Radiation Protection Today - Winter 2022 Issue 4 | Page 23

Radiological Decontamination and Decommissioning of a Life Sciences Facility

Glenn Hardcastle ( top photo ) and Craig Morrissey ( bottom photo ) are both Radiation Protection Advisers and Radioactive Waste Advisers with over 30 years and 20 years ' experience respectively in radiation protection . Glenn is the Managing Director and Craig is a Director of the consulting firm , Aurora .
Introduction The UK pharmaceutical and life science Research and Development ( R & D ) sector has for many years been a major ' small user ' of radioactive material ; usage of the traditional life-sciences radionuclides such as tritium , carbon-14 , phosphorous-32 , phosphorous-33 , sulphur-35 and iodine-125 predominates . The post-COVID economic landscape and other drivers have led to recent major reassessments of established medicine and drug discovery paradigms . This has resulted in rationalisation of the sector , leading to the closure and divestment of some well-established R & D sites . Radiological decontamination and decommissioning of such premises prior to sale is essential to enable the site owner to realise the true value of the site as part of any deal .
This article outlines the generalities of the radiological decontamination and decommissioning strategy adopted by a life sciences organisation prior to the divestment of a number of UK facilities .
Strategy A radiological decontamination and decommissioning strategy for the site needs to be established early in the project , with outcomes and radiological end points agreed with the regulators and other stakeholders . The strategy should be predicated on an assessment of radiological risk derived from available information sources such as records of radiological use and disposal , locations , known incidents , site and building plans , service plans , records of regulatory correspondence and recollections of existing and former employees . The strategy should cover the management of any contaminated wastes arising during the process and , where possible , should define radiological remediation end point clearance level criteria . In-house radiation protection expertise can be used to assess and sift the initial information known to the organisation . However , with the increasing pressures on inhouse personnel to diversify and support other critical functions , this is often not practical within permitted time constraints , so external consultants are used .
Life Sciences facility requiring decommissioning
Direct monitoring of laboratory surfaces
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