IAEA defines 6 types of nuclear wastes

Nuclear waste is going nowhere slowly  03 OCT 2014 ANSIE VICENTESARAH WILD  Generations from now, there will still be no-go areas storing radioactive by-products of nuclear power production. ……….

Six ways to neutralise nuclear excess

The International Atomic Energy Agency’s guidelines published in 2009 define six different types of nuclear waste, each with its own suggested disposal method, determined by how dangerous the waste is to humans and the environment, how much heat it generates, and its reaction to water and temperature.

  • Exempt waste” does not require any protection and is simply disposed of like other rubbish;
  • “Very low-level waste”, typically soil and rubble with low levels of radioactivity, is disposed of in landfills;
  • “Very short-lived waste” is first shielded and then stored, usually in a purpose-built building, to decay by itself over a few years;
  • “Low-level waste” needs a few hundred years to be considered safe and is buried near the surface once it has been encased in concrete or metal and shielded;
  • “Intermediate-level waste” needs time but no heat protection, and consists mainly of the cladding and resins used in nuclear plants, and contaminated materials that come from decommissioned nuclear reactors. It is generally covered in concrete or bitumen and buried in the region of 10 to hundreds of metres underground; and
  • “High-level waste”, such as spent fuel rods, remains radioactive for tens of thousands of years and generates its own heat. It can be stored on site, as it is at Koeberg or Pelindaba. The United States and Russia vitrify the waste (mix it with glass particles), clad it in concrete, shield it with lead or water and bury it, sometimes kilometres underground, in a process called “deep geological disposal”. – Ansie Vicente http://mg.co.za/article/2014-10-02-nuclear-waste-is-going-nowhere-slowly/

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