About Radioactive Waste



By definition, the radioactive waste are those materials resulting from nuclear activities, which have not been provided for any further use and that contain, or are contaminated, with radio nuclides at concentrations exceeding the exemption limits regulated by the national authority for regulation, authorization and control of nuclear activities. 

  • The basic milestones in the radioactive waste management are:

- Pre-processing – any, or all operations previous to treatment, such as collecting, sorting, neutralizing and decontamination;

-  Characterization – determination of physical, chemical and radiological properties of waste, in view of establishing treatment and conditioning needs, or their suitability for handling, processing, storage or final disposal;

-  Processing – operations performed in order to increase security, or for economic reasons, by changing waste characteristics. The objectives of treatment are to reduce the volume, to remove the radio nuclides, or to change their composition;

-  Conditioning – operation which produces waste package, suitable for handling, transport, storage and/or final disposal. Conditioning may include conversion of the waste into a solid form, placing waste in the container and additional packaging;

-   Storage – placing radioactive waste in a nuclear facility, in order to isolate and to ensure the environmental protection and control, with the intention of being recovered;

-   Final disposal – placement and retention of radioactive waste into an arranged repository or a specific location, without the intention of being recovered.  

  • Classification of radioactive waste, in accordance with IAEA recommendations, is presented in the table below: 
 Waste Class

 Radionuclides content

Alpha-Radionuclides Concentration

Storage option

 Low and intermediate radioactive waste with short lifetime (LILW-SL)

- Mostly beta and gamma emitting radionuclides with short lifetime (T1/2  > 30 years);
 - Small amounts of alpha emitters with long lifetime (T1/2  >  20ani)

<4 kBq/g

Surface storage

Low and intermediate radioactive waste with long lifetime (LILW-LL)

- Mostly alpha emitters with short lifetime  (T1/2  > 20ani)
 -  Small amounts of beta and gamma emitters with short lifetime (T1/2  <30ani)

>4 kBq/g

Geological storage

  High radioactive waste (HLW)

-  Mostly beta and gamma emitters with short lifetime (T1/2 <30ani)
 - Important amounts of alpha emitters with long lifetime (T1/2>20ani)

>4 kBq/g

Deep geological storage

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