Radiological Safety Training for Uranium Facilities
Module 102 The Nuclear Fuel Cycle
Waste Disposal and Storage
Due to the remaining radioactive properties, the nuclear fuel cycle byproducts must
be controlled and/or disposed. These byproducts can be divided into two
categories--low level waste (LLW) and high-level waste (HLW).
The RCS glossary defines low-level waste (LLW) as "Waste that contains
radioactivity and is not classified as high-level waste, transuranic waste, spent
nuclear fuel, or byproduct material as defined in Section 11e(2) of the Atomic
Energy Act, as amended. Test specimens of fissionable material irradiated only
for research and development and not for production of power or plutonium
may be classified as low-level waste provided the concentration of transuranic
activity is less than 100 nCi/g." LLW could be in the form of liquids, solids, or
gasses. Liquid waste is usually processed to remove radioactive material and
then recycled or disposed.
Solids may be volume-reduced by incineration or compaction. Soluble forms in
liquid may be solidified to isolate radioactive contents.
Gases are either changed to a solid form and disposed of as a solid or
compressed and stored as gases. These gases may be released after sufficient
time has elapsed for decay of the radioactive component of the gas.
High-level waste (HLW) is defined in DOE Order 5820.2a as "The highly
radioactive waste material that results from the reprocessing of spent nuclear
fuel, including liquid waste produced directly in reprocessing and any solid