Active Samples
09 Nov 2010



Each sample that comes to ISIS must be declared as part of the ERA (Experimental Risk Assessment). When the ERA has been approved by ISIS Safety Staff a summary document is produced in a pdf format.

​ERA PDF Example

Our rules require that this document is displayed when that sample is present on the beamline and kept with the sample afterwards.

An example is shown below.​

ERA PDF Example

ERA PDF Example
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Radioactive samples require special risk assessments and transport arrangements. Uranium and Thorium samples must also be transported in compliance with EURATOM SAFEGUARDS regulations.

The Radiation Hazard section of the sample record sheet gives an estimate of the likely radioactivity of the sample and what length of time is required for this activity to an acceptable level for handling. The sample will be put in one of three categories.


Red samples are expected to have a high level of activity when they are removed from the neutron beamline. They should only be handled in a glove box with Health Physics supervision.


Orange samples are expected to have some level of activity. Solid or liquid samples should be handled in the filtered fume hood whilst wearing gloves. Powder samples should be handled in a glove box.


Green samples are expected to have very little or no activity. They can be handled in the same way as before they went in the beam.

It is important to remember that the ERA document provides only an estimate of induced activity and samples should always be checked with a radiation monitor when they come out of the beam.

Follow the procedure below when you remove a sample attached to a centrestick from the instrument.

1.           Do not touch the sample holder.

2.           Check its activity using a yellow radiation monitor. Keep the sample at arms length and minimise the time you are in contact with it.

3.           If the activity level on the sample is less than 75 µSv per hour (micro-Sieverts) then you may remove it from the stick yourself.

4.           If it is above 75 µSv per hour then ring the Duty Officer on 6789 or Health Physics on 6696 for assistance.

5.           If the sample is spilt, leave the area immediately, call the MCR, warn others and wait for Health Physics assistance.  

If you are unsure how to deal with an active sample then talk to your Local Contact first. If they are unable to help then call Health Physics during working hours and the MCR otherwise.

If you are leaving an active sample at ISIS then please enter the details in the active samples logbook.

If you would like to take an active sample away with you, or if you would like to dispose of it then please contact Health Physics.

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