Radioactive waste storage and treatment

Radioactive wastes are treated primarily to produce a structurally stable, final waste form and minimize the release of radioactive and hazard­ous components. The United States does not commonly make a distinction between the terms ‘treatment’ and ‘conditioning.’ Conditioning is defined in the international community as an operation producing a waste form suitable for handling, such as conversion of a liquid to a solid, enclosure of the waste in containers, or overpacking. Treatment is defined as those opera­tions intended to improve the safety and/or economy by changing the characteristics of the waste through volume reduction, removal of radionu­clides, and change in composition. US terminology covering both condition­ing and treatment is generally referred to as treatment or processing. Treatment is used in this broader context in this chapter.

18.1.5 High-level waste

HLW from commercial reprocessing activities has been vitrified and is stored at the former reprocessing plant in West Valley, New York. Defense HLW is stored, managed, and treated at three DOE sites: Savannah River Site (SRS) in South Carolina, Hanford Site in Washington, and Idaho National Laboratory (INL) in Idaho.

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