Radioactive Waste Management

EH&S’s Radioactive Waste Management Program oversees radioactive material use and disposal under the requirements set by federal and state rules and regulations, and the UW Radioactive Materials License issued by the State of Washington Department of Health.

EH&S’s Radioactive Waste Management Program provides training, consultation and resources to ensure safe and compliant storage, packaging, labeling, collection, sampling and disposal of radioactive waste.

Radioactive waste generators are required to:

  • Segregate waste streams by radioisotope and physical form.
  • Minimize the volume and activity of radioactive waste.
  • Properly package and label waste.
  • Provide funding for the cost of disposal of radioactive waste. This includes the disposal of radioactive material on a Radiation Use Authorization (RUA) inventory that is no longer being used (legacy radioactive waste).
  • Submit a Radioactive Waste Collection Request online.

These efforts help provide a safe working environment, reduce the volume of waste generated and decrease disposal costs. Current disposal rates can be found here.

Radioactive waste streams

All radioactive waste streams are classified as either short lived (half-life <120 days) or long lived (half-life >120 days).

Radioactive waste handling precaution

  • Maintain lab-specific procedures for waste accumulation and disposal, and train lab personnel.
  • Properly package and label all radioactive waste. Specific packaging instructions are available on Focus Sheets for each waste stream. Use thicker plastic bags and don’t fill the waste bag to its capacity. This will reduce the possibility of spills or other incidents.
  • Keep a log of activity and the date when the waste is deposited into the container.
  • Use smaller bench top waste receptacles to reduce the amount of waste per disposal.
  • Minimize radiation exposure during storage in the lab by using a Lucite shielded container for high-energy beta emitting waste and a lead shielded container for photon (x and gamma ray) emitting waste.
  • Minimize exposure to lab personnel by placing waste containers as far away from personnel as practical.

Services available

EH&S provides the following services:

  • Consultation - EH&S’s Radiation Safety team is happy to talk with you before you generate radioactive waste. We can evaluate the work you will be performing to determine which waste streams you will be producing. We can also provide an estimate of the cost for disposal of those waste streams, and if given enough time we may be able to find different disposal options that can save you money.

  • Submit a Radioactive Waste Collection Request online through the online Radiation Waste Collection Request form.

Frequently asked questions

More Information