Radioactive Waste in Perspective

image of Radioactive Waste in Perspective

Large volumes of hazardous wastes are produced each year, however only a small proportion of them are radioactive. While disposal options for hazardous wastes are generally well established, some types of hazardous waste face issues similar to those for radioactive waste and also require long-term disposal arrangements. The objective of this NEA study is to put the management of radioactive waste into perspective, firstly by contrasting features of radioactive and hazardous wastes, together with their management policies and strategies, and secondly by examining the specific case of the wastes resulting from carbon capture and storage of fossil fuels. The study seeks to give policy makers and interested stakeholders a broad overview of the similarities and differences between radioactive and hazardous wastes and their management strategies.

English Also available in: French


Nuclear Energy Agency

Radioactive waste disposal, and in particular the inability of the nuclear energy community to establish any repository for high-level waste and spent fuel (HLW/SF) is one of the factors that significantly influence public and political acceptability of this energy technology. In many quarters the safe handling and disposal of radioactive waste is regarded as somehow uniquely difficult. The objective of this study is to consider radioactive waste in the wider context of the conventional hazardous waste disposal issues of a modern industrial society and in this way to allow a more balanced perspective of the issues involved. A second theme then also explores the waste issues associated with the probable future major low carbon release alternative electricity generating technology, coal fired generation equipped with carbon capture and storage.


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