For more than 50 years radioactive sources are used beneficially world-wide in medicine, industry, research and teaching. In the early 50ies mainly Ra-226 sources were used especially for medical applications. In the mean time a great number of radio-nuclides with more or less risk to individuals, society and environment are used. The number of these sources is increasing. The available experience with the application of sealed sources in industry, medicine, research and teaching shows that despite the widespread use of such sources a high level of safety can be achieved. One precondition is that the regulatory control of a radioactive source has to be carried out consistently during the life cycle of the sources – “from cradle to grave”. Particular attention has to be given to the so-called orphan sources which are not subject to regulatory control, either because they have never been under control, or because they have been lost, misplaced, abandoned, stolen or transferred without proper authorisation. The concern about orphan sources arising from poor safety and security standards of radioactive material around the world resulted in intensive global actions especially in the light of the security situation after the 11 th September 2001. The improvement of regulatory control is one of the key elements in preventing people, goods and environment from being exposed exceptionally by the misuse of radioactive sources. Important steps toward the improvement of the safety and security of high radioactive sources are the IAEA Code of Conduct on the Safety and Security of Radioactive Sources and the European Directive on the Control of High Activity Sealed Radioactive Sources and Orphan Sources.