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Radioactive Waste Segregation and Minimization

In a continuing effort to minimize the volume of radioactive waste disposed in licensed land disposal facilities, the RPD has implemented various waste minimization and segregation programs. In order for these programs to be successful it is necessary that all authorized Permit Holders and lab personnel implement them to the fullest extent possible.

  1. Radioisotope Segregation

    Radioisotope segregation is achieved in 2 steps:

    1. Segregate long-lived radioisotopes (>90 day half-life) from short-lived radioisotopes (<90 day half-life). See Table I
    2. Segregate all short half-life beta emitters from all short half-life gamma emitters.
    3. It is important to have long half-life and short half-life radioactive waste containers located in separate areas within a lab to prevent mixing of long and short half- life radioactive wastes.

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  1. Waste Form Segregation(see table IV)

    Solids and liquids make up the majority of radioactive wastes generated in research conducted by lab personnel. Other waste forms are scintillation vials, stock vials, sharps and animal wastes. These wastes must be collected in separate radioactive waste containers. This will ensure efficient management of the waste and maximize the amount of waste that is disposed of as short half-life and eventually non-radioactive waste.

  2. Mixed Waste Minimization and Segregation

    In general "Mixed Wastes" are defined as any wastes that contain a radioactive material in combination with an EPA and/or MPCA regulated hazardous chemical waste. Minimization of mixed waste can be achieved by modifying lab processes, improving operations, or using substitute material. Do not combine "Mixed Waste" with any other radioactive waste. More than any other type of waste generated in labs, mixed waste presents special handling and disposal problems for lab and Environmental Health and Safety personnel. In today's complex regulatory environment, mixed waste disposal options are expensive and in some cases, there are no current disposal options. For these reasons it is crucial that all employees and students working with mixed wastes are properly trained and educated in the proper management of this waste.

Note: All hazardous chemical waste is required to be properly manifested in accordance with the U of M Hazardous Waste Guide Book. See example below.

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