§ 61.56 Waste characteristics.

(a) The following requirements are minimum requirements for all classes of waste and are intended to facilitate handling at the disposal site and provide protection of health and safety of personnel at the disposal site.

(1) Waste must not be packaged for disposal in cardboard or fiberboard boxes.

(2) Liquid waste must be solidified or packaged in sufficient absorbent material to absorb twice the volume of the liquid.

(3) Solid waste containing liquid shall contain as little free standing and noncorrosive liquid as is reasonably achievable, but in no case shall the liquid exceed 1% of the volume.

(4) Waste must not be readily capable of detonation or of explosive decomposition or reaction at normal pressures and temperatures, or of explosive reaction with water.

(5) Waste must not contain, or be capable of generating, quantities of toxic gases, vapors, or fumes harmful to persons transporting, handling, or disposing of the waste. This does not apply to radioactive gaseous waste packaged in accordance with paragraph (a)(7) of this section.

(6) Waste must not be pyrophoric. Pyrophoric materials contained in waste shall be treated, prepared, and packaged to be nonflammable.

(7) Waste in a gaseous form must be packaged at a pressure that does not exceed 1.5 atmospheres at 20 °C. Total activity must not exceed 100 curies per container.

(8) Waste containing hazardous, biological, pathogenic, or infectious material must be treated to reduce to the maximum extent practicable the potential hazard from the non-radiological materials.

(b) The requirements in this section are intended to provide stability of the waste. Stability is intended to ensure that the waste does not structurally degrade and affect overall stability of the site through slumping, collapse, or other failure of the disposal unit and thereby lead to water infiltration. Stability is also a factor in limiting exposure to an inadvertent intruder, since it provides a recognizable and nondispersible waste.

(1) Waste must have structural stability. A structurally stable waste form will generally maintain its physical dimensions and its form, under the expected disposal conditions such as weight of overburden and compaction equipment, the presence of moisture, and microbial activity, and internal factors such as radiation effects and chemical changes. Structural stability can be provided by the waste form itself, processing the waste to a stable form, or placing the waste in a disposal container or structure that provides stability after disposal.

(2) Notwithstanding the provisions in § 61.56(a) (2) and (3), liquid wastes, or wastes containing liquid, must be converted into a form that contains as little free standing and noncorrosive liquid as is reasonably achievable, but in no case shall the liquid exceed 1% of the volume of the waste when the waste is in a disposal container designed to ensure stability, or 0.5% of the volume of the waste for waste processed to a stable form.

(3) Void spaces within the waste and between the waste and its package must be reduced to the extent practicable.

Page Last Reviewed/Updated Wednesday, March 24, 2021