more frequent.

B. Other individuals who enter the radiation room of a panoramic irradiator shall wear a dosimeter, which may be a pocket dosimeter. For groups of visitors, only two people who enter the radiation room are required to wear dosimeters. If pocket dosimeters are used to meet the requirements of this subsection, a check of their response to radiation shall be done at least annually. Acceptable dosimeters shall read within plus or minus 30% of the true radiation dose.

Statutory Authority

§ 32.1-229 of the Code of Virginia.

Historical Notes

Derived from Virginia Register Volume 22, Issue 25, eff. September 20, 2006; amended, Virginia Register Volume 24, Issue 18, eff. June 12, 2008; Volume 32, Issue 24, eff. August 25, 2016; Volume 37, Issue 25, eff. January 14, 2022; Errata, 38:4 VA.R. 478 October 11, 2021.

12VAC5-481-2860. Radiation surveys.

A. A radiation survey of the area outside the shielding of the radiation room of a panoramic irradiator shall be conducted with the sources in the exposed position before the facility starts to operate. A radiation survey of the area above the pool of pool irradiators shall be conducted after the sources are loaded but before the facility starts to operate. Additional radiation surveys of the shielding shall be performed at intervals not to exceed three years and before resuming operation after addition of new sources or any modification to the radiation room shielding or structure that might increase dose rates.

B. If the radiation levels specified in 12VAC5-481-2740 are exceeded, the facility shall be modified to comply with the requirements in 12VAC5-481-2740.

C. Portable radiation survey meters shall be calibrated at least annually to an accuracy of plus or minus 20% for the gamma energy of the sources in use. The calibration shall be done at two points on each scale or for digital instruments at one point per decade over the range that will be used. Portable radiation survey meters shall be of a type that does not saturate and read zero at high radiation dose rates.

D. Water from the irradiator pool, other potentially contaminated liquids, and sediments from pool vacuuming shall be monitored for radioactive contamination before release to unrestricted areas. Radioactive concentrations shall not exceed those specified in Table 2, Column 2 or Table 3 of Appendix B to 10 CFR Part 20.

E. Before releasing resins for unrestricted use, they shall be monitored in an area with a background level less than 0.05 mrem (0.5 μSv) per hour. The resins may be released only if the survey does not detect radiation levels above background radiation levels. The survey meter used shall be capable of detecting radiation levels of 0.05 mrem (0.5 μSv) per hour.

Statutory Authority

§ 32.1-229 of the Code of Virginia.

Historical Notes

Derived from Virginia Register Volume 22, Issue 25, eff. September 20, 2006; amended, Virginia Register Volume 24, Issue 18, eff. June 12, 2008; Volume 32, Issue 24, eff. August 25, 2016.

12VAC5-481-2870. Detection of leaking sources.

A. Each dry-source-storage sealed source shall be tested for leakage at intervals not to exceed six months using a leak test kit or method approved by the agency, NRC, or another agreement state. In the absence of a certificate from a transferor that a test has been made within the six months before the transfer, the sealed source may not be used until tested. The test shall be capable of detecting the presence of 0.005 μCi (200 Bq) of radioactive material and shall be performed by a person approved by the agency, the NRC, or another agreement state to perform the test.

B. For pool irradiators, sources may not be put into the pool unless the licensee tests the sources for leaks or has a certificate from a transferor that a leak test has been done within the six months before the transfer. Water from the pool shall be checked for contamination each day the irradiator operates. The check may be done either by using a radiation monitor on a pool water circulating system or by analysis of a sample of pool water. If a check for contamination is done by analysis of a sample of pool water, the results of the analysis shall be available within 24 hours. If the licensee uses a radiation monitor on a pool water circulating system, the detection of above normal radiation levels shall activate an alarm. The alarm set-point shall be set as low as practical, but high enough to avoid false alarms. The licensee may reset the alarm set-point to a higher level if necessary to operate the pool water purification system to clean up contamination in the pool if specifically provided for in written emergency procedures.

C. If a leaking source is detected, the licensee shall arrange to remove the leaking source from service and have it decontaminated, repaired, or disposed of by an agency, the NRC, or another agreement state licensee that is authorized to perform these functions. The licensee shall promptly check its personnel, equipment, facilities, and irradiated product for radioactive contamination. No product may be shipped until the product has been checked and found free of contamination. If a product has been shipped that may have been inadvertently contaminated, the licensee shall arrange to locate and survey that product for contamination. If any personnel are found to be contaminated, decontamination shall be performed promptly. If contaminated equipment, facilities, or products are found, the licensee shall arrange to have them decontaminated or disposed of by an agency, the NRC, or another agreement state licensee that is authorized to perform these functions. If a pool is contaminated, the licensee shall arrange to clean the pool until the contamination levels do not exceed the appropriate concentration in Table 2, Column 2 of Appendix B to 10 CFR Part 20. (See 12VAC5-481-1110 for reporting requirements.)

Statutory Authority

§ 32.1-229 of the Code of Virginia.

Historical Notes

Derived from Virginia Register Volume 22, Issue 25, eff. September 20, 2006; amended, Virginia Register Volume 24, Issue 18, eff. June 12, 2008; Volume 25, Issue 2, eff. November 1, 2008; Volume 32, Issue 24, eff. August 25, 2016.

12VAC5-481-2880. Inspection and maintenance.

