A Quick Guide to Radioactive Waste
Radioactive material can include any material that is either naturally radioactive or has been contaminated by radioactivity. Once it is of no further use, it becomes radioactive waste. Today we’re going to walk through the types of radioactive waste is and how it can affect your facility as well as the environment.
What is Radioactive Waste?
Radioactive materials can be measured in low, medium, and high levels. There can also be very low-level radioactive waste, but this type of waste is generally of no consequence.
Low-Level Radioactive Waste. This is usually generated by industries, hospitals, and the nuclear fuel cycle. Things like rags, tools, paper, clothing, and other small materials that contain small amounts of short-lived radioactivity.
Most Low-Level Radioactive Waste is suitable for shallow burial, but may require shielding during handling and trasnport. Within LLW, there are 4 classes of materials:
- Class A Radioactive Material
- Class B Radioactive Material
- Class C Radioactive Material
- Greater than Class C (GTCC) Radioactive Material.
High-Level Waste. This is produced by nuclear reactors, though the definition of this type of waste varies from country to country. Deep geological burial, as of right now, is one of the only viable solutions for disposing of this type of waste.
Transuranic Waste. Waste that has a half-life of more than 20 years as well as contamination with alpha emitting transuranic radionuclides with a concentration greatere than 100 nCi/g falls under this category. This includes elements having atomic numbers higher than that of uranium. This type of radioactive waste must be carefully disposed of.
Ongoing Radioactive Waste Disposal Management
There are several different methods used to dispose of radioactive waste, though the methods are still growing and changing with ongoing research and laws. As the nuclear field has changed and grown, laws and methods of handling the materials have changed. Here are a few ways radioactive wastes have been disposed of over time.
- Ocean Disposal. This method was outlawed in 1993 according to international agreements.
- Disposal in Ice Sheets. The Antarctic Treaty System rejected this method as well.
- Disposal into Outer Space. Though allowed and a good option for safe disposal, the current plans are too expensive for effective implementation.
- Deep Geological Disposal. This is the most widely accepted method of disposal for high level radioactive waste in the United States.
Call on Broadview Waste Services for Radioactive Waste Disposal
If you’re looking to partner with a trusted waste removal service, then give Broadview Waste Services a call today. We have over 30 years of experience handling hazardous materials safely, in accordance with the law. If you’d like to take the stress out of your waste management, then you’ve come to the right place.