Low Level Radioactive Waste Basics




Today, more than 20,000 organizations in the
United States are licensed to handle radioactive
material—material that is routinely a part of many
medical, agricultural, and industrial processes.
These processes include producing electricity,
diagnosing and treating a variety of illnesses, tracing
the paths of fertilizers in plants, and monitoring and
controlling thicknesses in the manufacture of
plastics, paper, and photographic film.

Almost every process that uses radioactive material
produces some radioactive waste. The largest
volume of this waste has low levels of radioactivity
and is called low-level radioactive waste. For
purposes of this brochure, low-level radioactive
waste will hereinafter be designated by the abbreviation
LLW. Most LLW resembles normal industrial and
research waste and includes items
slightly contaminated with radioactivity, such as
paper, gloves, filters, cleaning rags, and obsolete
equipment. Because the levels of radioactivity are
low, most LLW requires little or no shielding and
has historically been disposed in shallow trenches in
moisture-resistant clay soils. Small amounts of the
waste (< 3%) contain higher concentrations of
radionuclides and are subject to more stringent
requirements for waste form, packaging, biological
shielding, and disposal. Management and disposal
of LLW designated a State responsibility is regulated
by the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission.

Additional information



Publication date

April 21, 2011



File size

3381 KB

Simultaneous device usage




Screen Reader


Enhanced typesetting



Not Enabled

Word Wise


Print length

23 pages


There are no reviews yet.

Be the first to review “Low Level Radioactive Waste Basics”

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *