The mission of the Radiation Safety Program at MSU is to ensure a safe environment for individuals working with ionizing radiation and to ensure the protection of the community and environment by limiting exposure to the hazards of ionizing radiation. To accomplish this, the Radiation Safety Program provides technical advice to Principal Investigators on laboratory containment, security, and safety procedures. 

The Radiation Safety Officer (RSO) is responsible for ensuring that individuals working with radioactive materials or radiation producing equipment are monitored for and protected from physical exposures to radiation. There exists specific limits to occupational radiation exposures, and those limits are enforceable by Federal law. The Nuclear Regulatory Commission is the rule-making body that promulgates and enforces the radiation protection regulations in the United States.

MSU has a Broadscope Type A license which allows a variety of radioactive material research to be conducted.  MSU is under the Nuclear Regulatory Committee’s jurisdiction and, as such, is required to maintain compliance with Title 10, Code of Federal Regulations, Part 20 (10 CFR 20) regulations governing radioactive material. If you have any questions concerning radioactive material use at MSU, contact the RSO at (406) 994-7317.

Prior to beginning any radioactive material work, Principle Investigator’s (PI) must submit a protocol which is then reviewed by the Radiation Safety Committee (RSC). The RSC is composed of a variety of PIs across campus. Once approved, PIs must maintain lab safety oversight including correcting any discrepancies. 

All packages containing radioactive material must be checked for contamination within 3 hours of receipt per Department of Transportation Regulations. Therefore, all radioactive materials must be shipped directly to the RSO at the address below:

Montana State University
Radiation Safety Officer
Attn: Authorized PI
1160 Research Drive
Bozeman, MT 59718
international radiation warning symbol - pink on yellow
                                           mailed box of radioactive material labeled "UN 2910"


In the event you receive a package labeled "radioactive," "UN 2910," or with the radiation symbol, do not accept it!

The University is required to monitor exposures to radiation and radioactive material at levels sufficient to demonstrate compliance with the occupational dose limits as specified in Title 10 CFR 20.

At a minimum: 
The RSO is responsible for developing proposed criteria, procedures, and documentation requirements for personnel monitoring. Both extremity and whole body doses are monitored, as well as internal dose, as necessary. The Radiation Safety Committee shall review all such requirements, and must concur before they are implemented.

Only approved laboratories are permitted to have radioactive materials. The general laboratory safety rules when working with radioactive materials include:

  • No Eating, Drinking, Smoking, Chewing, Applying Cosmetics.
  • Wear gloves, closed-toed shoes, safety classes and lab coats.
  • Dosimetry issued must be worn in the appropriate location, e.g. finger.
  • All equipment used for radioactive material work must be labeled appropriately.
  • Appropriate detection equipment must be used during work. 
  • Areas used must be monitored for contamination.
  • Waste must be collected only.  RSO will handle disposal.

It is the University’s policy to minimize all radioactive waste, especially mixed waste (radioactive and hazardous waste combined).  Drain disposal is not permitted for AUs. You must complete a radioactive waste request form once you have waste ready for pick-up.  All radioactive/mixed waste must be collected and placed in an appropriate container as shown below:

Wast Containment Chart
Waste Form Waste Container
Dry Solids

1.5 cubic foot cardboard box

Aqueous Liquids 1, 2, 4, 10, 15, 20 L plastic carboys
Non-aqueous Liquids Shatterproof glass jugs
Vials (empty or full) 1.5 cubic foot cardboard box
Sharps Sharps container labeled "Radioactive"

Note: All Biological Waste must be autoclaved prior to pick-up. The RSO will provide all waste containers except the shatterproof glass jugs for mixed waste.

In the event of an emergency involving radioactive materials please call the appropriate personnel below:

Prioritized Emergency Contact Information
Contact Title Work
Nick Childs Radiation Safety Officer


Patrick Ryan Chemical Safety Officer 994-7803
Ryan Brickman Interim Director, Safety & Risk Management 994-7760
University Police Dispatch 994-2121
Bozeman Fire Department Emergency 911 582-2350
Bozeman Police Department Emergency 911 582-2000

Any personnel desiring to begin radioactive material work must become "Approved Users" (AU), must work under an "Approved" PI, and must complete a Radiation Safety Training course prior to beginning work. The courses consist of basic radiation safety, MSU Rules and Regulations, and hands-on training with instruments and small radioactive sources.