Safeguards Issues of Radioactive Wastes at DOE Sites

by K. K. S. Pillay, Los Alamos Natl Lab, Los Alamos, United States,

Document Type: Proceeding Paper

Part of: High Level Radioactive Waste Management 1993


Radioactive waste management is not regarded as a safeguard-sensitive step in the nuclear fuel cycle. However, the accumulation of large amounts of fissile materials in wastes over a period of time can be a safeguards concern. One estimate shows that high-level and transuranic wastes and some miscellaneous radioactive materials at DOE sites may contain as much as 15 Mt of fissile materials. In the context of present U.S. strategies for the disposal of these radioactive wastes, this study identifies safeguards issues relevant to proposed scenarios for the long-term management and permanent disposal of the above mentioned waste forms in geologic repositories. This study points out areas of concerns and the need to examine the issues before the wastes are processed for geologic disposal. Good waste management practices may offer unique opportunities to address the safeguards issues identified here. A judicious approach to examining the safeguards requirements of waste disposal programs may also contribute to DOE's new effort to establish and maintain public confidence in its environmental restoration programs.

Subject Headings: Waste sites | Safety | Radioactive wastes | Geology | Waste disposal | Recycling | Nuclear safety | Fuels

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