Radioactive Waste Requirements


  • Label all containers holding radwaste with a "Radioactive Hazardous Materials" (HML-R) label.  Do not use a regular “Hazardous Material” label (HML) for radioactive waste.
  • List all radionuclides on the HML-R that are in the waste container, regardless of half-life.
  • Consider all activity in the radwaste as a part of the radioactive material inventory until it is physically removed by EHS personnel. 
  • Secure and control radwaste in accordance with the Control and Security of Radioactive Materials. 
  • Segregate radwaste by radionuclide when possible.  Do not mix radionuclides in radwaste unless previously approved. 
  • Segregate radwaste according to physical form. Do not put liquids, animal carcasses, or animal tissues into solid radwaste; solids into liquid radwaste; or stock containers with scintillation vials. 
  • Do not include hazardous materials with radwaste unless it is absolutely required by the use. If hazardous materials must be included, contact EHS to review minimizing the volume of mixed waste. 
  • Arrange for pickup of the radwaste within 6 months of the accumulation start date for each container. 
  • Clean contaminated containers, plates or other materials by first rinsing them at least two times and collecting the rinsate as liquid radwaste. Contact the assigned HP to review any specific cleaning questions.
  • Dispose of any materials used with and around radioactive materials as normal trash only after surveying to show that it is not contaminated with radioactive material and after removing or obliterating any radioactive material labeling. 
  • Do not add additional radwaste to any container after a pickup request form has been completed for that container.    
  • Dispose of all radwaste only through EHS waste pickup. Some specific short-lived radionuclides may be handled by specific procedures established as a special condition for an authorization. Contact the assigned HP to review any disposal questions. 
  • Always use appropriate shielding when necessary.

Procedures to submit a Pick Up Request may be found on Transferring and Disposing of RAM. For additional information on waste types, see Hazardous Materials. Additional requirements for filling out HMLs can be found on Chemical Labeling.



  • Collect dry solid radwaste in fiber drums or other sturdy container lined with a poly bag. 
  • Do not place free liquids or containers with greater than microliter quantities of liquid in your dry solid radwaste containers. 
  • Puncture hazards must be collected separately either in appropriate sharps containers or in puncture resistant containers such as a cardboard box or plastic jug (glass, glass pipettes, etc.) to protect EHS staff.  These containers shall be securely closed and then may be placed in the dry solid radwaste containers. 
  • Keep solid radwaste separated from all lead containers or lead items, and other dry solid hazardous materials contaminated with radioactive materials. 



  • Store liquid radioactive waste containers in secondary containment. 
  • The RSS supplies gallon plastic bottles for collection of liquid radwaste.
  • Secondary containment shall be supplied by the AU and be of sufficient size to contain the volume of the primary container should it fail and therefore prevent a spill.
  • Keep liquid radwaste containers closed when not in use. 
  • Keep the pH greater than 5.5 and less than 9.5 if possible.
  • Do not dispose of any liquid radwaste down sinks.



  • Scintillation vials may be collected as radioactive waste in the flats the vial came in.  They may also be collected in fiber drums lined with a poly bag, but ensure that the vial caps are tightly secured on each vial. 
  • Use biodegradable or environmentally friendly liquid scintillation cocktails. 
  • Dispose as radwaste all scintillation vials used with radioactive materials or used to do contamination surveys.
  • "Radioactive Hazardous Materials" labels for scintillation vials with NO activity should indicate “SWIPES”, do not indicate any radionuclide.  



  • Collect small animal carcasses or animal tissues containing radioactive materials in poly bags and keep frozen.
  • If there is a potential for disposing of larger animal carcasses, contact the assigned HP prior to any use to evaluate and schedule a timely pickup, storage and disposal. 



Contact the assigned HP to establish specific procedures for handling animal wastes as radioactive wastes



  • If the stock vial is NOT EMPTY, place it in a “pig” for shielding and keep it separately for pickup. 
  • If the stock vial is empty, it can be placed in solid radwaste.
  • Empty plastic screw-top containers can be placed in the solid radioactive waste as long as the top is unscrewed from the bottom.
  • Plastic covered lead “pigs” or lead shielding can NEVER be placed in solid radioactive waste.  These items will be picked up separately for recycling and/or disposal.


Page last updated on August 23, 2023.