Waste Technology Section

Mission

To enhance the capacity of Member States to manage their nuclear and radiological liabilities, including radioactive waste, decommissioning, environmental remediation and radioactive sources, in a safe, sustainable, and cost-effective manner.

 

Role

The Waste Technology Section is responsible for fostering technology transfer, promoting information exchange and cooperative research, and building capacity in Member States to manage radioactive wastes, resulting both from the nuclear fuel cycle and nuclear applications.

 

Background

Radioactive waste is an unavoidable remnant from the use of radioactive material and nuclear technology. It is produced by beneficial practices such as the generation of nuclear energy and the use of radioactive materials in medicine, research and industry, and from industrial activities using natural occurring radioactive material, such as the mining and milling of naturally radioactive ores. Radioactive waste is also generated by military activities.

As with all radiation sources, radioactive waste is potentially hazardous to health and must therefore be managed in order to protect humans and the environment. A relatively small fraction of radioactive waste is routinely released into the environment in the form of discharges that need to be properly controlled; some amounts may remain in the habitat as radioactive residues, particularly after the termination of practices and the decommissioning of installations, which may require remediation of the affected environments; finally, the bulk of radioactive waste must be disposed in repositories isolated from the human habitat.