Radioactive Waste Management

  • P. A. Baisden
  • C. E. Atkins-Duffin
Reference work entry


Issues related to the management of radioactive wastes are presented with specific emphasis on high-level wastes generated as a result of energy and materials production using nuclear reactors. The final disposition of these high-level wastes depends on which nuclear fuel cycle is pursued, and range from once-through burning of fuel in a light water reactor followed by direct disposal in a geologic repository to more advanced fuel cycles (AFCs) where the spent fuel is reprocessed or partitioned to recover the fissile material (primarily 235U and 239Pu) as well as the minor actinides (MAs) (neptunium, americium, and curium) and some long-lived fission products (e.g., 99Tc and 129I). In the latter fuel cycle, the fissile materials are recycled through a reactor to produce more energy, the short-lived fission products are vitrified and disposed of in a geologic repository, and the minor actinides and long-lived fission products are converted to less radiotoxic or otherwise stable nuclides by a process called transmutation. The advantages and disadvantages of the various fuel cycle options and the challenges to the management of nuclear wastes they represent are discussed.


Fission Product Fuel Cycle Spend Fuel Nuclear Fuel Cycle Minor Actinide 
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.



The authors would like to thank Prof. W. F. Kinard and Dr. W.G. Halsey for their insightful comments made during the preparation of the manuscript. The authors also gratefully acknowledge the technical editing efforts of Ms. D. Schliech and Ms. K. Ramirez for their careful attention to detail in preparing this document in the proper camera-ready format. This work was performed under the auspices of the US Department of Energy by the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory under Contract No. W-7405-Eng-48.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • P. A. Baisden
    • 1
  • C. E. Atkins-Duffin
    • 1
  1. 1.Lawrence Livermore National LaboratoryLivermoreUSA

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