Low-level radioactive waste (LLRW) includes all LLRW arising from the activities associated with nuclear electricity generation, from nuclear research and development, and from the production and use of radioisotopes in medicine, education, research, agriculture and industry. Examples of LLRW are contaminated materials, rags and protective clothing. It also includes contaminated soils and related wastes resulting from the very early operations of Canada's radium industry. LLRW is grouped into two broad categories, as follows:
- Ongoing Waste: LLRW that is generated from ongoing activities of companies that are currently in business, for example, nuclear electricity generators. Owners or producers of ongoing waste are responsible for its management.
- Historic Waste: LLRW that was managed in the past in a manner no longer considered acceptable but for which the owner cannot reasonably be held responsible. The federal government has accepted responsibility for this waste.
Current Inventory and Accumulation Rate
At the end of 2003, there were about 2.29 million m3 of LLRW stored in Canada. At present, wastes are being managed in storage sites throughout the country pending the development and licensing of long-term waste management facilities.
It is estimated that the 2003 inventory of 2.3 million m3 will increase to approximately 2.6 million m3 by 2033.
|WASTE SOURCE||Inventory to End of 2003 (m3)||Projected Inventory to End of 2004 (m3)||Projected Inventory to End of 2033 (m3)|
|A. ONGOING WASTE|
|- Openrations||Nuclear Fuel Cycle||64,400||70,200||237,500|
|Radioisotope Production and Use||18,400||18,600||24,300|
|- Decommissioning||Nuclear Fuel Cycle||3,900||3,900||121,600|
|Radioisotope Production and Use||0||0||0|
|TOTAL ONGOING WASTE||584,000||591,300||919,700|
|B. HISTORIC WASTE|
|Welcome and Port Granby||1,150,000||1,150,000||1,150,000|
|TOTAL HISTORIC WASTE||1,703,200||1,703,400||1,709,200|