Uranium & Thorium Use

The federal and state governments consider that certain uranium- and thorium-containing compounds, such as uranyl acetate and thorium nitrate, represent less of a radiation hazard to users than many other radioactive materials.  As a result, these uranium and thorium compounds are regulated differently than most radioactive materials used at the University.  Regulations allow you to purchase these compounds directly from the vendor without a radioactive materials license.  However, the regulations also require educational institutions to limit their entire campuswide inventory to no more than 3.3 pounds of uranium and thorium.  This means that you must be sure to notify EHS about your orders and inventory of uranium and thorium.

Planning to Use Uranium or Thorium

Consult with the Radiation Safety Officer (RSO) before ordering or using uranium or thorium, even if you only plan to use very small amounts or concentrations.  The RSO must include your uranium and thorium materials in the overall University inventory and will work with you to determine disposal needs.  Additionally, the RSO may arrange for EHS to conduct quarterly contamination surveys in your lab space.


If you plan to work with uranium or thorium compounds, complete the online Radiation Safety Training for Uranium and Thorium Users. Go to the Employee Learning Center and log in.  Click on Training by Department  > Environmental Health & Safety. On the Environmental Health & Safety tab, click on Radiation Safety and find the listing for Radiation Safety Training for Uranium and Thorium Users


You may be required to dispose of your uranium and thorium wastes as radioactive waste, depending on the amounts you use.  EHS will work with you to determine the appropriate way to get rid of your waste.



Colt Greer
Assistant Director and RSO

Chelsea McDonnell
Health and Safety Technician