Encyclopedia of Public Health

2008 Edition
| Editors: Wilhelm Kirch

Radioactive Wastes

Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4020-5614-7_2913

Definition

Radioactive wastes contain radioactivechemicalelements that have no practical purpose. They are normally classified as low-level, medium-level or high-level wastes, according to the amount and types of radioactivity in them. Low-levelwaste(LLW) includes radioactively contaminated protective clothing, tools, filters, rags, medical tubes, and many other items. High-levelwaste(HLW) is “irradiated” or used nuclear reactor fuel. Uraniummilltailingsare the residues remaining after the processing of natural ore to extract uranium and thorium. The approvals required for disposal of radioactive wastes are granted by regulatory authorities and/or other government agencies in individual countries. There are currently a number of organizations around the world which operate licensed disposal facilities for radioactive wastes. Waste characterization (WC) is the determination of the physical, chemical and radiological properties of the waste to establish the need for further...

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© Springer-Verlag 2008