Low-level Radioactive Waste Management and Disposition
The Department of Energy's Office of Environmental Management (DOE) is responsible for the safe cleanup of sites used for nuclear weapons development and government-sponsored nuclear energy research. Low-level radioactive waste (LLW) is the most volumetrically significant waste stream generated by the DOE cleanup program. LLW is also generated through commercial activities such as nuclear power plant operations and medical treatments.
The laws and regulations related to the disposal of LLW in the United States have evolved over time and across agencies and states, resulting in a complex regulatory structure. DOE asked the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine to organize a workshop to discuss approaches for the management and disposition of LLW. Participants explored the key physical, chemical, and radiological characteristics of low-level waste that govern its safe and secure management and disposal in aggregate and in individual waste streams, and how key characteristics of low level waste are incorporated into standards, orders, and regulations that govern the management and disposal of LLW in the United States and in other major waste-producing countries. This publication summarizes the presentations and discussions from the workshop.