The University of Arizona

Packaging Radioactive Waste

Radioactive Material

Radioactive Material Shipping Address:

ATTN: Research Laboratory & Safety Services
1717 E. Speedway Blvd., Ste. 1201
Tucson, AZ 85719

Research Laboratory & Safety Services
University of Arizona
Phoenix Biomedical Campus
475 N. 5th Street
Phoenix, AZ 85004

Research Laboratory & Safety Services

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RAM Waste Pickup Request

Campus Mail:
PO Box 245101

Phone: (520) 626-6850
Fax: 520-626-2583

Mailing Address:
Research Laboratory & Safety Services
PO Box 245101
Tucson, AZ 85724

Street Address:
1717 E. Speedway Blvd, Suite 1201
Tucson, AZ 85719

Packaging of radioactive waste must be done as described below. Every effort should be made to minimize radioactive waste volume. Always take extra care to package waste properly to ensure that spills and the spread of contamination are prevented.

Waste Pickup Request

You can request a waste pickup by completing the online request form. Waste bags and yellow radioactive waste bags can be requested when completing the form.

Radioactive Waste (RAM waste) Segregation Criteria

Separate waste by Radionuclide (if experimentally possible)

  • Short-lived RAM (t½ ≤120 days) separated from long-lived RAM (t½ >120 days).
  • H-3 and C-14 animal carcasses and scintillation vial waste separated from all other radionuclides. 
    • Deregulated Waste: animal carcass or scintillation cocktail with activity <50nCi/g or nCi/ml.
    • Regulated Waste: animal carcass or scintillation cocktail >50nCi/g or nCi/ml.
    • Uranium and thorium separated from each other and from other RAM.

Separate waste by Physical Form

  • Dry waste separated from all other waste forms.
  • Scintillation vials and bulk cocktail separate from each other and all other waste forms.
  • Animal bodies separate from biological waste and dry waste.
  • Aqueous (inorganic) liquids separate from mixed (organic) liquids (if experimentally possible) per online Radioactive Liquid Waste Segregation list.
  • Metals separate from all other RAM waste.
  • Uranium and thorium separated by differing compounds (natural, nitrate, or acetate).

RAM Waste Packaging Acceptance Guidelines

  • Glass containers, thin-walled plastic containers (milk jugs, soda pop bottles and bleach bottles), leaking containers and unpackaged yellow poly bags containing any glass, loose scintillation vials, liquids and/or exposed sharp objects will not be accepted.
  • Waste containers may not weigh more than 50 lbs.
  • Plastic containers must be chemically compatible with liquid waste chemistry and pH to prevent leakage or loss of integrity.
  • Do not process liquid waste as dry waste by use of absorbents.
  • Each container must be tightly secured so that the contents cannot be dispersed (using fiber reinforced or duct tape, tightened screw caps, properly sealed lids, etc.) before pickup. (Various radioactive material ‘caution’ or masking tapes are not acceptable for securing packages.)
  • Each container must be labeled with two (2) Waste Classification Labels (labels should be placed 180o apart or on opposite sides of the container) during collection and a Radioactive Waste Summary prior to requesting a waste pickup.
  • The Radioactive Waste Summary must include all Radioactive Material Receipts (RMR’s) contained in the RAM waste container. Instructions for completing the Radioactive Waste Summary are on the RLSS website.
  • ALL PATHOGENIC or INFECTIOUS MATERIALS must be deactivated prior to pick up (collection by the RLSS), in accordance with the specific authorized protocol.
    • Solid waste contaminated with 35S, 125I or 131I may be difficult to safely deactivate due to radioactive vapor generation, resulting in airborne hazards and/or inadvertent equipment contamination.

Dry Waste

Sharps and Glass

  • Thick-walled plastic containers with screw tops
  • Sharps containers
  • Heavy cardboard boxes lined with yellow poly bag. Exterior surface of the box must be labeled “Sharps” boldly written on two sides in clear view

Non-Sharps Dry Waste

  • Yellow poly bags
  • Heavy cardboard boxes with a poly bag liner

Liquid Waste

This includes inorganic (aqueous) liquids, organic (mixed) liquids, and bulk scintillation cocktails.

  • Sealed plastic pails with pull rings intact. Leave at least 2” free space (air) at top
  • Thick-walled plastic containers with tight-fitting screw tops
  • Cubitainers (plastic bladder in heavy cardboard box)
  • Scintillation cocktail may NOT contain pathogenic materials

Scintillation Vials

For bulk scintillation cocktail, please see Liquid Waste guidelines.

Stored Upright in Tray

  • Multiple trays in a heavy cardboard box lined with a yellow poly bag
  • Yellow poly bag (single trays only)

Stored Out of Tray (Loose)

  • Plastic pails
  • Yellow poly bag lined box if  >25 lbs

Animal Bodies

This includes entire carcasses as well as tissues and organs.

  • Yellow poly bags (double-bagged) if <25 lbs.
  • Yellow poly bags (double-bagged) placed into a heavy cardboard box if >25 lbs

Biological Waste

This includes excreta, body fluids, and tissue and cell cultures.

  • Yellow poly bags (double-bagged) if <25 lbs.
  • Thick-walled plastic container with tight fitting screw top.
  • Sealed plastic pails with pull ring intact.
  • Heavy cardboard boxes lined with yellow plastic bag if >25 lbs.

Radioactive Sealed Source Disposal

Contact Research Laboratory & Safety Services at (520) 626-6850 for assistance with any of radioactive sealed source disposal, recycling, or return to vendor.