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Oregon State University

RADIOACTIVE WASTE DISPOSAL

 

Last update 8/11/09


GENERAL PROCEDURES

  • Only containers available from or approved by EH&S shall be used.
  • Each radioactive waste container must have a record of materials in the container which is kept up-to-date.
  • Mark each container with a "Caution--Radioactive Material" label.
  • Package the waste according to the instructions given for each waste type below.
  • Segregate waste according to half-life:
    • less than 91 days = short-lived;
    • greater than 90 days = long-lived.
  • When the container is full, complete a Radioactive Waste Disposal tag. Instructions are on the back of the tag.
  • Attach the tag to the outer container surface.
  • Fill out web request form for disposal. Allow one week for collection of the waste.
  • See Information Bulletin 09-01 for information on radioactive waste disposal fees.

SOLIDS

  • Place dry waste in EH&S-supplied 15 gallon drums, marked "Dry Radioactive Waste Only."
  • Place all solid radioactive waste (filter papers, gloves, bottle caps, empty scintillation vials, etc.) into innermost plastic liner.
  • When full, tape plastic liner shut; do not overfill.
  • Don't put unabsorbed liquid in this container.
  • Do not put contaminated equipment or radioactive powders in dry waste drums; contact EH&S for disposal instructions for these materials.
  • Contain sharps in a separate rigid red plastic container to prevent puncture injuries.

LIQUIDS

I.  Radioactive wastes

  • Must be placed in EH&S-supplied carboys with secure screw tops
  • Must have a "Caution - Radioactive Material" label attached.
  • Keep containers closed during storage
  • Supply secondary containment able to contain the liquid in case of breakage
  • Segregate LSC fluid, aqueous, and other liquids
  • Segregate aqueous waste by half-life

II.  Scintillation vials with counting fluid

  • Must be placed in a container supplied by EH&S
  • Mark container "Scintillation Vials Only"
  • Carefully place UNOPENED vials into inner plastic liner. When full, tape plastic liner shut; do not overfill
  • Dispose bulk liquid scintillation counting fluid by emptying into EH&S-supplied, properly labeled liquid waste jugs and treating as liquid waste
  • Segregate scintillation fluid from other liquid wastes
  • Empty scintillation vials may be washed and reused, or may be disposed as dry waste if they contain NO residual scintillation fluid

ANIMAL CARCASSES

  • Place all biological wastes (animal carcasses or parts, blood, urine, feces, bedding, etc.) inside plastic bags, with the ends sealed
  • Autoclave infectious waste prior to disposal
  • Identify each bag with a "Caution - Radioactive Material" label including radioisotopes, activities, dates, and name of Program Director
  • Store in a freezer authorized for radioactive material until picked up by EH&S. DO NOT place unfrozen carcasses into a disposal drum.
  • Collect 1-2 cubic feet of waste; complete a Radioactive Waste Disposal tag for the entire lot.

MIXED WASTE

Mixed waste is any waste material, other than LSC fluid, that contains radioisotopes and possesses other hazardous properties; i.e. the waste is:

  • Flammable or explosive
  • Toxic
  • Corrosive (pH greater than 12.5 or less than 2)
  • Reactive
  • Persistent (halogenated hydrocarbons and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons with more than three and less than seven rings)
  • Carcinogenic

Contact EH&S before generating ANY mixed waste.

  • Mixed waste must be characterized for isotope as well as hazardous components and concentrations (% by weight or volume)
  • Common examples of mixed waste include
    • solvents containing radioisotopes
    • radio-labeled carcinogens
    • contaminated lead
  • There is a disposal option for liquid scintillation cocktail containing radioisotopes.
  • Contact EH&S PRIOR to generating mixed waste for guidance on
    • minimizing waste generation
    • treatment options
    • classification
    • labeling