United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission - Protecting People and the Environment
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Low-Level Waste

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Low-Level Waste Disposal

Low-level waste includes items that have become contaminated with radioactive material or have become radioactive through exposure to neutron radiation. This waste typically consists of contaminated protective shoe covers and clothing, wiping rags, mops, filters, reactor water treatment residues, equipments and tools, luminous dials, medical tubes, swabs, injection needles, syringes, and laboratory animal carcasses and tissues. The radioactivity can range from just above background levels found in nature to very highly radioactive in certain cases such as parts from inside the reactor vessel in a nuclear power plant. Low-level waste is typically stored on-site by licensees, either until it has decayed away and can be disposed of as ordinary trash, or until amounts are large enough for shipment to a low-level waste disposal site in containers approved by the Department of Transportation.

For more detailed information on low-level waste, see our brochure Radioactive Waste: Production, Storage, Disposal (NUREG/BR-0216).

Page Last Reviewed/Updated Thursday, October 23, 2014