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Radiation Safety


 

Radioactive Waste

There are strict requirements placed on each waste generator by federal, state and local authorities regarding radioactive waste form, packaging and the design and operation of waste storage facilities. The programs and procedures with regard to radioactive waste management have been established to ensure that radioactive wastes generated at the University are stored and disposed of in compliance with all federal, state and local regulations. Section 7 of the Radiation Safety Manual for Laboratory Users provides an overview of the radioactive waste program.


Solid Waste

 

Long-Lived Solid Waste

Example: solid waste contaminated with H-3 or C-14.

Solid wastes containing radioisotopes with half-lives greater than 120 days are collected in white polypropylene pails lined with heavy plastic yellow liners (right).

Prohibitions

  • No liquids (though droplet amounts and damp materials are allowed)
  • No unprotected sharps (put sharps in closed tubes or sharp boxes before placing into the waste pail)
  • No hazardous chemical wastes
  • No animal wastes
  • No sealed sources
  • No lead (such as lead pigs and lead shielding)

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Short-Lived Solid Waste (Decay-in-Storage Waste)

Solid wastes containing radioisotopes with half-lives of <120 days or less are collected in pails within laboratories and then transferred to a campus storage facility, known as the Decay-in-Storage (DIS) Facility. These wastes are held for a minimum of ten half-lives and then surveyed. If no detectable radioactivity is found, the waste is then disposed of as non-radioactive medical waste.

 

DIS Waste with Very Short Half-Lives

Example: P-32

Solid wastes containing radioisotopes with half-lives < 15 days are collected in the lab in gray polypropylene pails lined with heavy plastic yellow liners (right).

Prohibitions

  • No liquids (though droplet amounts and damp materials are allowed)
  • No unprotected sharps (put sharps in closed tubes or sharp boxes before placing into the waste pail)
  • No hazardous chemical wastes
  • No animal wastes
  • No sealed sources
  • No lead (such as lead pigs and lead shielding)

DIS Waste with Moderate Half-Lives

Example: P-33, S-35, I-125

Solid wastes containing radioisotopes with half-lives > 15 days and < 120 days are collected in the lab in blue polypropylene pails lined with heavy plastic yellow liners (right).

Prohibitions

  • No liquids (though droplet amounts and damp materials are allowed)
  • No unprotected sharps (put sharps in closed tubes or sharp boxes before placing into the waste pail)
  • No hazardous chemical wastes
  • No animal wastes
  • No sealed sources
  • No lead (such as lead pigs and lead shielding)

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Contained Source Waste

Contact EHS prior to disposing of contained (sealed or plated) sources. Special procedures and waste packaging may be necessary.

 

 

 

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Liquid Waste

Liquid waste generated on campus may be disposed of through the sanitary sewage system if certain regulatory conditions (N.J.A.C. 7:28-6.1(d)19)are met.

The regulation includes specifications for minimum solubility of the waste material. Any material identified for sink disposal must appear on the list of Radioactive Compounds Approved for Drain Disposal. If a compound does not appear, formal approval must be obtained from EHS prior to disposal.

See Section 7 of the Radiation Safety Manual for Laboratory Users for detailed information on liquid waste disposal.

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Liquid Scintillation Counting Vial Waste

 

All liquid scintillation vials, regardless of radioisotope, are collected in red polypropylene pails lined with heavy plastic yellow liners (right).

Restrictions

  • Do not place any other waste materials (such as gloves, etc.) in the scintillation vial waste pails.
  • LSC solutions must have a flash point of 140°F of greater.

See Section 7 of the Radiation Safety Manual for Laboratory Users for more information.

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Animal Wastes

Contact EHS prior to disposing of radioactive animal carcasses or other animal wastes. Special disposal procedures and waste packaging may be necessary.

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Mixed Wastes

Mixed wastes are radioactive wastes which also contain hazardous waste components
regulated under RCRA (the federal Resource Conservation and Recovery Act) regulations. Currently there are limited options for the disposal of mixed wastes, and the options which do exist are often costly.

In the laboratory setting the type of mixed wastes most likely to be generated include:

  • contaminated lead
  • certain organic solvents such as chloroform, phenol, toluene and xylene.

EHS is available to help determine whether specific wastes meet the definition of mixed wastes. Whenever feasible, contact EHS before generating mixed wastes to allow time to determine disposal options or to establish procedures which may prevent a mixed waste from being generated.

Mixed Waste Tracking Form

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Uranium and Thorium Wastes

All uranium and thorium wastes, regardless of how the materials were purchased, must be disposed of as radioactive wastes. Contact EHS prior to disposing of uranium and thorium contaminated materials to make special disposal arrangements.

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