Blended Radioactive Waste

Blended waste is an industry proposal to blend more concentrated radioactive waste with less concentrated radioactive waste. EnergySolutions is seeking federal and state approval to allow this option so it can ultimately dispose of waste that meets the Class A limit requirements of its Utah radioactive material license.

The issue of blending higher concentrated low-level radioactive waste (Class B and C waste) with lower concentration waste (Class A) waste has come to the forefront because of lack of disposal access for 36 states with Class B and C radioactive waste. One of the problematic low-level waste streams is ion exchange resins generated at commercial nuclear power plants throughout the United States.

The Nuclear Energy Institute and the Electric Power Research Institute have conducted studies on blending during the previous two years. These resins, small beads of plastic, remove radioactive material from waters used for cooling nuclear reactors. Depending on how often the resins are removed and replaced, they can be the higher classification B and C low-level wastes. NRC estimates that power plants throughout the United States generate roughly 85,000 cubic feet of resins annually. Ninety percent of the current annual resin production is Class A waste.

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