The waste management for radioactive wastes needs to follow various protocols for efficient disposal. Among them, the most low-level radioactive wastes or the LLW are sent to the land-based disposals immediately. Their packaging is followed for long-term management. This is implemented for most of the waste types that fall under the LLW category and this is the method that is seen to get implemented around the globe.
Fuel designated high-level radioactive wastes or the HLW, however, involves few other more steps. The initial steps allow the storage of the waste to initiate its decay of radioactivity and heat it later. This ensures the handling gets much safer. These storage stations can be ponds, dry casks, reactor sites, or directly at the disposal site. The next step involves deep geological disposal. They cannot be buried directly and seeks to reprocess and recycle the uranium and plutonium that is present in them. This treatment also liberates a portion of liquid HLW and which is vitrified in the glass before final disposal.
The intermediate-level radioactive waste or the ILW are carriers of long-lived radioisotopes that require much sensible disposal methods. They are stored at pending disposals before going into the geological repositories. The defense-related transuranic wastes or the TRU needs to get disposed of at the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant or WIPPs.
Here are listed below the most commonly accepted disposal options for nuclear wastes. They must be considered keeping in mind the most suitable option or idea that suits the waste type. The feasible option also depends on the volume and the radioactivity of the waste. The below options apply to the various waste types generated.
- LLW and short-lived ILW- They can be disposed of at near-surface disposal points at ground levels or in caverns below ground level. The depth must range from ten meters and above. This has been implemented the best for LLW in countries like Czech Republic, Finland France, Japan, Netherlands, Sweden, Spain, the UK, and the USA. The short-lived ILW is implemented in Finland and Sweden.
- Long-lived ILW and HLW- They can be disposed of at deep geological disposal of depths between 250m and 1000m for the repositories that are mined. 2000m or 5000m for boreholes are recommended. The defense-related transuranic wastes are disposed of at WIPP in the USA. The other sites under construction are in France, Sweden, and Finland.
SciWise Solutions Inc. provides the disposal ideas and implementing policies for various above-mentioned wastes that would ascertain maximum safety.