Nuclear Engineering Reactor core from above

Solid Waste Handling Rules

1.        Solid (dry) radioactive waste (gloves, absorbent material, etc…) shall be stored in plastic lined waste baskets (including cardboard dry waste containers).

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

3.        Radioactive solid 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 (T1/2 £ 120 day) materials together.  In all cases, materials added to a waste container shall be chemically non-reactive with both the container and its contents).

4.        The laboratory shall maintain a list of the isotope(s) 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.

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

6.        Radioactive waste placed in dry waste boxes shall NOT include any liquids, animal tissue, animal excreta, blood products, lead (Pb), or loose sharp objects likely to cause a laceration or puncture wound.  

7.        Radioactive material must not be put into a waste container if there is the possibility of a chemical reaction during storage that may cause a fire, explosion, or the release of radioactive material.

8.        Special care must be taken in storing radioactive waste containing volatile isotopes such as iodine and some forms of Sulfur-35.  It is suggested that these wastes be double bagged and properly sealed.  Charcoal felt may be purchased to assist with the control of iodine volatility.  Please call the Radiation Safety Office (x3372) if you have any questions on this matter.

9.        When the container is full, the waste basket shall be labeled to clearly display the information required in Section A: General Waste Handling, Part 8.  Verify that the label is not obscured from view.

10.    After labeling a full waste container, call the Assistant Radiation Safety Officer (x3373) to arrange a pickup. NOTE: the Radiation Safety Office will not accept possession of any waste containing contaminated glass unless it is stored in a plastic lined rigid container (plastic, cardboard).

11.    Short-lived solid 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).