ISO 2919:2012 establishes a classification system for sealed radioactive sources that is based on test performance and specifies general requirements, performance tests, production tests, marking and certification. It provides a set of tests by which manufacturers of sealed radioactive sources can evaluate the safety of their products in use and users of such sources can select types which are suitable for the required application, especially where protection against the release of radioactive material, with consequent exposure to ionizing radiation, is concerned. ISO 2919:2012 can also serve as guidance to regulating authorities.
The tests fall into several groups, including, for example, exposure to abnormally high and low temperatures and a variety of mechanical tests. Each test can be applied in several degrees of severity. The criterion of pass or fail depends on leakage of the contents of the sealed radioactive source.
Although ISO 2919:2012 classifies sealed sources by a variety of tests, it does not imply that a sealed source will maintain its integrity if used continuously at the rated classification. For example, a sealed source tested for 1 h at 600 °C might, or might not, maintain its integrity if used continuously at 600 °C.
A list of the main typical applications of sealed radioactive sources, with a suggested test schedule for each application, is given in Table 3. The tests constitute minimum requirements corresponding to the applications in the broadest sense. Factors to be considered for applications in especially severe conditions are listed in 4.2.
ISO 2919:2012 makes no attempt to classify the design of sources, their method of construction or their calibration in terms of the radiation emitted. Radioactive materials inside a nuclear reactor, including sealed sources and fuel elements, are not covered by ISO 2919:2012.