Radioactive source leak tests
Regulation 27(3) of the Ionising Radiations Regulations 1999 requires, where appropriate*, suitable tests to be performed at suitable intervals to detect the leakage of radioactive substances from sealed radioactive sources and from articles containing unsealed radioactive material.
The interval between tests should not exceed two years under normal operating conditions. More frequent testing may be advisable for situations where the radiological implications of a loss of containment could be severe, or the physical or chemical conditions are such that deterioration of the source or its containment might occur, for example in a hot and humid climate.
Additional tests for leakage should also be performed if any damage is suspected, or where any work has been carried out which could have affected the integrity of the capsule or article.
If radioactive sources are being retained beyond their recommended working life then the frequency of leak tests may also need to be increased as part of the periodic reviews of its condition.
RP Alba Ltd can perform suitable radioactive source leak tests at your premises and this will be followed up by off-site assessment of the swabs. If RP Alba Ltd performs on site testing of your radioactive sources then as part of the service we will take photographs of each item if they can be directly accessed. Photographs help with the identification of any deterioration of the integrity of the sources over time and it is now recognised best practice to perform visual inspections of sources where reasonably practicable.
Alternatively radioactive source leak test kits can be provided (with instructions) for you to perform the leak test then you can despatch your swabs to RP Alba Ltd for assessment.
All of our leak tests are performed in accordance with ISO 9978 and a leak test record will be generated for each source tested showing:
- The identification of the source or article which is the subject of the test;
- The date of the test
- The reason for the test (e.g. pre-use, manufacturer’s test, nominal routine, after incident);
- The methods of test;
- Numerical results of the test;
- The result of the test (pass or fail);
- Any action taken if the source failed the test;
- The name and signature of the person carrying out the test.
Most of our clients opt for annual leak testing arrangements of their radioactive sources where appropriate*. Please contact us today to organise your radioactive source leak test.
* Radioactive source leak tests are not usually considered appropriate if:
- the sealed source contains solely gaseous radioactive substances;
- on an article containing a radioactive substance which is solely designed and used for the purpose of detecting smoke or fire AND is installed in a building for that purpose;
- an article containing a radioactive substance, not being a sealed source, is by design open, for example a syringe, bottle, or similar equipment;
- on any sealed sources during irradiation in a nuclear reactor.
- the source or article has no dimensions greater than 5mm.