Safety, Health and Wellbeing

Radioactive waste disposal procedures

Our role is to develop and assist in the implementation of the UWA safety, health and wellbeing programs in order to minimise the risk of injury, illness and property damage.

We provide consultancy and other services to promote best practice and legislative compliance in all University and related activities.

Further information

Pay careful attention to the following instructions for the disposal of radioactive waste, both liquid and solid.

Liquid radioactive waste

  • Liquid radioactive waste is best disposed of via the sewer system. Such waste may only be disposed of via flushing sinks connected to approved radioactive drains provided for this purpose.
  • Ensure that the activity per flush is below the dilution concentration limit for each radionuclide.
  • Organic solvents are not to be disposed of via flushing sinks.

Solid radioactive waste

  • Solid waste must be sealed in a red plastic bag and placed in a cardboard radioactive waste box.
  • Waste must be segregated by radionuclide and waste type unless otherwise permitted. For example, the following waste should be packaged in separate boxes
    • radionuclide
    • animal carcasses (will be stored frozen and incinerated)
    • syringes in a sharps container (will be incinerated)
    • scintillation cocktail contained in counting tubes (may be incinerated)
  • All sharps (needles and broken glass) must be enclosed in a hard container (metal tin or plastic sharps container) before being placed into waste boxes.
  • An estimate of the total activity of each radionuclide must be written in the details section of each box. Only units of activity (Bq, Ci and their derivatives) are acceptable.
  • Do not use counts per second or Bq per mL.
  • Current WA government regulations limit the activity of radionuclides in a waste box for landfill burial. The box limits for long lived radionuclides are outlined in the following table.
Radionuclide Box Limit
MBq m Ci
3H 48 1300
14C 3.4 92
36Cl 2.2 59
22Na 0.63 17
  • Boxes should be sealed with 50 mm wide masking tape such that the box label is not obscured.
  • Do not use Caution – Radioactive tape on waste boxes.

Ensure all wastes are labelled clearly and correctly.