parison. However, common features can be identified, especially for nuclear waste that falls under one of three main classification systems.

Under the first, waste is classified by its mode of disposition (“management” routes). Adopted by France, Spain, and, more recently, Japan, this classification defines four categories of waste: slightly radioactive waste (or very low level waste, VLLW), low and intermediate short-lived waste (LILW—SL), low and intermediate long-lived waste (LILW—LL), and high-level waste (HLW). These categories generally differ from one another by orders of magnitude of activity content. The distinction between short- and long-lived waste is based on the half-life (30 years) of cesium-137. However, these categories, though clearly different, are not defined a priori by generic cutoff values. These values are determined on the basis of waste acceptance criteria for a given management option when sufficient assessment results are available to allow deriving limits that are considered safe. An example of this waste classification mode is given in Table B.1.

A second classification system defines categories of waste on the basis of their main characteristics. Adopted by the United Kingdom and formerly by Germany, it more or less identifies the same broad categories of waste mentioned under the first classification, but with possible differences in the cutoff values that separate the categories. These values are defined a priori, in a generic manner; for example, the United Kingdom defines LLW as waste containing no more than 4 GBq/t in alpha emitters and 12 GBq/t in beta and gamma emitters, intermediate-level waste (ILW) as waste of low thermal output and activity of the order of 1,000 TBq/m3,

TABLE B.1 Waste Classification in France

Activity

 

Slightly radioactive

Dedicated surface disposal (Centre de stockage TFA de Morvilliers)

Low and Intermediate level

Surface disposal (Centre de Stockage de l’Aube) for wastes with half-life less than 30 years

Low and Intermediate level

Specific disposal options for wastes with half-life greater than 30 years, e.g., TENORM, graphite waste, are under study

High level

Management options under study (Law of December 30, 1991)



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