What factors influence nuclear waste storage or disposal?

  • Level/type of radioactivity
  • Where the waste was derived from
  • How it was used
  • The form nuclear waste takes
  • The geology of the proposed disposal site
  • The acceptance of relevant communities involved in disposal

Nuclear waste is generally classified based on its level of radioactivity. Nuclear waste takes many different forms around the world and is created from a variety of processes like the mining and enrichment of nuclear materials for energy or the creation of nuclear isotopes for research and medical treatments. Additionally, nuclear waste can be solid, liquid, or gas. 

All of the above factors determine how nuclear waste will need to be disposed of to minimize harm to people and the environment. Solving the complex puzzle of nuclear waste to accommodate all waste forms and the communities that will host them is extremely difficult and requires cooperation on all levels.

DWPF, the nation’s largest nuclear waste processing plant, immobilizes high level radiation waste in glass for safe, long term storage. Borosilicate glass is mixed with the waste, heated in a melted until molten, and poured into stainless steel canisters to harden. Each canister, 10’ tall x2’ in diameter, weighing about 2 tons, will be stored at SRS Glass Waste Storage Building until a permanent repository is completed.

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