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University of Pittsburgh
Waste

Recommendations for
Radioactive Materials Waste Containers

For the temporary storage of radioactive waste in the laboratory, we recommend a step-on type container for hands-off use. While plastic is adequate for beta emitters, it is recommended that you purchase metal containers for gamma emitters.

For low energy beta emitters such as H-3, C-14, and S-35, all standard materials will provide adequate shielding of the waste.

For P-32, acrylic is a good shielding material. If purchasing an acrylic waste container or beta-shields for bench top work, a minimum thickness of 3/8 inch is recommended. This thickness will stop all of the beta particles.

For shielding gamma emitters such as I-125 or Cr-51, lead may be used. The exposure rate from a gamma emitter is a function of the energy of the gamma, the total activity of the source, and the distance from the source. The exposure rate from I-125 is 0.07 mR/hr per mCi at 1 meter. Lead with thickness of 1/8 inch will reduce the exposure to 0.4 percent of the original rate. The exposure rate from Cr-51 is 0.016 mR/hr per mCi at 1 meter. Lead with thickness of 1/8 inch will reduce the exposure to 68.6 percent of the original rate.

Our yellow plastic bags are 20" W x 30" H and are 8 mil in thickness. The following containers are acceptable:

  • Rubbermaid model 6142—4.5 gallon capacity, 13.25" DIAM x 15.5" H. Approximately $90. White color.
  • Rubbermaid model 6143—8 gallon capacity, 16.25" W x 15.75"D x 17.13" H. Approximately $ 101. Beige, red, or white color.
  • Rubbermaid model 6144—12 gallon capacity, 16.25" W x 15.75"D x 23.6" H. Approximately $117. Beige, red, or white color.
  • Rubbermaid model 6145—18 gallon capacity, 19.75" W x 16.13"D x 26.13" H. Approximately $124. Beige, red, or white color.
  • Rubbermaid model ST7E—7 gallon capacity, 12" Sq x 17" H. With retainer band for plastic liners. Approximately $140. White or red color.
  • Rubbermaid model ST12E—12 gallon capacity, 12" Sq x 23" H. With retainer band for plastic liners. Approximately $153. White or red color.

All are available from Lab Safety Supply (janitorial equipment, step-on waste receptacles) 1-800-356-0783, or visit LSS.com.

A variety of acrylic beta shield products and lead shielding products are available from Research Products International Corporation. Phone 1-800-323-9814 or visit www.rpicorp.com.