Radioactive waste containers may be significant sources of contamination and external dose. Authorized users shall take appropriate steps to ensure that the collection and storage of radioactive waste is done safely and in accordance with all applicable policies and procedures. These guidelines will help reduce the hazards from your radioactive wastes:
- Use the strategies of time, distance, and shielding. Keep rad waste containers close to the radiation work area and away from desks and other frequently occupied areas. Shield waste just as you would shield your stock materials; use high-density shields for gamma emitters and plastic shields for beta emitters. Shield bench top waste collection apparatus.
- Control volatility. Airborne radioactive material may be a problem with radioiodine, sulfur-labeled amino acids, metabolic products in animal experiments, liquid scintillation media, and other wastes. Control volatility in liquid radioiodine wastes by adding a solution of 0.1 M sodium hydroxide, 0.1 M sodium iodide, and 0.1 M sodium thiosulfate. Collect dry wastes with volatile components in tightly sealed plastic bags before putting them into rad waste drums. Keep all containers tightly sealed. If wastes are stored in fume hoods, keep the waste in the rear of the hood, in small containers. Do not freeze sodium iodide, because the evolution of volatile components may increase when it is thawed. Do not store volatile components may increase when it is thawed. Do not store volatile wastes in laminar flow cabinets or biological safety cabinets or any other location where potentially contaminated air is re-circulated into the room. Store liquid scintillation media in a well-ventilated area.
- Control contamination. Protect work surfaces under waste containers. Do not invert lids on dry waste containers. Do not set equipment on top of waste containers. Securely bag dry waste being carried to the dry-waste container. Do not overfill containers. Use a funnel with liquid wastes. Use protective gloves every time containers are handled. Perform routine contamination checks. Use strong leak proof bags for animal carcasses.
- Needles and other sharps contaminated with radioactive material shall be collected in puncture-resistant containers. Needles and needles attached to syringes (even if they are capped) shall not be placed loose in radioactive waste containers. Any recapping or removal should be accomplished through the use of a mechanical device or a one-handed technique.
- Use protective clothing and equipment. Always wear lab coats, gloves, and eye protection when handling radioactive material.
- If you were issued a dosimeter, wear it.
- Report all spills and injuries that occur when handling radwaste.
Radioactive waste may only be disposed of by calling x 56312. No radioactive waste is to be disposed of in the ordinary trash receptacles. No liquid waste may be disposed of in drains or other sewer openings by laboratory personnel.
Radioactive waste tags on the drums shall be completely filled out by the user. Provide the following information when you call:
- Authorized user’s name.
- Caller’s Name.
- Caller’s telephone number.
- Number and size of container.
- Nuclide (s) in each container.
Liquid Waste Disposal
Dry Waste Disposal