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Health & Safety Manual - Environmental Safety

3.5 Radioactive Waste Services
3.5.1 Radioactive Waste Services

  • 3.5.2.1  Animal Carcasses
  • 3.5.2.2  Liquid Waste 
  • 3.5.2.3  Mixed Waste

3.5.3 Radioactive Wastes Stored Pending Disposal
3.5.4 The Disposition of Unused Radionuclides
Other Environmental Programs

3.5 Radioactive Waste Services

The Radioactive Waste program is mirrored after the hazardous waste program.  Please refer to the Radiation Safety manual for specific guidance on safely working with radioactivity in labs. Radioactive Waste services such as radioactive waste pickups and supplies may be requested through an online radioactive waste pickup request form.

3.5.2 Radioactive Waste - Radioactive wastes have a unique set of requirements for collection and storage. The unshielded exposure rate at any surface of the container shall not exceed 2 mR/hr. Please consult the Radiation Safety Program for additional guidance on shielding applications.  All isotopes must be separated by type and isotope, except H-3 and C-14 which may be commingled providing it is the same type of waste (please see below sections for brief descriptions of radioactive waste types).  All activities must be listed per isotope and totaled on the radioactive waste label.  Shared spaces must have separate waste collection containers per PI.  All radioactive waste collection containers must be labeled and closed when not in active use (immediately upon adding waste to container). Short-lived isotope wastes may be stored for decay by the lab or submit a radioactive waste pickup request form. Please consult the radioactive waste brochure for additional information.

3.5.2.1  Animal Carcasses – Animal carcasses including and heavily soiled debris must be stored frozen.  Radioactive animal carcasses must be placed in labeled, sealed, clear bags. Animal carcasses containing 3H &/or 14C < 0.05 μCi/g are exempt and may be disposed of as regulated medical waste. After clearance by RSO, radioactive warning labels must be removed prior to disposal.

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3.5.2.2 Dry Solid Waste – Dry solid waste may contain bench pads, gloves and empty stock vials.  Dry Solid waste may not contain check sources, animal carcasses, liquid scintillation standards, sharps or liquid scintillation vials or any other liquids. This includes even small quantities in test tubes or in company supplied stock bottles. Ninety-six well plates or beta plates must be managed separately from other solid wastes and liquid scintillation vials.

3.5.2.2  Liquid Waste  - Liquid waste including liquid scintillation vials must include on the radioactive waste label all liquid constituents and percentages.  This includes the trade name of any buffer solutions and liquid scintillation cocktails.  Liquid scintillation cocktails chosen by the laboratory should have a flash point >140oF and pH range <2 and >12.  Please note the trade name of the liquid scintillation cocktail in chemical constituents section of the radioactive waste label.

3.5.2.3  Mixed Waste - All mixed waste (chemically hazardous and radioactive containing) must be managed in accordance with all hazardous waste requirements.  A hazardous waste label and radioactive waste label must be completed and affixed to the container upon collecting the first material in the collection container.  Please refer to the Mixed Waste policy for additional information.

3.5.3 Radioactive Wastes Stored Pending Disposal
Wastes stored pending disposal shall be kept in a manner approved by the Radiation Safety Officer. No radioactive waste may be stored in open hallways.

3.5.4 The Disposition of Unused Radionuclides
The disposition of unused radionuclides remaining at the completion of an investigation shall be arranged by agreement with the Radiation Safety Officer.  Please contact the Radiation Safety Officer for additional guidance at CUMC at 212-305-0303 or at Morningside, LDEO and Nevis at 212-854-8749.

Other Environmental Programs
EH&S has partnered with several schools to create uniquely tailored information and training programs specific to safety and waste management.   Please refer to the following school-specific websites for additional information:
College of Dental Medicine
School of the Arts

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