Waste classification

The various types of radioactive waste produced in France vary considerably by their activity levels, their half-lives (or periods), their volumes and their contents (fission products, scrap metal, rubble, sludge, resins, etc.). The treatment and final disposal solution must be adapted to the type of waste involved, in order to manage it safely.


The radiological risk can be assessed on the basis of two main parameters: the activity level and the half-life.


The classification makes, on one hand, the distinction between very-short-lived waste, short-lived waste and long-lived waste, and on the other hand the distinction between very-low-, low-, intermediate- or high-level waste. The existing or expected management solutions are notably based on these criteria.


Classification of French radioactive waste as a function of their management

* Certain waste when it contains a too large amount of tritium (radioactive hydrogen) must be stored before disposal in order to allow for the decay of this tritium (approximately 12-year half-life).


Very-short-lived waste (VSLW)

This is mainly hospital waste, containing very-short-lived radionuclides (i.e. with half-lives that are less than 100 days), used for diagnostic or therapeutic purposes. Because of their very short half-lives, this waste is stored temporarily on site, for a period ranging from several days to several months and long enough for their radioactivity to decay. It is then disposed of as conventional waste.




Page last updated Tuesday, June 3, 2014 at 16:49