Nuclear Engineering Reactor core from above

Sharps Waste Handling

1.      All sharps (needles, syringes, razor blades, scalpel blades, microtome blades, microscope slides/covers, pipette tips, Pasteur pipettes, broken glass, or any object likely to cause a laceration or puncture wound) contaminated with radioactive material shall be deposited into a special sharps container.  

2.      Radioactive sharps waste is required to be segregated by isotope (NOTE: The laboratory may combine 3H and 14C into a single container or may combine short half-life (typically T1/2 £ 120d) materials together.  In all cases, materials added to a waste container shall be chemically non-reactive with both the container and its contents).

3.         Each radioactive sharps waste box shall be identified with the magenta and yellow radiation symbol and the words: “RADIOACTIVE WASTE.”  

4.         While in use, each sharps waste container shall be clearly labeled with the information required in Section A: General Waste Handling, Part 7.  Verify this information is not obscured from view.

5.         The laboratory shall maintain a list of the isotope and total activity present within each container.  It is the responsibility of the Authorized User to assure that this list is promptly and accurately maintained.

6.         Short-lived sharps waste may be stored on site for decay until the activity of the waste is indistinguishable from background (the waste measures less than 2x the average background value in a low background area using an appropriate radiation detector).  

  • When the radioactive waste is indistinguishable from background, the Authorized User (or laboratory representative) shall contact the Radiation Safety Office.  The Radiation Safety Office shall analyze the waste to certify that the waste is no longer radioactive.  
  • If the waste is no longer radioactive, it shall be disposed of as per the rules and regulations of the UMass Environmental Health and Safety Office (x2618).

7.         When the sharps radioactive waste container is full, attach a Radioactive Material Tag to the container including the information documented in the General Radioactive Waste Handling section, part 8.  Verify that the label is not obscured from view.

8.      Call the Assistant Radiation Safety Officer (x3373) to arrange a pickup.