3 Things You Must Know About Radioactive Waste
Falling under the general category of hazardous waste, radioactive waste can be very dangerous if not disposed of or handled properly. Let’s learn a bit more about this type of waste material to get a better idea of just how important it is to have safe disposal techniques in place.
#1: What is Radioactive Waste?
Radioactive waste, also referred to as nuclear waste, is a byproduct of nuclear power generation. Other related processes that can produce this waste are those that involve nuclear fission, or utilize nuclear technology to conduct medical and scientific research. Exposure to radioactive wastes causes radiation sickness which can cause either minor or severe health complications depending on the amount absorbed by the body and the length of exposure.
#2: What Are the Different Types of Radioactive Waste?
There are three primary classifications of radioactive waste:
- Low-Level: makes up the majority of radioactive waste that exists around the world today, used by hospitals, dental offices, and nuclear reactor facilities on a daily basis.
- Intermediate-Level: requires protective shielding during handling and storing, includes metal fuel cladding, ion-exchange resins, and chemical sludges.
- High-Level: spent nuclear fuel that remains in a high state of radioactivity after being used by nuclear reactors, must cool off in pools of water hundreds of feet deep for many years before proper disposal practices can be carried out
#3: How is Radioactive Waste Disposed of Safely?
This hazardous waste is regulated by government agencies because of how dangerous it is to most life forms on Earth. Because radioactivity decays naturally over time, safe disposal procedures are centered around isolating the waste and keeping it in confinement until it is confirmed as no longer posing a threat to living things. Radioactive waste management solutions currently practice the following for the different types of this waste:
- Low-Level Waste: Above-ground partitioning and storage of waste
- Intermediate-Level Waste: Near-surface underground burial of waste
- High-Level Waste: Deep underground burial, transmutation, or partitioning of waste
The Chernobyl disaster that occurred in 1986 is getting widespread attention due to the recently released documentaries and television series’ on this majorly destructive and catastrophic historical event. Did you know that Chernobyl and its 18-mile exclusion zone still contain radioactive waste? The molten remains of reactor Number 4, which is housed inside what was once a fully functioning nuclear power plant, still house a decent-sized mass of extremely radioactive waste material. Fortunately, the Ukranian government is working on a decommissioning plan that incorporates safe waste management activities for this highly dangerous and radioactive material.
Your Resource for Radioactive Waste Removal in Maryland
Broadview Waste Services is here for all of your waste removal needs and services Maryland and surrounding states with safe and healthy regulated waste solutions. Contact us today for a free estimate or to take advantage of our 24/7 emergency services.