Final regulations

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For information concerning Final Regulations, see Information Page.

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Roman type indicates existing text of regulations. Italic type indicates new text. Language which has been stricken indicates

text to be deleted. [Bracketed language] indicates a change from the proposed text of the regulation.


Titles of Regulations: 12 VAC 5-480. Radiation Protection Regulations (repealing 12 VAC 5-480-10 through 12 VAC 5-480-8920).

12 VAC 5-481. Virginia Radiation Protection Regulations (adding 12 VAC 5-481-10 through 12 VAC 5-481-3670).

Statutory Authority: § 32.1-229 of the Code of Virginia.

Effective Date: September 20, 2006.


The Virginia Department of Health has abolished the existing Radiation Protection Regulations (12 VAC 5-480) and promulgated new regulations (12 VAC 5-481) that incorporate federal standards and state legislative requirements including (i) radiation protection standards of the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, (ii) requirements of the federal Mammography Quality Standards Act of 1992, (iii) standards included in the Suggested State Regulations of the Conference Radiation Control Program Directors, (iv) requirements for mammography machines passed by the 2000 Acts of Assembly, and (v) requirements authorizing civil penalties for violation of standards passed by the 1999 Acts of Assembly.

The proposed regulations were modified based on public comments received. The changes include less restrictive requirements for private inspector qualifications, an update of federal citations that have changed since the proposed regulations were drafted, and technical corrections to the X-ray machine performance standards.





12 VAC 5-481-10. Definitions.

As used in these regulations, these terms have the definitions set forth below.

"A1" means the maximum activity of special form radioactive material permitted in a Type A package.

"A2" means the maximum activity of radioactive material, other than special form radioactive material, permitted in a Type A package.

"Absorbed dose" means the energy imparted by ionizing radiation per unit mass of irradiated material. The units of absorbed dose are the gray (Gy) and the rad.

"Absorbed dose rate" means absorbed dose per unit time, for machines with timers, or dose monitor unit per unit time for linear accelerators.

"Accelerator" means any machine capable of accelerating electrons, protons, deuterons, or other charged particles in a vacuum and of discharging the resultant particulate or other radiation into a medium at energies usually in excess of one MeV. For purposes of this definition, "particle accelerator" is an equivalent term.

"Accelerator-produced material" means any material made radioactive by a particle accelerator.

"Accessible surface" means the external surface of the enclosure or housing of the radiation producing machine as provided by the manufacturer. It also means surface of equipment or of an equipment part that can be easily or accidentally touched by persons without the use of a tool.

"Act" means §§ 32.1-227 through 32.1-238 of the Code of Virginia.

"Active maintenance" means any significant activity needed during the period of institutional control to maintain a reasonable assurance that the performance objectives in 12 VAC 5-481-2490 and 12 VAC 5-481-2500 are met. Such active maintenance includes ongoing activities such as the pumping and treatment of water from a disposal unit or one-time measures such as replacement of a disposal unit cover. Active maintenance does not include custodial activities such as repair of fencing, repair or replacement of monitoring equipment, revegetation, minor additions to soil cover, minor repair of disposal unit covers, and general disposal site upkeep such as mowing grass.

"Activity" means the rate of disintegration or transformation or decay of radioactive material. The units of activity are the becquerel (Bq) and the curie (Ci).

"Added filtration" means any filtration that is in addition to the inherent filtration.

"Address of use" means the building or buildings that are identified on the license and where radioactive material may be produced, prepared, received, used, or stored.

"Adult" means an individual 18 or more years of age.

"Agency" means the Radiological Health Program of the Virginia Department of Health.

"Agreement state" means any state with which the Nuclear Regulatory Commission or the Atomic Energy Commission has entered into an effective agreement under subsection 274b of the Atomic Energy Act of 1954, as amended (73 Stat. 689).

"Airborne radioactive material" means any radioactive material dispersed in the air in the form of dusts, fumes, particulates, mists, vapors, or gases.

