6. What do you mean by low and intermediate level waste?

Low and intermediate level radioactive waste is poorly defined by Canadian law but describes all radioactive waste other than used nuclear fuel. The level or lifespan of the radioactivity is unclear, and can range from hundreds to thousands of years [1].

  1. Low level waste includes industrial items that have been contaminated with radioactivity during maintenance and cleaning activities at nuclear generating stations, such as tools, equipment, clothes, and sometimes large objects like heat exchangers [2].
  2. Intermediate level waste consists of irradiated reactor core components, ion exchange resins, and filters used to purify reactor water systems [3]. This waste can remain radioactive for hundreds or thousands of years due to the presence of radionuclides, and can be as hazardous as the high level spent nuclear fuel.

Ontario Power Generation (OPG) is proposing to bury up to 400, 000 cubic meters of low and intermediate level waste in a deep geologic repository (DGR) at the Bruce Nuclear Power Station. OPG estimates that 10 - 20% of the waste will be intermediate level waste [3].

 

 
 

 

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Reference: 

  1. Canadian Environmental Law Association (CELA). 2013. DGR and EA Process [online]. Retrieved from: http://www.cela.ca/sites/cela.ca/files/DGR-and-EA-process-London-Nov-2013.pdf
  2.  Ontario Power Generation (OPG). 2011. OPG’s Deep Geologic Repository Project For Low & Intermediate Level Waste (Environmental Impact Statement, Volume 1: Main Report 1.2.3 Summary Description of the DGR Project) [online]. Retrieved from: http://www.opg.com/generating-power/nuclear/nuclear-waste-management/Deep-Geologic-Repository/Documents/Submission/01.Environmental-Impact-Statement-(Volume-1).pdf
  3. Ontario Power Generation (OPG). 2011. OPG’s Deep Geologic Repository Project For Low & Intermediate Level Waste (Environmental Impact Statement, Volume 1: Main Report., 3.1 Purpose of the Project) [online]. Retrieved from: http://www.opg.com/generating-power/nuclear/nuclear-waste-management/Deep-Geologic-Repository/Documents/Submission/01.Environmental-Impact-Statement-(Volume-1).pdf