From: Dave Roberts <droberts**At_Symbol_Here**DEPAUW.EDU>
Subject: Re: [DCHAS-L] disposal of uranium compounds
Date: Wed, 21 Aug 2013 17:42:09 -0400
Reply-To: DCHAS-L <DCHAS-L**At_Symbol_Here**MED.CORNELL.EDU>
Message-ID: 52153431.2040809**At_Symbol_Here**

Radioactive compounds are funny.  While they are a hazardous waste, EPA does not regulate them because they fall under NRC jurisdiction.  With that said, naturally occurring radioactivity such as uranium and thorium compounds are all NRC exempt, until it comes to disposal.  You are not allowed to dispose of radioactive compounds in a normal waste site.  They must be handled by a radioactive disposal company (there are not too many of them, you can google it to find one near you).  It's not cheap, and more than likely you will fall in to the minimum price category (they charge a minimum just to come to your door, and you prob. won't have enough to incur extra charges). 

As a general housekeeping rule if you aren't using it you should try to find a way to get rid of it.  But really, it's a shame to have a brick made out of it, so if you can find somebody who needs it and is willing to take it from you, I always feel that's a good way to go.  The chemicals are probably not degraded or bad (thorium nitrate lasts forever, as does uranyl acetate).  So if you look around at big schools near you, it's possible you'll find somebody who can use the stuff.  If you want to try to sell it, that's your call, I don't know how your University handles that.  I personally would be happy if people would just take the stuff from me.  Disposal is going to run you around $3500 minimum (and that was 8 years ago).  So you decide

Now, to get technical, since EPA doesn't care, NRC's general policy is typically to decay in house.  Of course uranium and thorium compounds will not undergo 10 half lives in your lifetime, so storing it is not against the rules, but is probably not advised.  I have some of these myself (occasionally they turn up - you can't avoid it), and so I store them in a safe location (locked), and accumulate until I get a quantity that I then feel I need to deal with.  Again, I'd look for somebody willing to take them from you - hopefully you can find them. 

Good luck with this


 On 08/21/2013 09:36 AM, Kim Gates wrote:
Our Rad safety officer says:
We've shipped these Uranyl compounds... It's isn't cheap as it's a mixed waste but certainly doable.  Radiac is a good source for this disposal action.  718-963-2233. Ask for Joseph Spektor (extension 205).  

Kim Gates
Laboratory Safety Specialist
Environmental Health & Safety
Stony Brook University
Stony Brook, NY 11794-6200
FAX: 631-632-9683
EH&S Web site:

On Wed, Aug 21, 2013 at 8:46 AM, Strode, Kyle <strode**At_Symbol_Here**> wrote:

In our most recent lab pack shipment of old chemicals as hazardous waste, our disposal company took everything except two 1 lb jars of uranium nitrate and uranium acetate that have been on the shelf since the 1960s.


I'd be grateful for strategies on the proper disposal of these compounds along with companies that specialize in these types of waste. We're hoping to not break the bank.


If it is too expensive to dispose of them, are we in violation of any regulations if we keep them?


Thanks for your help!


Kyle Strode

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