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Waste Management

Waste Minimization

Low Level Waste

The goal of the Berkeley Lab is to avoid the generation of radioactive waste to the extent possible and minimize radioactive waste where practical.  Each year Berkeley Lab reviews generating processes to look for waste avoidance or minimization opportunities.  These may include product substitution, microscale experiments, and implementation of appropriate technology.

The graph below represents the accomplishments of the research and operating staff at the Berkeley Lab to reduce the amount of low level waste as a result of research and operations.  These figures are normalized to present a comparable picture from year to year.  The quantity of radioactive waste generated:

  • includes the volumes of low level waste from the neutralization of mixed waste,
  • excludes the volumes of low level waste that will decay and exit regulation as radioactive waste,
  • excludes the volume of scintillation vials that meet the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) criteria for disposal as non-radioactive waste.  Note: this volume is added to the volume of hazardous waste.
  • Excludes non-routinely generated low level waste.

Low-level waste reduction


Nonroutine low level radioactive wastes include legacy wastes generated during past operations, or other one-time wastes generated during renovation, decommissioning, construction, demolition, or site restoration activities.