Research Radiation Machines

The term “Radiation Machines” includes, but is not limited to, x-ray fluorescence, x-ray diffraction, cabinet radiography, accelerators, x-ray spectrometers, and medical radiography units used in non-clinical studies.

Other machines may qualify depending on the intended application of the radiation produced.

The Radiation Generating Machines Reference Guide describes the machines program at the University of Arizona and applies to individuals using ionizing radiation producing machines, or “radiation machines”, for research purposes.

Approvals and Registration


Radiation machines at the University of Arizona are possessed and used under a machine approval system. These approvals act as "sub-registrations" under the University of Arizona registration with the Bureau of Radiation Control (BRC). The approval system tracks machine inventory, personnel, training, and requirements for machine use.

To begin the approval process, the potential Approval Holder must complete the  Application for Radiation Machine Approval. An Approval Holder is generally the faculty member who has primary responsibility for radiation machine safety within their research group, but may be other personnel under certain circumstances. When completing the form, the applicant must describe the intended use of their radiation machine(s).

The applicant may be required to attend the Radiation Generating Research Machines Protection Course as a condition of being granted an Approval if their training and experience with ionizing radiation-producing machines is not sufficient.

New Approval Holders are required to meet with a member of Research Laboratory & Safety Services staff for an Approval Holder Orientation (AHO) prior to beginning work with their machines. This orientation is provided to Approval Holders and Approval Safety Coordinators to ensure that all authorizations, restrictions, and administrative requirements are clearly understood. Users and others present in the lab are encouraged to attend.


Users of electronic products that produce x-rays only incidental to operation may be exempted from the requirements outlined in the  Radiation Generating Machines Reference Guide, depending upon the product and/or the results of radiation survey measurements. Such exemptions may include electron microscopes (scanning electron microscopes), ion-implanters, and cathode ray tubes. Please contact Research Laboratory & Safety Services to request an ionizing radiation survey of electronic equipment.

Machine Registration

All operable x-ray generating machines must be registered with Research Laboratory & Safety Services (RLSS) prior to operation. An evaluation of the unit and its use will be made to determine if any operation restrictions or additional safety devices are necessary. An initial radiation survey and safety device check will also be performed.

Disposal, Transfer, or Change of Location

Research Laboratory & Safety Services (RLSS) must be notified before a change in a machine’s location, transfer of ownership, or disposal. RLSS will report these changes to the Bureau of Radiation Control (BRC).

Annual Audits

Radiation machine approvals are audited annually by Research Laboratory & Safety Services to ensure safe use of the radiation machines and regulatory compliance. Areas reviewed during the audit include, but are not limited to:

  • Inventory verification
  • Radiation dosimeter records
  • Availability of radiation dosimeters, if required
  • Machine use log and safety device check records,  certificates for all users
  • Signs and labels
  • Operating and emergency procedures
  • Room and/or machine security
  • Operation of the unit since the previous audit
  • Operators’ awareness of Bureau of Radiation Control (BRC) regulations

A radiation survey of the unit is performed to ensure that applicable dose limits are not exceeded and that all radiation exposure is maintained as low as reasonably achievable (ALARA). Items of non-compliance identified in the approval audit will be communicated to the Approval Holder in an audit memo and, if warranted, in a post-audit meeting. The Approval Holder is responsible for correcting deficiencies in a timely manner.


Only qualified and authorized personnel are permitted to operate a regulated radiation machine. The Approval Holder must determine the operator’s qualifications. Everyone who operates a radiation machine must receive two categories of training - laboratory or system-specific training and radiation machine safety training (Radiation Machines Protection Course). The user must successfully complete all required training and demonstrate safe use of the radiation machine to the Approval Holder’s satisfaction prior to beginning work with the radiation machine.

See Radiation Safety Training for course information and scheduling.




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