What is Radioactive waste management? What are the methods of disposal of Radioactive waste? How can we control and manage Radioactive waste?
Radioactive waste is a type of hazardous waste that contains radioactive material. It is a result of many activities, including nuclear medicine, nuclear research, nuclear power generation, rare-earth mining, and nuclear weapons reprocessing. The safe treatment, storage and disposal of liquid, solid and gas discharge from nuclear industry operations with the goal of protecting people and the environment is known as Radioactive waste management. Waste treatment techniques depend on the type of waste and the intended disposal route. Most radioactive waste requires packaging in specially engineered containers for safe storage and disposal.Nuclear waste requires sophisticated treatment and management to successfully isolate it from interacting with the biosphere. This usually necessitates initial treatment, followed by a long-term management strategy involving storage, disposal or transformation of the waste into a non-toxic form. The initial treatment includes Vitrification, Phosphate ceramics, Ion exchange and Synroc.Vitrification is the process of freezing so rapidly that the molecules don’t have time to form ice crystals, and instead instantaneously solidify into a glass-like structure. Vitrification is not the only way to stabilize the waste into a form that will not react or degrade for extended periods.Immobilization via direct incorporation into a phosphate based crystalline ceramic host is also used. It is common for medium active wastes in the nuclear industry to be treated with ion exchange or other means to concentrate the radioactivity into a small volume. The much less radioactive bulk is then discharged. The Australian Synroc (synthetic rock) is a more sophisticated way to immobilize such waste, and this process may eventually come into commercial use for civil wastes. Long-term management of radioactive waste includes huge processes like Remediation, Above ground disposal, Geologic disposal, Transmutation,Re-use and Space disposal. Control and management of radioactive waste includes steps like Planning and preparation, Waste treatment,Packaging, Storage and Disposal. Sites aim to reduce the amount of waste they produce. They also plan how to manage waste before it arises. Waste treatment typically occurs in some form soon after it arises. Waste treatment techniques depend on the type of waste and the intended disposal route. Examples of treatment include decontaminating,shredding, compacting, drying and solidifying the waste. Most radioactive waste requires packaging which allows for easier handling and transport. Interim facilities will store certain waste types until a suitable disposal route becomes available. Storage may last from a few months to many decades. Disposal involves placing wastes into engineered facilities where they will remain permanently. Wastes may be transported for treatment, packaging, storage and disposal. Transport is usually by road or rail and is subject to strict conditions. Some waste may not require packaging or disposal since it may be possible to treat the waste for reuse or recycling.