Radioactive waste must be properly prepared to ensure that all regulatory requirements are met. Waste not properly identified and prepared cannot be picked up for disposal. Radioactive waste tags are supplied with the waste containers. Radioactive waste is considered licensed material and remains subject to the same regulatory requirements as the original radioactive material. Maintain secure storage of radioactive waste at all times. If possible, store waste in the area where it is generated.
Sewering of liquid radioactive waste is prohibited unless specifically authorized by EHS.
Some general guidelines for radioactive waste handling and disposal are outlined below.
- Segregate different waste types into separate containers. Segregate waste containing short-lived from long-lived radioisotopes.
- Keep volumes of liquid waste small.
- Store liquid waste containers in a secondary container capable of containing the entire volume should the primary one break.
- Avoid accumulating radioactive waste containers – arrange for timely radioactive waste pick-ups by EHS.
- Ensure that lids and caps of radioactive waste containers are securely in place at all times when the container is not in use.
- When necessary, shield radioactive waste stored in frequently occupied areas in accordance with the ALARA requirements. ALARA objectives should be <0.5 mR/hour for any lab areas where personnel are routinely present.
- Be aware that dangerous chemical reactions can occur between mixtures of liquid wastes. Personnel should not mix waste if they are unsure of the result – contact EHS for information before proceeding.
- Keep a record of each radionuclide and its activity that is consigned to waste. Record keeping is a requirement of authorization and will facilitate the user’s quick and accurate completion of the waste tag.
- Radioactive waste containing infectious material must be treated to render it non-infectious prior to pick-up by EHS.
For specific information on properly packaging and preparing radioactive waste for collection, refer to EHS’s “Waste Management Guidelines and Procedures” manual. This manual and EHS’s “Radioactive Waste Pickup Request and Shipping Paper" are available at the EHS website.