"Airborne radioactivity area" means a room, enclosure, or area in which airborne radioactive materials exist in concentrations:

1. In excess of the derived air concentrations (DACs) specified in Appendix B to 10 CFR Part 20; or

2. To such a degree that an individual present in the area without respiratory protective equipment could exceed, during the hours an individual is present in a week, an intake of 0.6% of the annual limit on intake (ALI) or 12 DAC-hours.

"Air kerma (K)" means the kinetic energy released in air by ionizing radiation. Kerma is determined as the quotient of De by Dm, where De is the sum of the initial kinetic energies of all the charged ionizing particles liberated by uncharged ionizing particles in air of mass Dm. The SI unit of air kerma is joule per kilogram and the special name for the unit of kerma is the gray (Gy).

"Aluminum equivalent" means the thickness of type 1100 aluminum alloy affording the same attenuation, under specified conditions, as the material in question. The nominal chemical composition of type 100 aluminum is 99.00% minimum aluminum, 0.12% copper.

"Analytical X-ray equipment" means equipment used for X-ray diffraction or fluorescence analysis.

"Analytical X-ray system" means a group of components utilizing x- or gamma-rays to determine the elemental composition or to examine the microstructure of materials.

"Annual limit on intake" (ALI) means the derived limit for the amount of radioactive material taken into the body of an adult worker by inhalation or ingestion in a year. ALI is the smaller value of intake of a given radionuclide in a year by the reference man that would result in a committed effective dose equivalent of 0.05 Sv (5 rem) or a committed dose equivalent of 0.5 Sv (50 rem) to any individual organ or tissue. ALI values for intake by ingestion and by inhalation of selected radionuclides are given in Tables 1 and 2 in Appendix B of 10 CFR 20.

"Annual refresher safety training" means a review conducted or provided by the licensee or registrant for its employees on radiation safety aspects of industrial radiography. The review shall include, as a minimum, any results of internal inspections, new procedures or equipment, new or revised regulations, and accidents or errors that have been observed. The review shall also provide opportunities for employees to ask safety questions.

"Annually" means at intervals not to exceed one year.

"ANSI" means the American National Standards Institute.

"Area of use" means a portion of a physical structure that has been set aside for the purpose of producing, preparing, receiving, using, or storing radioactive material.

"As low as is reasonably achievable" (ALARA) means making every reasonable effort to maintain exposures to radiation as far below the dose limits in these regulations as is practical, consistent with the purpose for which the licensed or registered activity is undertaken, taking into account the state of technology, the economics of improvements in relation to state of technology, the economics of improvements in relation to benefits to the public health and safety, and other societal and socioeconomic considerations, and in relation to utilization of nuclear energy and licensed or registered sources of radiation in the public interest.

"Assembler" means any person engaged in the business of assembling, replacing, or installing one or more components into an X-ray system or subsystem. The term includes the owner of an X-ray system or his or her employee or agent who assembles components into an X-ray system that is subsequently used to provide professional or commercial services.

"Associated equipment" means equipment that is used in conjunction with a radiographic exposure device to make radiographic exposures that drive, guide, or come in contact with the source.

"Attenuation block" means a block or stack, having dimensions 20 centimeters by 20 centimeters by 3.8 centimeters, of type 1100 aluminum alloy or other materials having equivalent attenuation. The nominal chemical composition of type 100 aluminum is 99.00% minimum aluminum, 0.12% copper.

"Authorized user" means a practitioner of the healing arts who is identified as an authorized user on an agency, agreement state, licensing state or the Nuclear Regulatory Commission license that authorizes the medical use of radioactive material.

"Automatic exposure control (AEC)" means a device that automatically controls one or more technique factors in order to obtain at a preselected location(s) a required quantity of radiation (includes devices such as phototimers and ion chambers).

"Background radiation" means radiation from cosmic sources; naturally occurring radioactive materials, that have not been technologically enhanced, including radon, except as a decay product of source or special nuclear material, and including global fallout as it exists in the environment from the testing of nuclear explosive devices, or from past nuclear accidents such as Chernobyl that contribute to background radiation and are not under the control of the licensee or registrant. "Background radiation" does not include sources of radiation from radioactive materials regulated by the agency.

"Barrier" (See "Protective barrier").

"Beam axis" means a line from the source through the centers of the X-ray fields.

