Skip to main content

Management of Radioactive Waste

Part of the Undergraduate Lecture Notes in Physics book series (ULNP)


Electricity production from nuclear power does not emit greenhouse gases like carbon dioxide into the air. However, it generates radioactive wastes in solid, liquid, and gaseous forms that can contaminate the environment and create a hazard for people’s health if not properly controlled and managed. Therefore, radioactive wastes must be handled in a safe way to protect people and the environment. Various types of radioactive waste exist and proper disposal depends on the properties of the waste. This chapter focuses on nuclear waste generation, handling, storage and disposal. It first gives the classification of nuclear wastes according to their radioactive content and half-life, making comparisons with other hazardous waste and waste from other sources of electricity generation. Then, it illustrates the typical composition of nuclear spent fuel, the time evolution of its radioactivity, and the safe methods for its final disposal. Finally, it describes the studies in progress for significantly reducing the volume and radiotoxicity of nuclear wastes and for shortening the very long time for which they must be stored safely.


  • Nuclear Power Plant
  • Radioactive Waste
  • Fission Product
  • Fuel Cycle
  • Spend Fuel

These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.

Buying options

USD   29.95
Price excludes VAT (USA)
  • DOI: 10.1007/978-3-319-30651-3_6
  • Chapter length: 27 pages
  • Instant PDF download
  • Readable on all devices
  • Own it forever
  • Exclusive offer for individuals only
  • Tax calculation will be finalised during checkout
USD   54.99
Price excludes VAT (USA)
  • ISBN: 978-3-319-30651-3
  • Instant PDF download
  • Readable on all devices
  • Own it forever
  • Exclusive offer for individuals only
  • Tax calculation will be finalised during checkout
Softcover Book
USD   69.99
Price excludes VAT (USA)
Hardcover Book
USD   69.99
Price excludes VAT (USA)
Fig. 6.1
Fig. 6.2
Fig. 6.3
Fig. 6.4


  1. 1.

    Hazardous waste is a waste with properties that make it potentially dangerous or harmful to human health or the environment. The universe of hazardous wastes is large and diverse: they can be liquids, solids, or contained gases, and can be the by-products of manufacturing processes, discarded used materials, or discarded unused commercial products, such as cleaning fluids (solvents) or pesticides. In regulatory terms, a hazardous waste is a waste that exhibits one of the following four characteristics—ignitability, corrosivity, reactivity, or toxicity.


  1. IAEA Safety standards series No. GSG-1, Classification of Radioactive Waste, General Safety Guide, 2009

    Google Scholar 

  2. Radioactive waste in perspective, © OECD 2010, NEA No. 6350

    Google Scholar 





  7. Advanced Nuclear Fuel Cycles and Radioactive Waste Management, OECD-NEA No. 5990, 2006

    Google Scholar 

  8. WNA:

  9. European Commission, Radioactive Waste Management in the European Union (1998)

    Google Scholar 

  10. W. Moomaw, P. Burgherr, G. Heath, M. Lenzen, J. Nyboer, A. Verbruggen, Renewable energy sources and climate change mitigation, Special Report of the Intergovernmental Panel On Climate Change (IPCC), 2001, p. 19, and Annex II: Methodology p. 190. ISBN 978-92-9169-131-9. Online:

  11. The principles of radioactive waste management, Safety Series No. 111-F, IAEA 1995

    Google Scholar 

  12. P. Agostini et al., Nucleare da fissione, stato e prospettive, Ed. S. Monti. ENEA 2008, ISBN 88-8286-189-9

    Google Scholar 

  13. NEA-6885 Nuclear energy today, ISBN 978-92-64-99204-7, OECD 2012

    Google Scholar 


  15. A.P. Mesnhik, Scientific American, October 2005.

  16. H. Nifenecker, O. Meplan, S. David, Accelerator Driven Subcritical Reactors, Institute of Physics, Series in Fundamental and Applied Nuclear Physics (2003). ISBN 978-07-5030-743-7

    Google Scholar 

  17. A. Kochetkov et al., Current progress and future plans of the FREYA Project, in Proceedings of the Second International Workshop on Technology and Components of Accelerator-driven Systems, Nantes, France 21–23 May 2013

    Google Scholar 

  18. H.A. Abderrahim, MYRRHA a flexible and fast spectrum irradiation facility, in Proceedings of the 11th International Topical Meeting on Nuclear Applications of Accelerators (AccApp 2013), Bruges, Belgium, 5–8 August 2013

    Google Scholar 

  19. H.A. Abderrahim, Future advanced nuclear systems and the role of MYRRHA as a waste transmutation R&D facility. in Proceedings of the International Conference of Fast Reactors and related fuel cycles. Safe technology and sustainable scenarios, vol. 1, ed. by S. Monti (IAEA, 2015, Paris, France) 4–7 March 2013, p. 69, STI/PUB/1665. ISBN 978–92–0–104114–2

    Google Scholar 

  20. Generation-IV International Forum,

Download references

Author information

Authors and Affiliations


Corresponding author

Correspondence to Enzo De Sanctis .

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

Copyright information

© 2016 Springer International Publishing Switzerland

About this chapter

Cite this chapter

De Sanctis, E., Monti, S., Ripani, M. (2016). Management of Radioactive Waste. In: Energy from Nuclear Fission. Undergraduate Lecture Notes in Physics. Springer, Cham.

Download citation