How to Properly Dispose of Radioactive Waste

Radioactive waste can be hazardous for the surroundings, so it needs to be discarded and disposed of properly. Radioactive waste can be found in a solid state, liquid state, or gaseous state. The Environmental Health and Safety Department has issued guidelines regarding the disposal of radioactive waste. These guidelines have clearly stated that every state of radioactive materials and equipment no longer required has a different disposal procedure.

How to Dispose of Radioactive Waste?

Solid State:

Solid radioactive waste is defined as anything solid that has contacted or can come in contact with radioactive material. Radioactive waste, regardless of its state, will be collected by the Environmental Health and Safety personnel. Meanwhile, you must obtain a waste container with a four mil polyethylene liner from the radiation safety officer and pour the waste into it. Make sure to take the guidance of a radioactive safety officer before mixing the isotopes.

Once the container is filled, you will have to fill an RSM-4 form and get two photocopies of the same. Attach one of them to the container and the other one for personal records.

Liquid State:

Liquid radioactive waste is defined as anything liquid that is mixed or can be mixed with radioactive material. Liquid radioactive waste has organic solvents that are considered hazardous waste. Therefore, they need to be disposed of promptly and properly. However, radioactive waste is solely aqueous without any involvement of organic solvents; you can flush it down the toilet with a copious amount of water, given the waste is dispersible.

On the other hand, if liquid radioactive waste involves organic solvents, you need to be extra careful. Take a 1-gallon-glass container and pour all liquid waste into it, ensuring there is plenty of room to initiate the thermal expansion procedure. Fill a form, get two photocopies, and attach one to the container. Email the form to the radiation safety officer will guide you from there.

Gaseous State:

The gaseous state of radioactive waste is defined as any gaseous produce, such as aerosol, dust, or mist, that can be mixed with radioactive material. You can release them into the air after the approval of the radioactive safety officer. Certain areas and release limits have been specified; meet the criteria and dispose of the gaseous radioactive waste properly.

Once you have released it, you have to fill a form and email it to the radioactive safety officer within five days. Maintain your records and leave the rest to them.

Final Word

Disposing of radioactive waste is essential to preserve the environment. Since it is a complicated process, you need to coordinate with the radioactive safety officer and follow the guidelines.