Radioactive Substance Disposal

At Rhodes University, some departments use radioactive material, for example, beta-emitting radioisotopes such as C14, H3, P32, P33 and S35; beta/gamma emitters such as Na22, K40, Ca45, I125; Gas Chromatographs; x-ray machines; portable nuclear gauges, etc.  

Note: 'Radioactive waste' is a separate matter, which refers to unwanted by-products of nuclear reactions such as at power-generating plants.

Definition of radioactive material: Any substance, which consists of or contains any radioactive nuclide whether natural or artificial and whose specific activity exceeds 74Bq/g (0.002µCi/g) of chemical elements and which has a total activity greater than 3.7kBq (0.1µCi).

The Hazardous Substances Act, 1973 (Act No. 15 of 1973) provides for the control of Group IV hazardous substances (radioactive material not at nuclear installations or not part of the nuclear fuel cycle. Radioactive waste arising from activities authorized under this Act falls under the regulation of the Department of Health’s Directorate of Radiation Control. In practice, the Department of Health does not regulate naturally occurring radioactive material. • For the purposes of Act 15 of 1973, the Department of Health’s Directorate of Radiation Control acts as the national competent authority in connection with the International Atomic Energy Agency's Regulations for the Safe Transport of Radioactive Material. 

Spent or unwanted radioactive sources must be disposed of safely, in line with the requirements of the National Radioactive Waste Disposal Institute Act (53 of 2008), Occupational Health and Safety Act (85 of 1993) and the Hazardous Substances Act (15 of 1973).

Rhodes University requires all staff and students to adhere to these legal requirements, and use socially and environmentally responsible hazardous waste disposal practices.  

Disposal of Radioactive Material:

  • Ensure that your department has the Authority to possess and use any radioactive material

  • If it is intact equipment, you must ask the company (where you obtained it) to remove it. A company who serviced and maintained the unit can be contacted.

Remember, you should not dismantle it. Discuss the matter with your Radiation Protection Officer.

Note: You must store the removed source safely, and label the package with radiation signage, info regarding the source (details of source and radiation signage is normally available on the metal plating attached to source area, inside the equipment), & serial number).

  • If the above in order, Fill in NECSA form RN 525 requesting approval from Radiation Control, DOH --> send this completed form via e-mail to

Queries regarding radiation source, status of authority, etc (you must provide the serial number):, 021 957 7441 (Yusuf Trichardt).

  • Once approval has been granted by Radiation Control, DOH --> request a quote from NECSA - communicate directly with Senior Admin Officer:

Tel: +27 012 305 6238
Fax: +27 012 305-6236
Cell: +27 83 353 6559
Email: saartjie.debruyn(at)

Rhodes University Radioactive Compliance Officers:

  • Pharmacy Dept: t.b.c.

  • Physics Dept: Dr Shadrack Nsengiyumva, compliance officer, 046 603  8452 / s.nsengiyumva(at)

Return to main Hazmat Waste Disposal page.

More Info

RU Safety, Health & Environmental Officer, 046 603 7205 or safety(at)

Return to Rhodes University's Safety front page. Questions/Suggestions? Contact safety(at)

Last Modified: Sat, 15 Dec 2018 08:48:21 SAST