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Radioactive Waste Management: Indian scenario

 

Low and Intermediate level (LIL)

Liquid wastes have generally high volumes and low levels of radioactivity. They are further classified as short lived and long lived wastes.

Low level nuclear waste usually includes material used to handle the highly radioactive parts of nuclear reactors (i.e. cooling water pipes and radiation suits) and waste from medical procedures involving radioactive treatments or x-rays.

Solid waste

Significant quantum of solid LIL wastes of diverse nature gets generated in different nuclear installations. They are essentially of two types-

  • Primary wastes- comprising of radioactively contaminated equipment (metallic hardware) spent radiation sources etc.
  • Secondary wastes- resulting from different operational activities, protective rubber and plastic wears, cellulosic and fibrous material, organic ion exchange resins filter cartridges and others.
Gaseous waste

The air in the working area and the environment is free from radioactive contamination.  The off gas ventilation system in nuclear power plants play an important role in ensuring clean air.

High Level Waste

High level radioactive liquid waste (HLW) containing most (~99%) of the radioactivity in the entire fuel cycle is produced during reprocessing of spent fuel.

Issue of the long lived radioactive waste has been the focal point of debate for the success of nuclear power. Planning for management of HL waste thus takes into account the need for their effective isolation from the biosphere and their continuous surveillance for extended periods of time spanning several generations. To meet this objective in the long term, waste isolation systems comprising multiple barriers are employed so as to prevent the movement of radionuclides back to the human environment.

 
 
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