Canadian Nuclear Laboratories, our current disposal site for radioactive waste, has implemented new disposal guidelines and pricing policy.
One aspect of the new guidelines is the removal from the waste stream of all radioisotopes that can readily and easily be decayed.
Furthermore, we are also observing the new CNSC regulations regarding disposal, in order to eliminate at the source all waste that falls below set criteria.
We now have a unique waste management tracking system (myLab) in place to help us achieve our goals.
What is myLab?
myLab is a web application which was created to virtually manage the use of radioisotope and the disposal of waste. myLab assigns a unique ID to vials, tracks the usage while calculating decay, and enables the disposal through the proper waste containers. Before discarding a container, myLab provides the information which is required on the container before submitting for disposal. For more information on myLab, follow this LINK.
How delay and decay works
The processing steps are simple. Using the information on the label, HWM calculates the date when the waste will no longer be considered radioactive, depending on the type of isotope, the quantity disposed in mCi and the weight of the box.
For the time being, we have targeted the following four (4) radioisotopes for decay:
Phosphorus 32, Phosphorus 33, Sulfur 35, Iodine 125
Investigators using these isotopes must follow the following simple guidelines:
- Isotopes cannot be mixed. One box = One isotope.
We need to calculate the date when the waste will be below scheduled quantity and/or no longer radioactive. We can only do this for one isotope at a time.
- Solid waste and liquid waste cannot be mixed.
Different guidelines apply based on the physical property of the waste.
- Remove radioactive and hazardous material markings and labels on regular waste.
All waste which can be eliminated as regular waste will be compacted and sent to landfill. You must ensure that radioactive markings from tape, labels, vials and other material has been removed before placing materials inside a container.
- Remove lead pigs & isotope protective casings.
Do not include lead pigs or isotope casings that hold isotope vials. Not only can the lead be recycled, but the presence of the pigs could skew our results when surveying the waste as the isotope is shielded from our survey instrument.
- As always, labels must be completely and legibly filled out.
Users must record the isotope, activity and date information from myLab when a container is deemed full.
- Compliance to these guidelines is mandatory.
Users who do not observe these guidelines will be subject to penalties.