Distinctions of Radioactive Waste

Distinctions are drawn in terms of:

  • the type and concentration of the radioactive elements within the waste;
  • the level of radioactivity and the speed of decay (half-life) of the constituent elements;
  • the aggregate state;
  • the chemical and physical properties of the material;
  • the quantity of heat emitted.

The quantity of heat emitted by waste is decisive in dictating how it is to be managed.

Radioactivity gradually decays
Radioactivity gradually decreases as a result of radioactive decay. The speed of the decrease depends on the half-life, which differs from element to element.
After the passing of every half-time period, the radioactivity decreases to half. After 10 half-lives have passed, the radioactivity of the material is less than 0.1% of the initial radioactivity. This also applies to radioactive waste.

Diagram s prikazom razpolovnih dob izotopov
Halving times diagram
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