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Report No. 088 - Radiation Alarms and Access Controls Systems (1986)

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In facilities where radioactive materials are handled, or where radiation-producing equipment is used, the building, the equipment, and the associated safety procedures should be designed and developed together to provide a safe work environment. The specific combination of requirements for a given facility is defined by the operational radiation safety program. The specific elements to consider when establishing a new facility are outlined in NCRP Report No. 59, "Operational Radiation Safety Program" (NCRP, 1978a). Two of the elements of an operational radiation safety program are radiation alarm and access control systems. (In NCRP Report No. 59, Section 4, these are referred to as warning and security systems.) The purpose of this report is to provide a more detailed discussion of radiation alarm and access control systems than could be provided in NCRP Report No. 59. It should be emphasized that this report describes a range of alarm and access control systems that can and do provide an acceptable level of safety at many types of facilities. Depending on circumstances, the solutions offered here may not be appropriate for certain facilities because they are too restrictive, not restrictive enough, or do not cover all circumstances. Thus, this document is offered as a starting point providing ideas that professional health physicists can adapt to meet the needs of a particular situation. Under no circumstances should this report be interpreted in "cookbook" fashion, with literal adherence to every recommendation demanded, nor should it be expected to provide adequate protection in every case without consideration of local conditions. It is also worth noting that the weakest link in any system of personnel protection is not the hardware but the people themselves. The single leading cause of accidents is the failure of personnel to follow established procedures. Thus, the simplification of procedures, regular training, and replacement of administrative control with hardware that does not unduly impede the normal operation of the facility will go a long way toward reducing the potential for accidents.
Scientific Committee:
David S. Myers, Chairman

Duane C. Hall
Ronald L. Kathren
Lawrence H. Lanzl
Gary T. Warren
Martin L. Rozenfeld, Consultant
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