What does radioactive waste do to the environment?

Types of radioactive waste

Radioactive contamination or nuclear pollution is the unwanted presence of radioactive substances in the environment.[1] This contamination can come from natural or artificial radioisotopes.

The former occurs when it is those radioactive isotopes that exist in the earth’s crust since the formation of the Earth or those that are continuously generated in the atmosphere by the action of cosmic rays. When these natural radioisotopes are found in higher concentrations than those that can be found in nature (within the existing variability), we can speak of radioactive contamination. Examples of these radioisotopes are 235U, 210Po, radon, 40K or 7Be.

Radioactive contamination from atomic physics activities since the 20th century can be the result of serious malfunctions in nuclear power plants or from research on nuclear bombs, as well as from the manufacture and use of radioactive materials (see alpha particle emitters and Ionizing radiation).

See also  What are the types of waste?

Radioactive waste examples

Radioactive waste contains radioactive isotopes with unstable atoms that become stable and emit potentially dangerous ionizing radiation, and must therefore be confined until the radioactivity is lost in order to avoid its effects on man and the environment.

Radioactive wastes are generally classified according to the concentrations of radionuclides they contain and the half-life of these isotopes. Two main groups can be distinguished according to these aspects:

What is done with radioactive waste

Radioactive waste is waste containing radioactive chemical elements that serve no practical purpose. It is often the by-product of a nuclear process, such as nuclear fission. The waste may also be generated during the fuel process for nuclear reactors or weapons or in medical applications such as radiotherapy or nuclear medicine.

Thus, when the waste has been characterized as radioactive and, therefore, must be managed as radioactive waste, the licensee of the facility or activity must transfer this waste to Enresa, and establish agreements determining the obligations of each party at each stage of waste management.

See also  Who is the prettiest woman on earth?

A significant danger is generated in the transport of the waste from the nuclear power plants to the centralized temporary storage facility. This transport can only be carried out inside large, extremely resistant metal cylinders.

Hospital radioactive waste

Radioactive waste is waste containing radioactive chemical elements that serve no practical purpose. It is often the by-product of a nuclear process, such as nuclear fission. The waste may also be generated during the fuel process for nuclear reactors or weapons or in medical applications such as radiotherapy or nuclear medicine.

Thus, when the waste has been characterized as radioactive and, therefore, must be managed as radioactive waste, the licensee of the facility or activity must transfer this waste to Enresa, and establish agreements determining the obligations of each party at each stage of waste management.

See also  How does waste affect peoples health and the environment?

A significant danger is generated in the transport of the waste from the nuclear power plants to the centralized temporary storage facility. This transport can only be carried out inside large, extremely resistant metal cylinders.