LLRW includes items that have become contaminated with radioactive material, is an obsolete source, or have become radioactive by being exposed to neutron radiation, a process known as neutron activation.
Common Examples of LLRW
- Personal protective equipment, such as coveralls, gloves, and shoe covers;
- Decommissioning wastes such as soil and debris from the clean-up of a contaminated site;
- Medical wastes, produced from nuclear medicine procedures or research;
- Scintillation fluids that are used to analyze for certain radioactive isotopes;
- Unwanted obsolete radioactive sources, such as an old Cesium-137 button source; and
- Water treatment resins or activation products from nuclear power utilities
Classes of LLRW
For disposal, Ohio has adopted the three classes of LLRW that are used by the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, that being Class A, Class B, and Class C. The radiological hazard and disposal requirements increase going from Class A to B to C. These designations are determined by the physical half-life (T ½) and activity concentrations of the isotopes the waste contains. Prior to ultimate disposal, all LLRW must be classified. This determines where the waste may be safely disposed.
Storage and Disposal of LLRW
LLRW is typically stored on-site in a secure area for a finite time by a licensee or the generator of the waste. For many isotopes, this may be until radioactive decay has occurred. Once the waste has undergone radioactive decay, it is no longer radioactive and can be disposed as municipal trash.
For longer lived isotopes, the waste is stored until amounts are large enough for shipment to a licensed low-level waste disposal site in containers approved by the Department of Transportation. As disposal costs escalate, some generators of LLRW use the services of a waste processor to reduce the volume of their waste stream prior to disposal. All details of a waste shipment are documented on a waste manifest form which accompanies the shipment through disposal. Waste brokers or consultants are often employed to coordinate and perform LLRW disposal services on behalf of a LLRW generator.
In Ohio, anyone who possesses, generates, stores, or ships LLRW must report their waste activities to the Ohio Department of Health – Bureau of Environmental Health and Radiation Protection (BEHRP). Typically, these are facilities that are licensed by BEHRP or the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission. This information is entered into a database and the information extracted to produce an annual report for LLRW activities in Ohio.
Associated LLRW Web Links
Ohio Department of Health
Bureau of Environmental Health and Radiation Protection
Radioactive Materials Licensing and Inspection Program
246 N High St.
Columbus, OH 43215
Telephone: (614) 644-2727
Fax: (614) 466-0381
Last Updated: 7/30/2018