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Radioactive Waste Management

Radioactive material is unique in the sense that it is not disposed by one of the normal means. Those normal means entail fuels blending, incineration, recycling, and neutralization.

While the Department of Transportation (DOT) classifies Radioactive Material as a Hazard Class 7 (thus, not as dangerous as a Hazard Class 1 Explosive) it obviously must meet certain criteria for shipping across our nation’s roadways for ultimate disposal at federally monitored facilities.

The level of radioactivity is determined by isotope quantity. An indicator of this level is given by a certified Geiger Counter.  Isotope levels determine the personal hazard level of various chemicals.  For instance, Cobalt 60 is used in minimizing the spread of cancer and Plutonium 238 acts as an electrical source of power for pacemakers and spacecraft equipment. There are also the much more sinister uses of these materials. The federal government regulates these types of chemicals and imposes restrictions on all of them.

Radioactive Waste Disposal

isIn many cases, these chemicals are disposed of at a registered and permitted secure radioactive chemical landfill. The transport of such chemicals has to be conducted in a permitted transport vehicle that is itself inspected often for radioactivity.

When we review your chemical inventory for packing, transport, and ultimate disposal, we assess the level at which the radioactive elements have to be handled. We file the appropriate paperwork that enables this waste to be packed and taken away safely and in accordance with all the federal requirements.

Discussing the proper options allowed for a particular radioactive chemical also derives the cost. Of all the hazardous waste streams, this hazard class can be the most expensive disposal cost regardless of quantity, volume, or weight.

The decision to purchase any such element should also incorporate the estimated disposal cost that inevitably comes up at the end of the useable product life. To budget this cost early is critical. Costs vary due to quantity, volume, weight, location of pickup and carrier limitations.

Where we find it

The market for radioactive disposal fluctuates. Some users consistently generate this waste (analytical labs, testing facilities, hospitals) and some users are very infrequent users (schools, demolition companies, veterinary shops).

Radioactive items are found in almost everyday items we see around us such as the older “EXIT” signs located in public facilities, smoke and fire detectors, x-ray machines, even older watches containing radium.

As time passes, equipment with these hazards are being outdated and surpassed by newer technology equipment that is less dangerous to health and environment.

When there is a question regarding the radioactive issue at your facility, contact Maine Labpack, Inc. for more information on how to properly manage this very important waste stream