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Radioactive Waste Management

The NNSS plays a pivotal role in the cleanup of historic nuclear weapons sites in the United States by providing a safe and environmentally-effective facility for the permanent disposal of low-level radioactive, mixed low-level radioactive, and classified waste. The waste disposed at the NNSS is accepted only from approved DOE and DoD sites and must comply with the Nevada National Security Site Waste Acceptance Criteria (NNSSWAC).

Low-Level Radioactive Waste
Typical low-level waste includes materials such as rags, papers, filters, equipment, discarded protective clothing and construction debris. Low-level waste does not include high-level waste, spent nuclear fuel, transuranic waste, or radioactive by-product materials.

Mixed Low-Level Radioactive Waste
Mixed low-level radioactive waste contains both hazardous waste, as defined by the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA), and low-level radioactive waste. As a result of the presence of the hazardous component, mixed low-level radioactive waste is regulated and managed separately from low-level radioactive waste. This waste is disposed in the Mixed Waste Disposal Unit at the Nevada National Security Site Area 5 Radioactive Waste Management Site. The Mixed Waste Disposal Unit is RCRA-permitted and features a multi-layer liner and collection system, which drains any potential moisture away from the buried waste containers.

Receipt and disposal of low‐level waste
Receipt and disposal of low‐level waste Air Force Radioisotope Thermoelectric Generators used in Alaska

RWM postersClick here to download posters displayed at the December 14, 2016 public meeting  on the permit modification request to construct and operate a new mixed low-level radioactive waste disposal cell.

NNSSWACClick here to download an electronic copy of the NNSSWAC (2016). Users of the NNSSWAC are responsible for ensuring that printed versions of this document are the current revision as posted on this website.

Additional Waste Management Videos:
Yputube NNSS Radioactive Waste Disposal (2012)
Yputube Area 5 (2009)

More Information
PDF Icon Waste Disposal at the NNSS