U.S. Department of Agriculture

Washington, D.C. 20250




SUBJECT: Radiation Safety Program


October 16, 1995

OOPI: Office of Personnel, Safety and Health Management Division




This Regulation establishes requirements for the development and implementation of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Radiation Safety Program, and prescribes the basic policy, authority, and general operating instructions for the program.


The following Administrative Regulation is superseded by this regulation and is hereby rescinded:

United States Department of Agriculture: GENERAL AUTHORITIES AND FUNCTIONS: Administrative Regulations, Chapter 6, Other Authorities and Functions, Amendment 130 (7/11/79) Section 3 - Radiological Safety, Title 1 - General Authorities and Functions; Subsection 1 - Radiological Safety Organization; Subsection 2 - Acquisition, use, and disposition of radioactive material and radiation emanating equipment.


a USDA will comply with all applicable Federal, State, and local laws and regulations governing the use of radioactive materials and equipment that produces ionizing radiation.

b USDA will protect its employees, the public, and the environment from the risk of hazards which might be caused by the use of such materials and equipment.


a Location. Location means a building, facility, research center, area, region, or state that has been designated as a single entity for purposes of radiation protection.

b Location Radiation Protection Officer. Location Radiation Protection Officer (LRPO) means an individual that has been designated to provide advice and assistance regarding the USDA Radiation Safety Program (RSP) at that location.

c Radiation Emitting Equipment. Radiation emitting equipment means laboratory equipment such as medical/veterinary/cabinet/baggage x-ray machines, electron microscopes, or x-ray diffraction units, that can emit ionizing radiation when the machine is being operated.

d Radioactive Material. Radioactive material means a substance that emits ionizing radiation in the form of alpha particles, beta particles, neutrons, x-rays, or gamma rays.


a Assistant Secretary for Administration. The Assistant Secretary for Administration (ASA) will:

(1) Advise the Secretary of Agriculture, Under and Assistant Secretaries, agency heads, and staff officials in planning, developing, and implementing policies and programs for the safe use and control of radioactive materials and radiation emitting equipment within USDA.

(2) Appoint a member of the Radiation Safety Committee (RSC) to serve as Chairperson.

(3) Periodically review the status of the RSP.

b Heads of Agencies. Heads of agencies using materials and equipment covered by this regulation will:

(1) Comply with Departmental RSP requirements, policies, and procedures.

(2) Publish written guidance specifying responsibilities and procedures for carrying out the policies and guidelines established in this regulation.

(3) Nominate qualified individuals to serve as members and alternates on the USDA RSC.

(4) Ensure that managers and supervisors at locations using radioactive materials, or radiation emitting equipment, are evaluated on their compliance with this Regulation and applicable agency radiation safety guidance.

(5) Ensure that managers of locations using radioactive materials, or radiation emitting equipment, designate an employee to serve as the LRPO.

(6) Ensure that local emergency plans contain instructions for responding to accidents involving radioactive materials.

(7) Conduct studies and prepare reports concerning the Agency's RSP as required by regulatory agencies, the RSC, or the Radiation Safety Staff (RSS).

(8) Support the operations of the RSC, RSS, and the RSP by providing funding appropriate to the size of the Agency's program.

(9) Terminate any activity involving the use of radioactive materials or radiation emitting equipment which appears to be unsafe, as recommended by the Director, RSS, or the Chair, RSC.

(10) Assure that employees who use or are otherwise exposed to sources of ionizing radiation are properly trained.

c Radiation Safety Committee. The RSC will:

(1) Provide advice and assistance to the ASA, agency heads, and staff officials on matters pertaining to radiation safety.

(2) Provide Departmental oversight of, and develop Departmental policy for, the RSP.

(3) Approve permits issued to USDA employees to use radioactive materials or radiation emitting devices.

(4) Conduct an annual audit of the RSP to assure its effectiveness, report the results, and make program recommendations.

d Director, Radiation Safety Staff. The Director, RSS, (through delegation from the Director of Personnel and the Director, Safety and Health Management Division) will:

(1) Administer a Departmental RSP meeting all applicable legal regulatory requirements for the procurement, storage, use, monitoring, and disposal of radioactive materials, instruments containing radioactive materials, and radiation emitting equipment. This program will include:

(a) Maintaining compliance with all aspects of USDA's licenses issued by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.

(b) Maintaining compliance with applicable Federal, State, and local regulations and Agency directives and policies regarding radiation emitting equipment.

(c) Conducting compliance reviews and site visits of locations where radioactive material and ionizing radiation equipment use is permitted.

(2) Terminate any activity involving the use of radioactive materials or radiation emitting equipment which appears to be unsafe.

e USDA Employees. USDA employees will:

(1) Protect themselves, the public, and the environment from unacceptable levels of radiation exposure.

(2) Comply with the requirements of this Directive.

(3) Report unsafe practices and conditions to their supervisor, the RSS, or the RSC.


a Title 10 CFR. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, Chapter 1, Part 20: Standards for Protection Against Radiation; and Part 30: Domestic Licensing of Byproduct Material.

b Title 49 CFR. Department of Transportation, Subtitle B, Chapter 1, Subchapter C, Parts 171-178: Hazardous Materials Regulations.

Signed by: