Some radioactive materials can be purchased without a license. Among those are generally licensed items and instruments that use radioactive materials in a sealed form, small check sources in exempt quantities, and naturally occurring isotopes such as uranium and thorium compounds.

Generally licensed items

Items sold under a general license may contain sources that require tracking and leak testing. Among those are:

  • Electron Capture Detectors (ECD for gas chromatographs)
  • Liquid Scintillation Counters
  • Lead Paint Analyzers
  • Density Gauges

If you purchase equipment containing a radioactive source, contact DRS to determine what requirements apply. To facilitate compliance with regulatory requirements, DRS usually issues a permit to the person responsible for the equipment. Prior experience with handling radioactive material is not required for generally licensed items.

Other items containing small amounts do not require tracking or leak testing. DRS does not issue permits for these items but will assist with disposal. Among those are:

  • Static Eliminators
  • Smoke detectors
  • Self-Luminous Exit Signs

These items must be used according to manufacturer instructions and no modifications are permitted. After their useful life is over, items can be picked up by DRS or shipped back to the manufacturer. Contact DRS for shipping requirements.

See Radioactive Equipment Disposal for further items that may contain radioactive materials and contact DRS before disposing of such equipment.

Check Sources

Small check sources in exempt quantities are often used for teaching and detector checks. The exempt quantity limits vary for different isotopes and can range from 0.1 µCi for I-129 to 1000 µCi for tritium. They are only exempt from regulations if used individually below the exempt limit. If multiple sources are used together and the combined activity exceeds the exempt limit, all regulations pertaining to radioactive materials apply. Contact DRS if you plan to purchase check sources. For safety and tracking purposes, DRS issues a permit to the person responsible for the sources. Prior experience with handling radioactive material is not required for exempt quantity permits.

Sealed sources must not be altered in any way. Contact DRS for sealed sources that have decayed or are no longer needed. Even completely decayed with no radioactivity detectable, they must be turned in to DRS for disposal.