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Radioactive Waste Disposal

Low Level Waste Pit Photo The Nevada National Security Site plays a pivotal role in the cleanup of historic nuclear weapons sites in the United States by providing a safe and environmentally-effective facility for the permanent disposal of low-level and mixed low-level radioactive waste. The waste disposed at the Nevada National Security Site is accepted only from approved U.S. Department of Energy and U.S. Department of Defense sites and must comply with the Nevada National Security Site Waste Acceptance Criteria. Click here to view a two-minute video overview of the disposal facility operated in Area 5 of the Nevada National Security Site.

Low-Level Radioactive Waste

Typical low-level waste includes materials such as rags, papers, filters, equipment, discarded protective clothing and construction debris. Low-level waste does not include high-level waste, spent nuclear fuel, transuranic waste, or radioactive by-product materials.

Mixed Low-Level Radioactive Waste

Site photo Mixed low-level radioactive waste contains both hazardous waste, as defined by the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA), and low-level radioactive waste. As a result of the presence of the hazardous component, mixed low-level radioactive waste is regulated and managed separately from low-level radioactive waste. This waste is disposed in the Mixed Waste Disposal Unit at the Nevada National Security Site Area 5 Radioactive Waste Management Site. The Mixed Waste Disposal Unit is RCRA-permitted and features a multi-layer liner and collection system that drains any potential moisture away from the buried waste containers. This technologically advanced cell became operational in December 2010 and replaces the previous mixed low-level waste disposal cell which closed on November 30, 2010. Click here to view a five-minute video that details the installation of the Mixed Waste Disposal Unit liner system.

In addition to disposal, mixed low-level waste may be stored at the Area 5 Radioactive Waste Management Site in accordance with a separate RCRA permit.

For more information:

PDF icon  Waste Management Open House Posters – June 2012 [PDF, 11 MB]

PDF icon  Radioactive Waste Management [PDF, 1.3 MB]

PDF icon  Transporting Low-Level Waste to the Nevada National Security Site [PDF, 3 MB]

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Date Last Modified: November 24, 2015