Department of Health

Disposal of radioactive material and X-ray equipment

Key messages

  • Different types of radiation sources require different disposal methods.
  • Disposal includes selling or giving away a radiation source.
  • Your management licence requires you to notify the department when you dispose of certain types of radiation sources.

All management licences issued by the department, permitting the disposal of radioactive material, include a condition that requires a management licence holder to meet the requirements in the document Disposal of radioactive material. The management licence holder must comply with every condition of their licence.

Definition of 'disposal'

Disposal includes:

  1. relocation of radiation source to a destination outside Victoria;
  2. relinquishing possession of a radiation source through sale of the radiation source or giving away of the radiation source or any other means..

The requirements do not apply to the disposal of bodily wastes to sewer by a person who, as part of diagnostic or therapeutic medical procedure, has previously had an administration or implantation of radioactive material.

What methods are available for the disposal of radioactive material?

The available methods of disposal of radioactive material are:

  • the 'delay and decay' method (for short-lived unsealed radionuclides)
  • disposal via export (for long-lived sealed sources)
  • disposal to sewer (for short-lived unsealed radionuclides)
  • disposal by release to air (for short-lived radionuclides)
  • via transfer of ownership (for any radioactive material)
  • via relocation outside Victoria (for any radioactive material)

View detailed information on each option for the disposal of radioactive of material, including the responsibilities of the management licence holder. You have an obligation to notify the department for the approval to dispose of the radioactive source. Remember it is a condition of your licence to comply with these requirements.

Disposal to landfill

No radioactive material is allowed to be disposed of to landfill unless you have written approval from the department.

If you wish to dispose radioactive material to landfill, you must contact the department in writing with details of the proposed disposal. If accepted, the department will approve the proposed disposal in writing.

Disposal of X-ray equipment

The easiest option to dispose of X-ray equipment is to return it to the manufacture or supplier. If this is not possible, there are several components of the X-ray equipment to consider before you dispose of it:

  • X-ray tube oil may contain polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs). A determination regarding the presence of PCB in the X-ray tube oil must be made prior to disposal. The disposal of oil becomes a regulated activity if the concentration of PCB is above a certain level Some X-ray tubes made before 1979 contain PCBs in cooling oil.
  • Transformers in some X-ray equipment may contain PCB dielectric oil. You must determine if the transformer contains PCB prior to disposal. The disposal of PCB dielectric oil is regulated if the concentration of PCB is above a certain level.
  • Housings are generally made of lead or cast steel with a lead lining. A scrap-metal dealer may recycle the housing. A prescribed waste determination of the lead contained in the housing must be performed if disposal of the housing is the preferred option.
  • X-ray tubes with beryllium windows require a prescribed waste determination before disposal.
  • Removing the head from the unit and cutting the electric cord.
  • Destroying vital components in the X-ray generator.

Laboratories are able to determine the presence of PCBs in oil. Search the National Association of Testing Authorities for accredited laboratories.

Equipment capable of producing ionising radiation must be rendered inoperable before disposal. The equipment is inoperable when it is not practicable for a person to restore the unit to a condition capable of producing radiation.

Radiation signs such as trefoils must also be removed or obscured before disposal.

The X-ray tube is under vacuum, and someone could be injured if the tube is punctured or broken. Many X-ray units can be disposed of at a local or municipal landfill. Contact the landfill to verify if they will accept the x-ray unit.

It is a condition of your management licence to notify the department of the disposal of an X-ray unit.

 

Disposal notification forms

The management licence holder must notify the department in writing when disposing of radioactive material.

You must apply to the department for the approval to dispose the radioactive material by completing the relevant application form. You can dispose of the radioactive material after you have received approval in writing from the department.

Complete the relevant online application form and submit it to the department within:

  • 24 hours of the disposal of high consequence sealed sources as defined by the Radiation Act 2005, and
  • 14 days for other types of sealed sources, sealed source apparatus or other types of radioactive material.

Carefully read and understand your responsibilities, including which application form to complete and what action is required from you when disposing of radioactive material.

Note that the department does not require notification for the disposal of unsealed radionuclides or radiopharmaceuticals, due to the short-lived nature of these forms of radioactive material.

Application to dispose radioactive material

Disposal application form - Management Licence holder who is authorised to possess a sealed source or a sealed source apparatus

Disposal application form - Management Licence holder who is authorised as a source disposal facilitator

Disposal application form - Management Licence holder who is transferring ownership of a sealed source or a sealed source apparatus

Disposal application form - Management Licence holder who is relocating Security Category 1,2 or 3 sealed source or a Security Category 1,2 or 3 sealed source apparatus interstate

Disposal Facilitation Service Providers (disposal via export)

Some companies are licenced by the department to dispose of sealed sources and of sealed source apparatus by export to facilities located in other countries. If you wish to dispose of a sealed source or of a sealed source apparatus by export using a service provider, then you must:

  1. Contact a service provider who is licenced in Victoria to provide this service.
  2. Apply to the department for approval to dispose.
  3. Provide the sealed source to the service provider after you have received approval in writing from the department to dispose the sealed source or sealed source apparatus.

Reviewed 15 November 2021

Health.vic

Contact details

Our phone service is available Monday to Friday, from 9.00am to 1.00pm or we can be contacted via email. 

Radiation Safety Department of Health GPO Box 4057, Melbourne, VIC 3000

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