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Radioactive Waste

Radioactive wastes are to be accumulated in laboratories in waste containers provided by our office.  For collection, waste must be segregated by physical form and if possible, by isotope.

Radioactive Waste Policy



  • Solids, liquids, scintillation vials and carcasses must have their own barrel.
  • Labs using only one isotope or with extra space to accommodate multiple barrels may consolidate waste by using a separate barrel for each isotope and directly adding dry waste to the barrel without separately packaging first.
  • Scintillation vials do not have to be segregated by isotopes.  If you just use scintillation vials for wipe surveys, there are two quick ways to enter the information in the Waste Pickup System, “swipes” or “swipes(H-3,C-14 only). 

Packaging guidelines

  • Labs must get prior written approval to generate liquids with radioisotopes and hazardous chemicals. NOTE: This policy specifically excludes solvent based scintillation cocktail fluid used for scintillation counting.  See Radioactive Waste Policy for complete information.
  • Lead cannot be placed in any barrel with radioactive waste.  Lead pigs can be submitted through the chemical waste program for recycling.   You must perform a wipe test on each to lead pig to ensure they are not contaminated with radioactivity.
  • Sharps in containers area acceptable in dry waste barrels provided that they are placed in some sort of cut/puncture resistant containers.  Sharps include but are not limited to, needles, razor blades, Pasteur pipettes, and broken glass.


  • For standard pickups log on to the Waste Pickup System.
  • For “Hot Barrel” pickups, please call Environmental programs at 919-684-2794, 24 hours in advance.  A “Hot barrel” is any barrel that gives off greater than 2 mR/hr one meter from the unshielded barrel.  We will need to know the isotope, activity, waste type and number of barrels