"Beam-limiting device" means a device that provides a means to restrict the dimensions of the X-ray field.

"Beam monitoring system" means a system designed and installed in the radiation head to detect and measure the radiation present in the useful beam.

"Beam scattering foil" means a thin piece of material (usually metallic) placed in the beam to scatter a beam of electrons in order to provide a more uniform electron distribution in the useful beam.

"Becquerel" (Bq) means the SI unit of activity. One becquerel is equal to one disintegration or transformation per second (dps or tps).

"Beneficial attribute" means, as used in Part XVI, the radioactivity of the product necessary to the use of the product.

"Beneficial to the product" see "Beneficial attribute."

"Bent beam linear accelerator" means a linear accelerator geometry in which the accelerated electron beam must change direction by passing through a bending magnet.

"Bioassay" means the determination of kinds, quantities or concentrations, and, in some cases, the locations of radioactive material in the human body, whether by direct measurement, in-vivo counting, or by analysis and evaluation of materials excreted or removed from the human body. For purposes of these regulations, "radiobioassay" is an equivalent term.

"Brachytherapy" means a method of radiation therapy in which sealed sources are utilized to deliver a radiation dose at a distance of up to a few centimeters, by surface, intracavitary, or interstitial application.

"Buffer zone" means a portion of the disposal site that is controlled by the licensee and that lies under the disposal units and between the disposal units and the boundary of the site.

"Byproduct material" means:

1. Any radioactive material, except special nuclear material, yielded in or made radioactive by exposure to the radiation incident to the process of producing or utilizing special nuclear material; and

2. The tailings or wastes produced by the extraction or concentration of uranium or thorium from ore processed primarily for its source material content, including discrete surface wastes resulting from uranium or thorium solution extraction processes. Underground ore bodies depleted by these solution extraction operations do not constitute "byproduct material" within this definition.

"C-arm X-ray system" means an X-ray system in which the image receptor and X-ray tube housing assembly are connected by a common mechanical support system in order to maintain a desired spatial relationship. This system is designed to allow a change in the projection of the beam through the patient without a change in the position of the patient.

"Cabinet radiography" means industrial radiography conducted in an enclosure or cabinet so shielded that every location on the exterior meets the dose limits for individual members of the public as specified in 12 VAC 5-481-720.

"Cabinet X-ray system" means an X-ray system with the X-ray tube installed in an enclosure independent of existing architectural structures except the floor on which it may be placed. The cabinet X-ray system is intended to contain at least that portion of a material being irradiated, provide radiation attenuation, and exclude personnel from its interior during generation of radiation. Included are all X-ray systems designed primarily for the inspection of carry-on baggage at airline, railroad, and bus terminals, and in similar facilities. An X-ray tube used within a shielded part of a building, or X-ray equipment that may temporarily or occasionally incorporate portable shielding, is not considered a cabinet X-ray system.

"Calendar quarter" means not less than 12 consecutive weeks nor more than 14 consecutive weeks. The first calendar quarter of each year shall begin in January and subsequent calendar quarters shall be so arranged such that no day is included in more than one calendar quarter and no day in any one year is omitted from inclusion within a calendar quarter. The method observed by the licensee or registrant for determining calendar quarters shall only be changed at the beginning of a year.

"Calibration" means the determination of (i) the response or reading of an instrument relative to a series of known radiation values over the range of the instrument or (ii) the strength of a source of radiation relative to a standard.

"Camera" (See "Radiographic exposure device").

"Carrier" means a person engaged in the transportation of passengers or property by land or water as a common, contract, or private carrier, or by civil aircraft.

"Cephalometric device" means a device intended for the radiographic visualization and measurement of the dimensions of the human head.

"Certifiable cabinet X-ray system" means an existing uncertified X-ray system that has been modified to meet the certification requirements specified in 21 CFR 1020.40.

"Certified cabinet X-ray system" means an X-ray system that has been certified in accordance with 21 CFR 1010.2 as being manufactured and assembled pursuant to the provisions of 21 CFR 1020.40.

"Certified components" means components of X-ray systems that are subject to regulations promulgated under Pub.L. 90-602, the Radiation Control for Health and Safety Act of 1968 of the Food and Drug Administration.

