Improving the Regulation and Management of Low-Activity Radioactive Wastes
Committee on Improving Practices for Regulating and Managing Low-Activity Radioactive Wastes, Nuclear and Radiation Studies Board, Division on Earth and Life Studies, National Research Council
National Academies Press, Apr 25, 2006 - Nature - 201 pages
The largest volumes of radioactive wastes in the United States contain only small amounts of radioactive material. These low-activity wastes (LAW) come from hospitals, utilities, research institutions, and defense installations where nuclear material is used. Millions of cubic feet of LAW also arise every year from non-nuclear enterprises such as mining and water treatment. While LAW present much less of a radiation hazard than spent nuclear fuel or high-level radioactive wastes, they can cause health risks if controlled improperly.
Improving the Regulation and Management of Low-Activity Radioactive Wastes asserts that LAW should be regulated and managed according to the degree of risk they pose for treatment, storage, and disposal. Current regulations are based primarily on the type of industry that produced the waste--the waste's origin--rather than its risk. In this report, a risk-informed approach for regulating and managing all types of LAW in the United States is proposed. Implemented in a gradual or stepwise fashion, this approach combines scientific risk assessment with public values and perceptions. It focuses on the hazardous properties of the waste in question and how they compare with other waste materials. The approach is based on established principles for risk-informed decision making, current risk-informed initiatives by waste regulators in the United States and abroad, solutions available under current regulatory authorities, and remedies through new legislation when necessary.
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CURRENT INITIATIVES FOR IMPROVING
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Activity Radioactive activity wastes approach Atomic Energy Act byproduct material Chapter cleanup commercial committee Compact decommissioning Department of Energy developed disposal facilities disposal options dose Envirocare Environmental exposures federal FUSRAP guidance hazardous waste high-level waste IAEA ICRP implement risk-informed improving interim report International isotopes issues landfill levels licensed LLW disposal low-activity radioactive wastes low-activity waste Low-Level Radioactive Waste low-level waste management and disposal ment National Academy Press NCRP NORM wastes nuclear materials Nuclear Regulatory Commission Nuclear Waste occurring radioactive materials produced public stakeholders radiation protection radioactive decay radioactive sources Radioactive Waste Management radiological hazards radionuclides radon RCRA regulation and management requirements responsibility risk assessment risk management risk-informed decision risk-informed practices risk-informed system safety Sidebar slightly radioactive thorium tion UMTRCA uranium and thorium USNRC USNRC Class Washington waste disposal waste management Wastes containing wastes LAW