Higher Level Nuclear Waste
Nuclear waste: mm3 high level waste
Radioactivity can cause serious damage to human health, and as yet, no treatment or permanently secure storage solution exists for higher level radioactive wastes, such as that generated by the nuclear power industry and from decommissioning nuclear power stations. Such wastes need to be stored for periods of 10,000 years or more before their radioactivity reaches safe levels.The World Nuclear Association states that higher level nuclear waste (high and intermediate level waste) accounts for a very low percentage of nuclear waste, around 10% by volume, but 99% of its radioactivity. Other characterisation methods, such as the Swiss Ecopoints, use the volume of highly active radioactive waste as a category.
The characterisation factor for the category is measured in mm3 of spent fuel, high and intermediate level radioactive waste. All of these wastes:
- are highly radioactive, accounting in total for more than 99% of the radioactivity attributed to the nuclear industry;
- have no agreed form of permanent disposal anywhere in the world;
- require storage for at least 10,000 years before they may be safe.