Disposal of radioactive waste is regulated by the Law on Radiation Protection (LRaP, ref. 814.50) and its ordinance (ORaP, ref. 814.501).
Each year theFederal Office of Public Health (FOPH, or OFSP in French) organizes, in collaboration with the Paul Scherrer Institute (PSI), a campaign to collect radioactive waste.
A substance is considered as radioactive if its activity is above the limit of 1xLE (Exemption Limit). The ORaP lists the exemption limits for each radionuclide.
If the waste’s activity is below 1xLE, the waste is not radioactive and therefore not subjected to the ORAP; it can be disposed considering its other characteristics (see the table “Management of special wastes at the FSB”).
If the waste’s activity is above 1xLE and the waste’s owner does not have a FOPH authorization, to use and dispose of the substance, the waste must be stored in the laboratory until its activity is below 1xLE. If the radionuclide’s half-life is long (> 12 months), the waste must be stored in the laboratory and disposed at the next FOPH’s campaign.
The owner of a FOPH’s authorization, to use and dispose of a radioactive substance, can dispose up to 100xLE of absolute activity of this substance per month.
At the FSB, management of radioactive waste is the responsibility of the “Expert en Radioprotection”. For each radionuclide, the experts determines if:
|The radioactivity is lower than EL||Waste considered as non-radioactive|
|The radioactive decay allows to reach EL in a reasonable limit of time (usually 1 year)||Waste conserved until it can be considered as non-radioactive|
|If the half-life is too long, or the activity too important||Waste should be handled by the PSI|