How is Radioactive Waste safely managed?

Added: 28 Feb 2013 16:08 - Health and Safety Industry

Radioactive waste contains dangerous levels of radioactivity, it is usually the by product of harmful nuclear power, nuclear fission and nuclear technology, but it can also come in many more forms. Over many years, radioactive waste will diminish on its own, but until it does it can be extremely harmful to all forms of life including, humans, animals and even the environment. As radioactive waste is so dangerous, it is essential that it is managed safely inline with UK Governmental Health and Safety guidelines to reduce the amount of risk it imposes to the public.

It is essential that you contact experts in the field such as, Tracerco who are a global business with a team of dedicated trusted engineers and scientists to complete jobs associated with radioactive waste or else you could be putting yourself in great danger.

Types of Radioactive Wastes

Radioactive waste is put in several different categories depending on how much of a hazard it is, different rules are also assigned to each category so it is known how to deal and dispose of these toxic wastes.

Low Level Waste

Most of low level waste is created from hospitals and industry work; low level waste can also be traced back to the nuclear fuel cycle. This type of waste can come in many different forms as there are no restrictions in this category. Anything that has small amounts of short lived radioactivity will be defined as low level waste, this can include, paper, clothing, materials, tools, and any other similar materials.

Unlike other levels of radioactive waste, this type of waste does not require any special transportation or handling and it is also suitable for land fill burial. Specialists will often decide to incinerate the materials in a safe area if suitable before the burial; this is to reduce the volume of the burial.

Intermediate Level Waste

Intermediate level waste is significantly more dangerous compared to low level waste. To protect humans and the environment from the threatening levels of radioactivity, special transport and handling is needed. To test the levels of radioactivity, specialist equipment is also needed such as radiation monitors, this will inform experts of how dangerous the materials are. This level of waste usually comes in the forms of resins and toxic chemical sludge.

Intermediate reacted waste is usually treated first, this is to reduce the water content making it easier to transport and dispose. Larger materials are sometimes handled and cut up into smaller chunks, making it more compact for disposal.

High Level Waste

High level waste contains extreme levels of radioactivity, making it very dangerous and harmful to the public. This type of waste is also very hot to touch so it requires constant protection and cooling to reduce the risk of an accident happening.

Intense radiation protection training is needed before you can handle high level waste, this is to ensure yours and others safety. Once training is complete, high level radiated liquid is stored into borosilicate glass where it is then heated transforming the liquid into a fine powder. The powder is then crushed with glass before it is poured into a steel container, to ensure the product does not leak out and impose risk, the lid is then welded on.

Depending on the level of radioactivity, high level waste has to be stored for at least 50 years before it can be disposed of safely. During this time the waste will become cooler and the radioactivity will die away.

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