Radiation protection - radioactive waste - Kunnskapsbasen
Radiation protection - radioactive waste
These guidelines apply to all units that produce radioactive waste after using open radioactive sources, and all units that permanently remove sealed radioactive sources from use. The purpose is to ensure that radioactive waste is handled in accordance with the regulations. The guidelines do not apply to radioactive discharges to air or sewage systems.
Norsk versjon - Strålevern - radioaktivt avfall
- Radioactive waste
- Allocation of responsibility
- Reduce the amount of radioactive waste
- General information about handling radioactive waste
- Use of protective equipment when handling radioactive waste
- Sorting radioactive waste
- Waste containing radionuclides with a short half-life
- Solid radioactive waste
- Liquid radioactive waste
- Scintillation counting fluid
- Sharps and contaminated disposable equipment
- Glass waste contaminated by radioactive substances
- Radioactive waste that must be sent to a disposal facility
- Packaging and labelling radioactive waste
- Storage of radioactive waste
- Declaration and shipment of radioactive waste and scintillation counting fluid
- Radioactive emissions
- NTNU regulations
- Legislation - in Norwegian
Radioactive waste from activities at NTNU must be handled and disposed of in a way that is safe for humans and the environment.
Use the glossary if you are not sure what a term means.
Allocation of responsibility
The line manager has the overarching responsibility for proper radiation protection at the unit. The line manager must take care of the duties described in Radiation protection – responsibilities and tasks.
The line manager must also ensure that radioactive waste is handled in a way that does not cause danger to humans, animals or the environment. This includes making sure that the unit has a suitable storage facility for radioactive waste.
The person with specialist responsibility must take care of the duties described in Radiation protection – responsibilities and tasks.
The person with specialist responsibility must also take care of:
- Specifying the waste handling procedures in effect and training in these procedures for everyone involved.
- Procedures for transport of radioactive waste from the laboratory to the waste storage facility. Such transport must only be done by users of radiation sources or the person with specialist responsibility.
Users of radiation sources
Each user of radiation sources must perform the tasks described in Work with radiation sources. Users of radiation sources that produce radioactive waste must also:
- Clarify waste disposal before use of radioactive sources begins
- Ensure disposal of radioactive waste at least once a year
- Package the waste safely
- Label the waste
- Deliver the waste to the waste storage area for radioactive waste (for example, DU4-174 in Realfagbygget in Trondheim)
- Check that the radioactive waste is properly packaged and satisfactorily labelled
- Ensure disposal of waste that has been kept in storage and is no longer radioactive waste
- Fill in the declaration for the waste
- Make arrangements with the recipient of the waste
- Contact the carrier of the waste
- Take part in preparing the transport documentation
- Record all data about handling of radioactive waste in a separate journal. Each department must have its own journal.
Local radiation protection coordinator
The local radiation protection coordinator must take care of the tasks described in Radiation protection – responsibilities and tasks.
The local radiation protection coordinator must also:
- Ensure that the declaration form for radioactive waste is completed and that the waste is disposed of correctly. This must be done in cooperation with the disposer of hazardous and chemical waste and the users who produce radioactive waste.
- Make sure that the storage facility for radioactive waste fulfils the requirements under Storage of radioactive waste.
Central radiation protection coordinator
The central radiation protection coordinator must take care of the tasks described in Radiation protection – responsibilities and tasks.
The central radiation protection coordinator must also:
- Contact local radiation protection coordinators on about 1 October every year to ask about the need to dispose of radioactive waste and ensure contact between local radiation protection coordinators who are to dispose of this waste.
Person responsible for the room
The person responsible for the room in which radioactive waste is stored must:
- Open the storage facility for users who want to deposit radioactive waste
- Have overall supervision of the waste storage facility
Reduce the amount of radioactive waste
- Use techniques that do not use ionizing radiation sources wherever possible in practice.
- Check whether other relevant units at NTNU have equipment for non-radioactive techniques available.
- Use isotopes with the lowest possible radiological toxicity and/or a short half-life. For example, P-32 can be replaced with P-33.
- Plan experiments so that there will be as little waste as possible.
- Be careful when handling waste. This will reduce the risk of contamination.
- Store waste with a short half-life (less than about 40 days) until the waste can be handled further as hazardous waste, as long as this takes place within one year. See the limit values in Annex I (a) of the Regulations on the application of the Pollution Control Act to radioactive pollution and radioactive waste (forskrift om radioaktiv forurensing og avfall). An English translation is available at https://dsa.no/en/legislation.
