Government consults on non-nuclear radioactive waste

The government is drawing up a strategy for managing low-level radioactive waste (LLW) from the non-nuclear industry.1

A consultation on the first phase of this exercise was launched on 7 December, aimed at waste managers, waste planners and environmental regulators.

Non-nuclear LLWs are produced by hospitals, the pharmaceuticals sector and research and educational sites.

Sectors such as the oil and gas industries also produce wastes containing naturally occurring radioactive materials (NORM), but these will be dealt with in a later consultation.

UK non-nuclear LLW arisings are small and unlikely to exceed 0.1% by volume of non-radioactive wastes, the consultation notes.

Levels of radioactivity and exposure of operatives are low, but may nevertheless give rise to public concern.

LLW does not merit special facilities for disposal and can be sent to landfill or incineration with other wastes.

 But there is concern at the shortage of facilities willing to accept these wastes, resulting in it being transported long distances.

The energy and climate department (DECC) hopes the strategy will increase the knowledge and availability of waste sites willing to take LLW.

The consultation closes on 8 March.

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