Utah Radiation Control

The Division of Waste Management and Radiation Control

The Division of Waste Management and Radiation Control (DWMRC) assures the citizens of Utah the lowest exposure to any form of radiation.

The Radioactive Materials and Low Level Waste Sections operate under an agreement with the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) to license and inspect users of regulated, radioactive materials. NRC reviews Utah’s radioactive materials and low-level waste programs periodically. The next review is scheduled for 2002. The Division also operates a program that tracks and periodically inspects x-ray machines in the State.

Licensed Facilities Within the State

Approximately 220 licensees operate in the state under the following categories:

  • Nuclear Medicine
  • Industrial (Radiography, Well Logging, Moisture Density Gauges, Flowmeters)
  • Academic (Research Applications)
  • Waste Disposal (Land Disposal or Decay in Storage)

Registered and Inspected X-ray Machines

Approximately 2,500 facilities throughout Utah have registered X-ray units, from dentist offices to hospitals. DWMRC’s focus is to register and inspect every X-ray machine used in the state.

The X-ray program contracts with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to provide services for mammography machine inspection. Two DWMRC staff are certified to conduct FDA mammography inspections. DWMRC also contracts with the Utah Department of Health to provide inspection services of machines used for Medicaid patients.

Low-level Radioactive Waste Facilities in Utah

Two facilities are licensed by DWMRC to handle low-level radiation waste: Envirocare of Utah and RadWaste of Utah.

Envirocare operates a commercial radioactive waste disposal facility 80 miles west of Salt Lake City in western Tooele County. It receives NORM waste (naturally occurring radioactive materials), Class A low-level, radioactive mixed waste (both radioactive and hazardous), and uranium/thorium mill tailings from throughout the United States.

RadWaste stores very low radioactive wastes, mostly short-lived medical wastes, in containers until they have decayed to a non-radioactive state.

Utah Radon Program

The Indoor Radon program, through a grant from EPA, provides information to Utah residents regarding the risks from radon. High radon areas within the state are identified and mapped. Homeowners and schools participate in testing, educational materials are distribution, and workshops on radon testing and mitigation are hosted. Data compiled by the DWMRC to date indicates that approximately 15 percent of homes tested in Utah exceed the EPA standards.

Other Issues

DWMRC deals with other issues involving radiation, including non-ionizing radiation, electromagnetic fields (EMF) produced by power lines or consumer products, lasers used commercially or for entertainment, and sun tanning booths (infrared).

The Division also works with facilities that have portal monitor alarms or other required monitoring to identify radioactive materials.