Waste Technology Section

Source Recovery

Disused Sealed Source Management


To increase the capability of Member States to implement safe and cost effective technologies for the management of disused sealed radioactive sources. The second objective is to assist the member states in recovering, conditioning, safely/securely storing and/or repatriating vulnerable high activity sources.

The responsible officer: Robin HEARD


Radioactive sealed sources have been in use for many decades for medical, industrial, and research applications. These sources are normally installed in devices which are used until; the source strength becomes insufficient for the application, a more advanced technology has been developed, or the owner no longer requires the device for his business activities. When the source is no longer wanted by its owner, it is classified as disused. Once the owner no longer needs the source, it may be in an unprotected state or potentially could be abandoned. Under those conditions, the source could create either safety or security issues which could result in radiological incidents. For risks involved with disused sources, click here for details…

This program originated because of the many cases where sources have been lost or stolen due to the lack of control by source owners. This experience has shown that countries may lose control of their sources in many ways including: mobile sources lost or stolen while in transit; sources abandoned, either deliberately or through lack of awareness; sources stolen, either for the scrap value of the source or its container; and sources lost during political instability and economic hardship. The IAEA provides assistance to help Member States manage their stock of disused/spent sealed sources. For information on IAEA assistance, click here for details…

Major Activities:

This section provides a broad overview of current activities which are on-going within the organization, including radium conditioning, the management of disused sources, capacity building in Member States, and borehole disposal. This section also describes future activities that are either in the planning stage, and finally, the activities that the organization has completed.

For more information, see the pages below:

For management of disused sources, IAEA publications, go to the Management of Disused Sources Publications Page