Low-level radioactive waste (LLW)

A general term for a wide range of items that have become contaminated with radioactive material or have become radioactive through exposure to neutron radiation. A variety of industries, hospitals and medical institutions, educational and research institutions, private or government laboratories, and nuclear fuel cycle facilities generate LLW as part of their day-to-day use of radioactive materials. Some examples include radioactively contaminated protective shoe covers and clothing; cleaning rags, mops, filters, and reactor water treatment residues; equipment and tools; medical tubes, swabs, and hypodermic syringes; and carcasses and tissues from laboratory animals. The radioactivity in these wastes can range from just above natural background levels to much higher levels, such as seen in parts from inside the reactor vessel in a nuclear power plant. Low-level waste is typically stored onsite by licensees, either until it has decayed away and can be disposed of as ordinary trash, or until the accumulated amount becomes large enough to warrant shipment to a low-level waste disposal site. For further information, see Low-Level Waste.

Page Last Reviewed/Updated Tuesday, March 09, 2021