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Greater-Than-Class-C Low-Level Radioactive Waste EIS
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Frequently Asked Questions

Low-Level Radioactive Waste (LLRW)

Low-level Radioactive Waste (LLRW) is radioactive waste that is not high-level radioactive waste, transuranic waste, spent nuclear fuel, or 11e(2) byproduct material (uranium and thorium mill tailings and wastes).

LLRW is defined not by what it is, but rather by what it is not. LLRW is radioactive waste that is not high-level radioactive waste, transuranic waste, spent nuclear fuel, or 11e(2) byproduct material (uranium and thorium mill tailings and wastes). LLRW consists of a wide range of wastes having various physical and chemical characteristics and concentrations of radioactive isotopes. Disposal of commercially generated LLRW is regulated by the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC), and must be done in a controlled manner to protect human health and the environment.

The NRC has developed requirements for land disposal of LLRW, and these are given in 10 CFR Part 61 (Licensing Requirements for Land Disposal of Radioactive Waste). These requirements were based on a waste classification system developed by NRC. The NRC defined classes of LLRW in 10 CFR 61.55, i.e., Classes A, B, and C waste, and waste that is not generally acceptable for near-surface disposal (i.e., GTCC LLRW). Waste classes A, B, and C are identified based on the concentrations of specific radionuclides identified in two tables in 10 CFR 61.55. The potential hazards of LLRW increase as the letter increases. The regulatory requirements in terms of the physical stability of the waste, its packaging needs, degree of isolation from the environment, and protection from inadvertent human intrusion increase as the waste classes increase from A to C to GTCC.

Links to additional information on this topic are also available on the Links page.