"Certified system" means any X-ray system which has one or more certified component(s).

"Certifying entity" means an independent certifying organization meeting the agency’s requirements for documenting applicant’s training in topics set forth in 12 VAC 5-481-1320 or equivalent state or Nuclear Regulatory Commission regulations.

"CFR" means Code of Federal Regulations.

"Changeable filters" means any filter, exclusive of inherent filtration, that can be removed from the useful beam through any electronic, mechanical, or physical process.

"Chelating agent" means amine polycarboxylic acids, hydroxycarboxylic acids, gluconic acid, and polycarboxylic acids.

"Class" means a classification scheme for inhaled material according to its rate of clearance from the pulmonary region of the lung. Materials are classified as D, W, or Y, which applies to a range of clearance half-times: for Class D, Days, of less than 10 days; for Class W, Weeks, from 10 to 100 days; and for Class Y, Years, of greater than 100 days. For purposes of these regulations, "lung class" and "inhalation class" are equivalent terms.

"Closed transport vehicle" means a transport vehicle equipped with a securely attached exterior enclosure that during normal transportation restricts the access of unauthorized persons to the cargo space containing the radioactive material. The enclosure may be either temporary or permanent but shall limit access from top, sides, and ends. In the case of packaged materials, it may be of the "see-through" type.

"Coefficient of variation (C)" means the ratio of the standard deviation to the mean value of a set of observations. It is estimated using the following equation:


= Standard deviation of the observed values;

= Mean value of observations in sample;

= ith observation in sample;

= Number of observations in sample.

"Collective dose" means the sum of the individual doses received in a given period of time by a specified population from exposure to a specified source of radiation.

"Collimator" means a device used to limit the size, shape, and direction of the primary radiation beam. For industrial radiography it means a radiation shield that is placed on the end of the guide tube or directly onto a radiographic exposure device to restrict the size of the radiation beam when the sealed source is cranked into position to make a radiographic exposure.

"Commencement of construction" means any clearing of land, excavation, or other substantial action that would adversely affect the environment of a land disposal facility. The term does not mean disposal site exploration, necessary roads for disposal site exploration, borings to determine foundation conditions, or other preconstruction monitoring or testing to establish background information related to the suitability of the disposal site or the protection of environmental values.

"Committed dose equivalent" (HT,50) means the dose equivalent to organs or tissues of reference (T) that will be received from an intake of radioactive material by an individual during the 50-year period following the intake.

"Committed effective dose equivalent" (HE, 50) is the sum of the products of the weighting factors (wT) applicable to each of the body organs or tissues that are irradiated and the committed dose equivalent to each of these organs or tissues (HE,50 = Σ  ( wT HT,50)).

"Computed tomography" means the production of a tomogram by the acquisition and computer processing of X-ray transmission data.

"Computed tomography dose index" means the integral from -7T to +7T of the dose profile along a line perpendicular to the tomographic plane divided by the product of the nominal tomographic section thickness and the number of tomograms produced in a single scan, that is:


z = Position along a line perpendicular to the tomographic plane;

D(z) = Dose at position z;

T = Nominal tomographic section thickness;

n = Number of tomograms produced in a single scan.

This definition assumes that the dose profile is centered around z = 0 and that, for a multiple tomogram system, the scan increment between adjacent scans is nT.

"Contact therapy system" means a therapeutic radiation machine with a short target to skin distance (TSD), usually less than five centimeters.

"Contrast scale" means the change in the linear attenuation coefficient per CTN relative to water, that is:


= Linear attenuation coefficient of the material of interest;

= Linear attenuation coefficient of water;

= of the material of interest;

= of water.

"Control cable" means the cable that is connected to the source assembly and used to drive the source to and from the exposure location.

"Control drive mechanism" means a device that enables the source assembly to be moved into and out of the exposure device.

"Control panel" means that part of the X-ray control upon which are mounted the switches, knobs, pushbuttons, and other hardware necessary for manually setting the technique factors.

"Control tube" means a protective sheath for guiding the control cable. The control tube connects the control drive mechanism to the radiographic exposure device.
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