Radioactive waste

Carefully monitored and tracked containers of radioisotopes with short half-lives are stored in our vault to decay down to safe levels


Liquid and solid waste

Liquid radioactive waste must be disposed of in a 4L plastic container provided by HWM.  At the bottom of each container, a solidifying agent will gelify the waste to prevent spillage.  Hazardous Waste Management will either decay the waste below the Exemption Quantity (EQ) for regular waste disposal, or send it to CNL in Chalk River for long term decay.

Solid radioactive waste normally consists of materials used in the lab for the preparation or handling of radioisotopes (glass pipettes, latex gloves, paper towels). This type of contaminated material should be disposed of in the white cardboard box.  The boxes (complete with bags & labels) have been designed to the exact same exterior dimensions as the 5 Gallon (20L) steel pails to fit in your Plexiglas shielding container.  For those who prefer, the 5 Gallon (20L) steel pails are still available.  In either case, only dry materials should be placed in these containers, with the complete information recorded on all labels.  Hazardous Waste Management will dispose of the waste the same way as liquid radioactive waste.

A smaller 1L container is also available for small volumes of liquid and solid waste.  If at all possible, we also recommend using them for high level radioactive waste in order to minimize the space requirement for delay and decay.


Liquid scintillation vials

Liquid scintillation vials must be disposed using the same 5 Gallon (20L) steel pails normally used for some solid waste.

Using a felt-tipped marker, simply write "LSV" on the container lid. There is no need to empty each vial, but only LSVs and their contents should be placed in this container, as they will be processed separately.  

Click to enlarge the 'approved cocktail selection flowchart'

We recommend lining your pails with a plastic bag. In either case, it is very important to correctly and completely fill out the appropriate label.  LSV are to be tracked in myLab, but do not require a container number.

Lead pigs

Lead pigs come in various formats, usually with an outer plastic box.
The lead pigs that contain isotope vials are recyclable.

In most instances, in buildings with a hazardous waste room, you will find a box labelled for lead pig recycling. If not, simply place your lead pigs in a small labelled box and submit it with your waste materials.

Some things you should know before dropping off your lead pigs

  • They must be tested for contamination. A copy of the results is mandatory. Simply attach it to the container you used for disposal.
  • Plastic pigs (made entirely from plastic) are not recyclable and may be presented as garbage. However, they must be free of contamination and radioactive markings.
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