Campus Safety

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Appendix No. 8

Safe Practices for the Storage and Disposal of Radioactive Materials

Revision 0 (8/2003)

  1. PURPOSE
    1. This procedure describes the proper methodology for the safe storage and disposal of radioactive materials.
  1. PRECAUTIONS AND LIMITATIONS
    1. This procedure applies to isotopes with a half-life < 120 days.
    2. Radioactive waste includes vials of isotopes past usable date.
  1. INSTRUCTIONS FOR DRY ACTIVE WASTE
    1. When waste containers in the active use area are full, move the contents to the storage area in VLCS, Room 1146.
    2. Vials of isotopes in the refrigerator that are empty or past the usable date or combined with the appropriate waste (i.e. separated by isotope and reference date) and put in the storage area. Be sure that each zip-lock back is clearly marked with the isotope and reference date.
    3. When the vial of an isotope has been moved to storage, take the corresponding "Radioactivity Usage Sheet" from the clipboard on the wall, and place it in the white record keeping notebook under usage log sheets. Be sure to record any remaining liquid in the vial on the usage sheet.
    4. Consult the appropriate half-life table and fill in the date on which the isotope will be 10 half-lives decayed. Record the date the vial was placed into storage.
    5. When the 10 half-lives decayed date is reached, survey the waste up close (at the surface) with the survey meter set on the most sensitive scale and with no interposed shielding. Determine that radioactivity cannot be distinguished from background.
    6. If activity is detected, note your name, the activity level and date on the bottom of the "Radioactivity Usage Sheet" and return the waste to storage.
    7. If the activity cannot be distinguished from background, remove or obliterate all radiation labels and dispose of the waste in the regular trash.
    8. Record the background dose rate (meter reading against the table) and dose rate measured at the surface of the waste on the "Radioactivity Usage Sheet".
    9. Sign and date the form and move it to the disposed usage sheet section of the notebook. A record of each disposal must be maintained for 3 years.
  1. INSTRUCTIONS FOR LIQUID WASTE
    1. Store liquid waste for 10 half-lives.
    2. Confirm by survey meter that activity is at background levels.
    3. Count 10 l, and confirm that counts are < 20 DPM.
    4. Pour down sink in VLCS, Room 1146, followed by a water rinse.