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Oregon State University

Information Bulletin 02-01


Radioactive Waste Policies and Procedures

April 22, 2002

This bulletin is intended as a reminder of existing radiation safety procedures in the packaging and storage of radioactive waste in OSU laboratories, and to establish additional procedures regarding effective packaging, safe storage, and efficient disposal of radioactive waste. See the quick guide for radioactive waste segregation (Adobe pdf, 80k). Please ensure all personnel working in your lab are aware of and adhere to proper waste packaging procedures.

Mixed Waste

Definition: Mixed waste is a waste (other than liquid scintillation cocktail) that is radioactive AND exhibits one or more of the following hazardous characteristics:

Flammable
Toxic
Corrosive (pH greater than 12.5 or less than 2)
Reactive/Explosive
Persistent (halogenated hydrocarbons and polycyclic hydrocarbonswith more than 3 and less than 7 rings)
Carcinogenic

If you have a question about whether you are generating a mixed waste, call Radiation Safety for more information.
Mixed waste must be characterized in the lab before Radiation Safety picks it up. Percent of the hazardous component by weight or volume must be included on the waste tag. Due to increasing costs for disposal of mixed waste it may be necessary for Radiation Safety to delay pick-up of your mixed waste until there is sufficient volume to keep costs as low as reasonably possible. Do not move the mixed waste from the location it is generated at. Inform Radiation Safety that you have mixed waste to be picked up. The information will be logged into the mixed waste database and the waste will be picked up when there is sufficient volume for economic disposal.

Short-Lived Dry Radioactive Waste

Radiation Safety is now shipping short-lived dry radioactive waste to an outside company for decay in storage. It is imperative that no long-lived dry waste be placed in the short-lived dry container. If present, the container will be refused at the decay-in-storage facility and shipped back to OSU. In addition, the decay-in-storage facility will refuse short-lived dry waste drums that contain lead pigs, sharps and hazardous waste. Any disposal or shipping charges related to improper items in short-lived dry waste will be charged to the offending laboratory.

35S should now be segregated as short-lived. Place 35S waste in the blue containers used for short-lived wastes.

Sharps in Dry Radioactive Waste 

DO NOT PUT UNCONTAINED SHARPS IN DRY RADIOACTIVE WASTE. Sharps include needles, broken glassware, Pasteur pipettes, etc. Collect in hard plastic containers such as nalgene bottles or sharps containers. These containers should be labeled with "Caution Radioactive Materials" tape, sealed when full, and placed on top of the dry radioactive waste barrel when it is ready for pick up by Radiation Safety. There is no extra charge for Sharps disposal, so please segregate them to protect the waste technicians from needle sticks and cuts while processing your waste.