A disused sealed radioactive source is an accident waiting to happen,
if it is not stored securely, conditioned, or disposed of properly. When
a source no longer has a useful purpose, it should be disposed of permanently,
and not stored at the user’s premises. Keeping old sources just
in case (for such uses as back-up to a current source, etc.) is not a
good practice. They can be forgotten, or lost or stolen.
Interim storage may be acceptable: if the facility is secure to prevent loss or theft; the source is properly conditioned so as to improve its shielding and stability; and proper records and periodic physical checks of the sources in interim storage are made. Given the possibility that such a source could be stolen and used for wrong purposes, good security must be assured.
When a source no longer has any use, the responsible regulatory authority should be notified and arrangements made for its management, either by