Student Conducting Laboratory Research

Radiation Safety

Instructions for Radioactive Materials Use Application (Non-Human Research Only)

For detailed procedures, use the Guidelines (PDF).

For detailed guidance on starting any type of research at MCW please visit Research Resources.

When an Application is required:

  • For all investigators who have not previously been authorized for the use of radioactive materials at Froedtert Hospital or Medical College of Wisconsin, or
  • For all investigators who are applying for a new use of radioactive materials. This application covers a specific use, such as tritium for autoradiography, P-32 for gene sequencing, etc. When an authorized user wishes to substantially change the nature of radioactive materials use, either the purpose of the procedure or the chemical processes involved, a new application is required. (Example: A user authorized for P-32 labeled nucleotides for gene sequencing, and who was applying to increase the possession limit to do Northern or Southern blotting, would only require an amendment. If the same user was applying to switch to gamma-labeled P-32 in protein kinase assays, the user would need to complete a new application. Note: An applicant may request multiple processes as described above on single application, providing that complete handling protocols are established for each.)

When an Amendment is required:

  • An Amendment to Radioactive Materials Authorization is required for minor changes to an existing authorized use, such as increases in possession or shipping limits, a change in isotope or chemical form for an approved use, changes in lab locations, or changes in personnel. The Amendment is not intended for fundamental changes in purpose of use.

More information regarding the application/approval process (PDF)


Section 2 - Proposed use
A. List all isotopes to utilized in the protocols presented in this application. Example:
Isotope Physical Form Chemical Form

Activity per
procedure (μCi)

Possession limit

Estimated annual
usage (μCi)
P-32 liquid dATP 50 1000 10000
Am-241 sealed source plated 10 10 10

More information on isotope licensing, purchase and transfer (PDF)

B. Purpose – Give a simple description of the intended use of radioisotopes, such as “tracer studies to determine uptake of ‘Type A’ chemical in ‘Type B’ cells.”

C. Handling Protocol – Give a detailed description of how the isotope will be handled and what chemistry, if any, will occur. Example:

  1. Pipette 10 μCi isotope into 500 ml solution and mix thoroughly.
  2. Pipette 1 ml solution per tube.
  3. Add cell solution.
  4. Incubate for 2 days.
  5. Centrifuge tubes.
  6. Pour off excess liquid into radioactive liquid waste container.
  7. Prepare tubes for analysis.
  8. Following analysis, discard cell culture into radioactive liquid waste.

D. Subsidiary Hazards – Some isotope procedures are more inherently hazardous than others. The process of iodination, for example, can release vapors with radioiodine, and must be performed in a controlled environment. In general, the use of pre-labeled compounds avoids most of these complications, and is considered to be a “simple, wet operation”. Compounds that must be labeled with radioisotopes are typical of “normal” chemical operations, but may have associated hazards. Carefully research the processes to be performed and list any potential hazards. More information on radioisotope hazard classification (PDF)

E. Animal Use – For users who will be working with live animals, list all animals involved. ORS must make arrangements with the BRC to accommodate these needs. More information on specific animal/radioactivity requirements (PDF)

section 5 - contamination surveys and monitoring

Using the check boxes (and alternate descriptions when applicable), describe the personal protective equipment and procedures that will be utilized.

More information on contamination survey and monitoring requirements (PDF)

section 6 - certification of responsibility
No application will be accepted without appropriate signatures.

Finally, submit the signed application to the Radiation Safety Office. The review process is as follows:

  1. Preliminary review by the Radiation Safety Office;
  2. Detailed review by three basic science research faculty members of the RSC;
  3. Review and signoff by a quorum of RSC members;
  4. Radiation Safety will contact you to set up the lab, as necessary.

All applications are expedited. Any questions or clarifications required by the RSC may be answered by email; the text of which will be added to the application.

If you have any questions, contact ORS.

Section 1 - Applicant information
A. Applicant Information – It is vitally important that ORS be able to correspond with each user throughout the duration of a project. The preferred method of communication is through MCW email. Please fill out the application fully.

B. Training – Complete the Radioactive Materials Training and Experience form that comprises pages 6 and 7 of this form.
MCW Training and Experience Requirements for Authorized Users. (PDF)

C. Participating Personnel – All persons (techs, students, post-docs, etc.) who will handle radioactive materials in the laboratory must be listed on the authorization. All staff and students who will handle radioactive materials directly must be trained by Radiation Safety. Additional training must be provided by the Authorized User; all training must be documented on the Radiation Worker Training Form (provided by radiation safety).
More information on Radiation Worker training. (PDF)

section 3 - Waste

Using the check boxes (and alternate descriptions when applicable), describe the radioactive waste that will be generated and handled in the lab.

More information on radioactive waste handling requirements (PDF)

section 4 - facilities

Using the check boxes (and alternate descriptions when applicable), describe the lab facilities and equipment that will be utilized.

More information on radioactive work areas and laboratories (PDF)

Contact Us

24 Hour Emergency Pager (414) 314-1037

MCW Office

(414) 955-4347

Directions to M760 (PDF)

(Basement, Medical Education Building)

Froedtert Office

(414) 805-6540

Froedtert Pavilion, L760B

(Located in the MCW Clinical Trials Administrative Area)