General information about handling radioactive waste
Radioactive waste must be handled in accordance with chapter 16 of the Regulations on recycling and handling of waste (avfallsforskriften, in Norwegian) and the Regulations on radioactive pollution and waste (in Norwegian).
All handling of radioactive waste must be carried out in a way that avoids or minimizes exposure of personnel and avoids contamination of areas or equipment with radioactive material. How waste is to be handled depends on:
- Whether radioactive waste must or does not need to be sent to a disposal facility
- Type of radiation (alpha, beta, or gamma radiation; see table 2 in HMSRV3503)
- Open or sealed source
Waste with specific activity above the limit values in the Regulations on radioactive pollution and waste Annex I (a), but below the limit values in Annex I (b), must be declared as radioactive waste (see Table 1 in HMSRV3503). If waste contains more than one radionuclide, the summation rule specified in Annex I (b) of the Regulations must be used to define the requirement for disposal.
The radioactive waste must be delivered at least once a year (Section 16-7 of the Waste Regulations).
Flammable, non-radioactive substances and materials must not be placed in containers for radioactive waste.
Radioactive waste that will be disposed of as hazardous waste after deactivation must not contain:
- substances hazardous to health (toxic substances, lead, or similar)
- other hazardous waste
- sharp non-contaminated objects (e.g., needles, razor blades)
Use of protective equipment when handling radioactive waste
The following protective equipment/equipment must be used when handling radioactive waste:
- When handling all radioactive waste:
- Laboratory coat
- When handling waste that contains open radioactive sources:
- Use of safety goggles and respiratory protection must be considered
- When handling waste that emits gamma radiation:
- Dosimeter (measuring instrument that measures dose uptake, µSv/t)
- For Cd-109/I-125/I-129: Lead apron / lead vest
- Must NOT be used with other gamma sources (higher gamma energy) because this will lead to a false sense of security
- Other lead shielding if needed (see Table 2 in the attachment HMSRV3503)
- In waste storage rooms for waste that emits gamma radiation:
- For dose rates above 7.5 µSv/t the following should be considered:
- Use of personal dosimeters
- Logbook where all time spent in the area and the estimated radiation dose is entered
- For dose rates above 7.5 µSv/t the following should be considered:
Sorting radioactive waste
Radioactive waste is sorted based on
- Half-life and specific activity
- Type of radiation (alpha, beta, or gamma)
- The form that the waste is in
Beta and gamma emitters have different shielding requirements and in principle they must always have separate waste receptacles. If beta emitters and gamma emitters are used in the same experiment and thus occur together in waste, they can be stored together, provided that the container has shielding adapted to the gamma emitters in the waste. In some cases (usually when the waste contains P-32), a Plexiglas container with lead shielding on the outside may be needed.
Waste containing radionuclides with a short half-life
Waste with a short half-life that will fall below the limit value for specific activity in the Regulations on radioactive pollution and waste, Annex I (a), within 1 year, must be stored until the specific activity is below the limit value. NTNU has been granted permission to store I-125 for up to 2 years if the activity has fallen below the limit value by that time. See more information about packaging and labelling of radioactive waste for intermediate storage.
When the waste has fallen below the specified limit value, the labelling must be removed, and the waste must be handled as non-radioactive.
For contaminated equipment (empty tubes, gloves, paper, etc.) in waste containers, you can calculate the average specific activity in the container. To calculate how long the waste should be stored, you divide the total activity of the radionuclide in the waste container by the net weight of the waste in the container (the weight of the container itself must not be included in the calculation). Non-radioactive waste must not be mixed in.
Solutions and samples with higher specific activity must be collected in separate containers.
If there is not enough information about the total activity to make it possible to do the calculation, the waste must be handled as radioactive waste even after storage.
Solid radioactive waste
Solid radioactive waste includes powder, paper, gloves, clothes, contaminated laboratory equipment, contaminated overshoes, etc.
- Solid waste must be placed in separate containers with lids.
- The containers must never be filled to the point where the lid can no longer be properly closed.
- Radioactive pathological waste must be labelled and stored safely in a freezer that is marked for this purpose. Both the waste container and the freezer must be marked with the symbol for radioactivity/ionizing radiation.
- Solid and liquid radioactive waste must not be mixed. Scintillation counting fluid must be disposed of separately.
Liquid radioactive waste
Liquid radioactive waste includes the radioactive material as well as the fluid after any first cleaning of equipment / containers.
Liquid waste must be collected in dedicated containers that can withstand the various solvents and radioactivity. The containers must be placed in an outer tub large enough to hold the contents of the containers in case of an accident.
Solutions containing a mixture of radioactive material and hazardous/toxic substances or scintillation fluids require different handling – see below.