A. Licensees shall perform inspection and maintenance checks that include, as a minimum, each of the following at the frequency specified in the license or license application:

1. Operability of each aspect of the access control system required by 12VAC5-481-2730;

2. Functioning of the source position indicator required by 12VAC5-481-2770 B;

3. Operability of the radiation monitor for radioactive contamination in pool water required by 12VAC5-481-2870 B using a radiation check source, if applicable;

4. Operability of the over-pool radiation monitor at underwater irradiators as required by 12VAC5-481-2760 B;

5. Operability of the product exit monitor required by 12VAC5-481-2760 A;

6. Operability of the emergency source return control required by 12VAC5-481-2770 C;

7. Leak-tightness of systems through which pool water circulates (visual inspection);

8. Operability of the heat and smoke detectors and extinguisher system required by 12VAC5-481-2750 (but without turning extinguishers on);

9. Operability of the means of pool water replenishment required by 12VAC5-481-2780 C;

10. Operability of the indicators of high and low pool water levels required by 12VAC5-481-2780 D;

11. Operability of the intrusion alarm required by 12VAC5-481-2730 I, if applicable;

12. Functioning and wear of the system, mechanisms, and cables used to raise and lower sources;

13. Condition of the barrier to prevent products from hitting the sources or source mechanism as required by 12VAC5-481-2790;

14. Amount of water added to the pool to determine if the pool is leaking;

15. Electrical wiring on required safety systems for radiation damage; and

16. Pool water conductivity measurements and analysis as required by 12VAC5-481-2890 B.

B. Malfunctions and defects found during inspection and maintenance checks shall be repaired without undue delay.

Statutory Authority

§ 32.1-229 of the Code of Virginia.

Historical Notes

Derived from Virginia Register Volume 22, Issue 25, eff. September 20, 2006; amended, Virginia Register Volume 24, Issue 18, eff. June 12, 2008; Volume 32, Issue 24, eff. August 25, 2016.

12VAC5-481-2890. Pool water purity.

A. Pool water purification system shall be run sufficiently to maintain the conductivity of the pool water below 20 microsiemens per centimeter under normal circumstances. If pool water conductivity rises above 20 microsiemens per centimeter, licensees shall take prompt actions to lower pool water conductivity and shall take corrective actions to prevent future recurrences.

B. Licensees shall measure the pool water conductivity frequently enough, but no less than weekly, to assure that the conductivity remains below 20 microsiemens per centimeter. Conductivity meters shall be calibrated at least annually.

Statutory Authority

§ 32.1-229 of the Code of Virginia.

Historical Notes

Derived from Virginia Register Volume 22, Issue 25, eff. September 20, 2006; amended, Virginia Register Volume 24, Issue 18, eff. June 12, 2008; Volume 32, Issue 24, eff. August 25, 2016.

12VAC5-481-2900. Attendance during operation.

A. Both an irradiator operator and at least one other individual who is trained on how to respond and prepared to promptly render or summon assistance if the access control alarm sounds shall be present on site:

1. Whenever the irradiator is operated using an automatic product conveyor system; and

2. Whenever the product is moved into or out of the radiation room when the irradiator is operated in a batch mode.

B. At a panoramic irradiator at which static irradiations (no movement of the product) are occurring, a person who has received the training on how to respond to alarms described in 12VAC5-481-2830 G shall be on site.

C. At an underwater irradiator, an irradiator operator shall be present at the facility whenever the product is moved into or out of the pool. Individuals who move the product into or out of the pool of an underwater irradiator need not be qualified as irradiator operators; however, they shall have received the training described in 12VAC5-481-2830 F and G. Static irradiations may be performed without a person present at the facility.

Statutory Authority

§ 32.1-229 of the Code of Virginia.

Historical Notes

Derived from Virginia Register Volume 22, Issue 25, eff. September 20, 2006; amended, Virginia Register Volume 24, Issue 18, eff. June 12, 2008; Volume 32, Issue 24, eff. August 25, 2016.

12VAC5-481-2910. Entering and leaving the radiation room.

A. Upon first entering the radiation room of a panoramic irradiator after an irradiation, the irradiator operator shall use a survey meter to determine that the source has returned to the fully shielded position. The operator shall check the functioning of the survey meter with a radiation check source prior to entry.

B. Before exiting from and locking the door to the radiation room of a panoramic irradiator prior to a planned irradiation, the irradiator operator shall:

1. Visually inspect the entire radiation room to verify that no one else is in it; and

2. Activate a control in the radiation room that permits the sources to be moved from the shielded position only if the door to the radiation room is locked within a preset time after setting the control.

C. During a power failure, the area around the pool of an underwater irradiator may not be entered without using an operable and calibrated radiation survey meter unless the over-the-pool monitor required by 12VAC5-481-2760 B is operating with backup power.

Statutory Authority

§ 32.1-229 of the Code of Virginia.

Historical Notes

Derived from Virginia Register Volume 22, Issue 25, eff. September 20, 2006; amended, Virginia Register Volume 24, Issue 18, eff. June 12, 2008; Volume 32, Issue 24, eff. August 25, 2016.

12VAC5-481-2920. Irradiation of explosive or flammable materials.

A. Irradiation of explosive material is prohibited unless the licensee has received prior written authorization from the agency. Authorization will not be granted unless the licensee can demonstrate that denotation of the explosive would not rupture the sealed sources, injure personnel, damage safety systems, or cause radiation overexposures to personnel.

B. Irradiation of more than small quantities of flammable material (flash point below 140ºF) is prohibited in panoramic irradiators unless the licensee has received prior written authorization from the agency. Authorization will not be granted unless the licensee can demonstrate that a fire in the radiation room could be controlled without damage to sealed sources or safety systems and without radiation overexposures to personnel.

Statutory Authority

§ 32.1-229 of the Code of Virginia.

Historical Notes

Derived from Virginia Register Volume 22, Issue 25, eff. September 20, 2006; amended, Virginia Register Volume 24, Issue 18, eff. June 12, 2008; Volume 32, Issue 24, eff. August 25, 2016.

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