Radioactive Waste


The RSO will pick-up and properly dispose of radioactive waste produced on campus. During the normal course of experimentation, low levels of radioactive materials may necessarily be released to the sanitary sewer. The bulk of radioactive waste material, however, should be collected for later pick-up. Instructions as to proper collection and storage of radioactive waste before pick-up are given below. If a special pickup is required, please fill out our Radioactive Waste Pickup Form.

Separate by Isotope and Type:

  1. Separate solid from liquid.
  2. Separate aqueous liquid from organic solvent samples.
  3. Separate by isotope.
    1. 14C and 3H may be stored together.
    2. Isotopes with half-lives of 30 days or less may be stored together (32P, 51Cr, 86Rb, etc.).
    3. Other isotopes must be individually stored.

Scintillation Fluid: It is required that biodegradable, aqueous type fluors are used to count samples on liquid scintillation counters.

  1. Pour used scintillation fluid from vials into collection container (i.e., gallon jug).
  2. Rinse vials with water and dispose in the regular trash.

Waste Containers:

  1. All containers for waste must be labeled with the radioactive sticker provided by the RSO. When the container is ready for disposal, the date and amount of isotope contained must be added.
  2. All containers must remain closed except when adding waste.
  3. Solid waste containers:
    1. Must be hard-sided, such as a cardboard box.
    2. Must be lined with a plastic bag.
    3. Must have a closeable lid.
  4. Liquid waste containers: Do not use any container that did not originally contain liquid.
    1. Quart size or larger only.
    2. Do not fill completely full. Leave at least 1" headspace for small jars and 3" headspace for larger jars.
    3. Must have lid that seals securely. Be sure jar is designed to hold liquids


  1. Radioactive waste is picked upon the first Thursday following your source package delivery. Pick-ups are every Thursday until your inventory is zero. Contact the RSO at 2-5856 if special arrangements need to be made.
  2. When the original source container is to be disposed, be sure to return the Radioisotope Receipt and Disposal Log to the RSO.
  3. Waste which is not properly packaged and labeled will not be picked up.
  4. If your waste is also considered hazardous as defined in the Good Laboratory Safety Practices Manual, call the Department of Environmental Health and Safety at 2-5856 to request a hazardous waste pick-up.