Excrement from laboratory animals can be disposed of in the sewage system without regard to activity boundaries.
It is not permissible to dilute radioactive waste so that it falls below the values specified in the Regulations on radioactive pollution and waste, Annex I.
Scintillation counting fluid
Scintillation counting fluid waste can be disposed of as hazardous waste (not radioactive waste) if the specific activity is less than the values specified in the Regulations on radioactive pollution and waste, Annex I (a) (in Norwegian). The scintillation fluid must be collected in separate containers for hazardous waste. NOTE: Leave enough space in the box for the lid to fit on tightly.
When the box is full, calculate how many litres of scintillation fluid, how many Bq (dpm:60), and how many Bq/g the box contains. Write this down in the journal for recording waste and on the box. When the boxes are placed in the waste storage room, each box must be marked with the following information:
- Scintillation fluid
- number of litres
- number of Bq
- number of Bq/g (1 ml counting fluid = approximately 1g)
- name of the Department
- name of contact person
Boxes containing scintillation counting fluid must be stored for a maximum of 90 days before they are shipped for disposal of the waste.
Sharps and contaminated disposable equipment
Sharps and disposable equipment used in work with radioactive material must be disposed of in separate, shielded containers. It is important that the waste is properly packed to avoid cuts and injuries during handling of the containers. The shielding must be chosen based on the type of radiation.
When the container is full, it must be packed in a box labelled as hazardous waste and handled as solid radioactive waste.
Glass waste contaminated by radioactive substances
Glass waste contaminated with radioactive substances above the exemption limits must be treated as solid radioactive waste.
Waste glass contaminated by radioactive substances within the limits for exemption in the Regulations on radioactive pollution and radioactive waste, Annex I (a) (in Norwegian), must be collected in a separate hazardous waste box and handled as sharps waste.
If it is impossible to calculate the specific activity, contaminated glass waste must be treated as radioactive waste.
Radioactive waste that must be sent to a disposal facility
The table in the administrative regulation on radioactive contamination and waste, Annex I (b), indicates limit values for total activity (Bq) per year and for specific activity (Bq/g) for each nuclide. The waste must be sent to a disposal facility if BOTH these limits are reached or exceeded.
NTNU as an organization can be expected to exceed the limit values for total activity (Bq) per year. It is therefore specific activity in the individual unit of waste (box/drum/other) that determines whether the waste must be sent to a deposit facility, or whether it can be delivered as radioactive waste.
The weight of the waste itself must be used as the basis for calculating specific activity, not the weight of the packaging.
Packaging and labelling radioactive waste
Packaging for radioactive waste must be clean, strong and leakproof as well as suitable for transport and storage of the waste.
All the boxes/containers with radioactive waste must be clearly labelled with:
- the symbol for radioactivity/ionizing radiation
- the department
- the name of the user who has produced the waste
- the date
- the type of radionuclide
- the estimated activity
For intermediate storage of radioactive waste, the packaging must also be labelled with:
- The specific activity for each radionuclide
- If applicable, the date on which the specific activity will be below the limit for radioactive waste in the Regulations on radioactive pollution and waste, Annex I (a)
- Any other hazardous waste (for example, scintillation fluid)
If the radiation dose level anywhere outside the boxes/containers containing the waste exceeds 7.5 µSv/h, they must also be shielded.
If waste is stored until the specific activity is below the limit in the Regulations on radioactive pollution and waste, Annex I (a) (in Norwegian), the labelling must be removed before the waste is disposed of.
Storage of radioactive waste
Radioactive waste must generally be disposed of at least once a year (Section 16-7 in the waste regulations). NTNU has been granted an exemption from the annual disposal obligation for up to 2 years for Iodine-125 waste. Sealed sources that have been permanently removed from use should not be stored on NTNU property for more than 1 year.
Radioactive waste must be temporarily stored in dedicated facilities/locations with strict access control.
- Storage space for scintillation fluids must be well ventilated.
- Biological waste/pathological waste must be stored in a freezer
In the storage room, there must be a list of people with access to the storage room and a list of the radioactive waste, including nuclides, level of activity and estimated date for when the waste will be below the activity limit for radioactive waste.
The storage facility must be marked with warning signs for ionizing radiation in accordance with the Workplace Regulations (arbeidsplassforskriften), Chapter 5. Also display a room card with safety information.
Outside the storage facility, in areas to which only employees have access, the radiation level must not exceed 7.5 μSv/h.
Outside the storage facility, in areas to which the public has access, it must not be possible for individuals to be exposed to more than 0.25 mSv per year.
Deactivated radioactive waste must be disposed of as hazardous waste. All radioactivity symbols must be removed from all radioactive waste when it has been deactivated.
