The primary responsibility of the University Isotopes Committee (UIC) is to ensure that Penn State complies with regulations established by the United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) and the Pennsylvania Department of Environment Protection Bureau of Radiation Protection (PA DEP BRP) for containing, controlling and transporting radioactive materials. This is best accomplished when all stakeholders performing or overseeing regulated activities establish and maintain a positive safety culture commensurate with the safety and security significance of their activities and the nature and complexity of their organization and function. The expectation to maintain and foster this culture applies to everyone at The Pennsylvania State University.  More information on safety culture is available and should be reviewed on this brochure

Researchers at the College of Medicine and Penn State Health Milton S. Hershey Medical Center should work with the Radiation Safety Program or Health Physics Program.


Submission to the UIC

When Submission is Required

Anyone utilizing radioactive materials must have UIC approval prior to beginning their research. This includes the possession, use, and transfer of all licensed radioactive material on University-controlled property by University personnel or others and by University personnel at non-University Park locations, except for the Hershey Medical Center, which is covered by rules that are administered by committees separate from the University Isotopes.

To request UIC approval download and complete a Request for Authorization to Use Radioactive Material form found on the Environmental Health and Safety (EHS) website. Contact EHS or ORP staff for assistance prior to your initial application. Submit completed applications either as a Word document or in Rich Text Format to from the Principal Investigator’s Penn State Email account. 

When Submission is Not Required

Submission is not required for naturally occurring radioactive materials in their normal concentrations and chemical states or those materials such as smoke detectors, luminous dials, or rare earths. The purchase and use of Exempt radioactive materials such as sealed counting standards does not require UIC submission. However, the UIC may require authorization to possess or use such material if the potential hazard is comparable to licensed material. Environmental Health and Safety (EH&S) should be consulted before acquiring any radioactive material to determine whether an authorization is required.


Registering Radiation-Producing Instruments (X-Rays, etc.)

All radiation-producing instruments (e.g., x-ray machines, electron microscopes) must be registered with Environmental Health and Safety (EHS) per Penn State Policy SY15. State regulations require that Penn State report all radiation-producing units to the Department of Environmental Protection.

In addition to required registration, SY15 addresses the acquisition, installation, operation, control, and disposal of radiation-producing instruments at University Park and the Commonwealth Campuses, and any related equipment transferred in from outside institutions. Anyone utilizing radiation-producing instruments must consult with EHS prior to ordering, installing, or moving these instruments:  

Questions regarding this policy should be directed to To obtain authorization, contact Aaron Wilmot, RSO,

Note: SY15 applies to all campus location except Penn State Health and the College of Medicine.

Breazeale Nuclear Reactor

Operation of the Breazeale Nuclear Reactor does not require UIC approval except as specifically made a part of the reactor's operating license. Radioactive material contained in reactor fuel elements, operating components, or supporting structure is exempted from these regulations and is covered by the reactor's operating license. Other radioactive material produced by the neutrons generated by the nuclear comes under control of the UIC upon removal from the reactor.

Adding Personnel

Personnel additions are not required to be submitted – they are captured by Environmental Health and Safety (EHS) at the time of initial training (required prior to anyone beginning work with radioactive materials) and other personnel changes are captured by EHS during annually-required retraining summaries.  Other amendments should be submitted using the Request for Authorization to Use Radioactive Material form and checking “Amendment to current authorization” in response to question 4.


When applying for a grant, if any isotopes/procedures in the new grant are not covered in the existing approved Authorization, submit an amendment using the Request for Authorization to Use Radioactive Material form and checking “Amendment to current authorization” in response to question 4.