Los materiales radiactivos son muy peligrosos. Deben manejarse cuidadosamente
el manejo de los residuos radioactivos es algo que debe tratarse con mucho cuidado.
Divided into three categories low, intermediate and high levels radioactivity. Deep burial or partitioning
Is plutonium239 dangerous to humans?
Radioactive wastes produced by the nuclear industry, together with those from other sources, are subdivided for disposal purposes into those with
low levels of radioactivity,
intermediate levels of radioactivity, and
high levels of radioactivity.
Low-level wastes (LLW) include several materials:
Gases with half-lives of a few years at most are mainly isotopes of hydrogen, argon, krypton, xenon and radon, which are vented to and diluted by the atmosphere.
Liquids, produced during waste treatment, are discharged into the sea or rivers.
Solids that include worn-out equipment, crushed glassware, protective clothing, air filters, etc. are burnt in incinerators or buried at purpose-built sites, such as Drigg in Cumbria.
Some 40,000 cubic metres of low-level wastes are produced annually in the UK, but their disposal is not regarded as a major environmental problem. For example, it is often pointed out that some natural substances, such as brazil nuts and coffee beans, are sufficiently radioactive to be classified as low-level waste.
Intermediate-level wastes (ILW) have higher activities and so require more elaborate storage.
They include solid and liquid materials from power stations, such as fuel cladding cans, and wastes from the radioisotope industry (e.g. hospital radiography departments) and defence establishments. In total, some 5,000 cubic metres are produced annually in the UK.
High-level wastes (HLW) are the concentrated products of nuclear fuel reprocessing, containing over 95% of the total radioactivity from the nuclear industry's waste products.
At present HLW is stored in a low-density liquid solution, of which there is about 1,500 cubic metres at Sellafield, UK where it is contained by double-skinned, stainless steel tanks surrounded by concrete and cooled by water circulating through sets of stainless-steel coils.
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