Declaration and shipment of radioactive waste and scintillation counting fluid
The waste must be declared through Avfallsdeklarering.no. See the attachment HMSRV3503 for information about the declaration, handling, classification and shipment of all types of radioactive waste and scintillation counting fluid.
Norsk Gjenvinning (waste management company) can transport radioactive waste but cannot provide intermediate storage for this type of waste. The person disposing of the waste must contact the recipient before the waste is sent, to ensure that Norsk Gjenvinning can deliver the waste. See the attachment HMSRV3503.
Sealed radioactive sources
For disposal, sealed radioactive sources must usually be returned to the distributor. Contact the distributor to arrange receipt. If the distributor is unknown, the Institute for Energy Technology at Kjeller can be contacted. See the attachment HMSRV3503 for a more detailed description.
Radioactive emissions to the air or sewage systems require specific permission from the Norwegian Radiation and Nuclear Safety Authority. Emission of small amounts of radioactive substances is not permitted if this can be avoided. Dilution and pouring out small amounts of radioactive substances in sinks must not occur. Contact your local or central radiation protection coordinator for more information.
Radioactive wastethat must be sent to a disposal facility: Radioactive waste with activity greater or equal to the values specified in the Regulations on radioactive pollution and waste, Annex I (b) (in Norwegian).
dpm: disintegrations per minute. To calculate Bq, divide dpm by 60. A becquerel (Bq) is equivalent to one disintegration per second (dps). When you use a scintillation counter, the activity is often shown in counts per minute (cpm). To calculate Bq, the count must be adjusted for the counting efficiency. Check the counter against a known source to determine the counting efficiency.
Hazardous waste: Waste that may cause harm to animals, people or the environment if it is not safely handled. Must be sent to approved disposal facilities.
Radioactive waste: Discarded objects, solutions or substances that are regarded as waste under Section 27 first subsection of the Pollution Control Act (in Norwegian) and which consist of or are contaminated by a radioactive substance with specific activity greater than or equal to values in the Regulations on radioactive pollution and radioactive waste, Annex I (a) (in Norwegian).
Biohazardous waste: Biological waste that poses a threat to the health of living organisms; sharp wastes such as needles or pointed items, infectious substances, drug residues, etc.
Specific activity: Bq/g.
Open radioactive sources: Radioactive substances that are not sealed in a capsule.
Sealed radioactive sources: Radioactive substances that are sealed in a capsule to prevent escape or release of the radioactive material to the environment.
- THe Norwegian Radiation Protection Authority - DSA
- Guidelines for use of open radioactive sources in laboratories (pdf) (in Norwegian) - DSA
- Risk assessment
- Radiation protection – responsibility and task delegation
- Hazardous, infectious and radioactive waste
- Radiation protection – X-ray equipment
- Radiation protection – radioactive sources
- Radiation protection – lasers
- Attachment HMSRV3503 - Disposal of radioactive waste
Legislation - in Norwegian
- Section 27 of the Act Concerning Protection Against Pollution and Concerning Waste (Pollution Control Act) / Lov om vern mot forurensinger og om avfall (forurensningsloven)
- Regulations on recycling and handling of waste, Chapter 16 / Forskrift om gjenvinning og behandling av avfall (avfallsforskriften)
- Regulations relating to radiation protection and use of radiation / Forskrift om strålevern og bruk av stråling (strålevernforskriften)
- Regulations on the application of the Pollution Control Act to radioactive pollution and radioactive waste / Forskrift om forurensingslovens anvendelse på radioaktiv forurensing og avfall
- Local radiation protection coordinator
- Ann Kristin Sjaastad, central radiation protection coordinator
- Arve Johansen, HSE Adviser (setting up a user account in avfallsdeklarering.no)
- Institute for Energy Technology, Kjeller (arranges receipt of waste that must be sent to a disposal facility)
- Norsk Gjenvinning AS through Jørn Viggo Lofstad, email: email@example.com ,tel. +47 97 05 88 74 (transport of radioactive waste)
- Safety adviser (regulations on transport of radioactive waste)
|Type of document||Guidelines|
|Managed by||HSE Section|
|Approved by||Head of HSE Section|
|Next review||November 2021|
|Exempt from public access||No|
|Reference||Strålevernforskriften (Radiation Protection Regulations), Forskrift om radioaktiv forurensning og avfall (Regulations for Radioactive Pollution and Waste), Avfallsforskriften (Waste Regulations)|
|Reference internal documents||HMSR35, Radiation protection - responsibility and task delegation, HSE guidelines - radiation protection|
|These guidelines are subject to||HSE policy|