The goal of the Berkeley Lab is to avoid the generation of mixed waste to the extent possible and minimize mixed 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 mixed waste as a result of their activities. These figures are normalized to present a comparable picture from year to year. The quantity of mixed waste generated:
- excludes volumes of mixed waste subject to the decay in place program (this volume is added to the volume of hazardous waste)
- excludes volumes of mixed waste that will be neutralized (this volume is added to the volume of low level waste),
- excludes non-routinely generated mixed waste.
Because Berkeley Lab began tracking routine mixed waste generation in 1994, the 1993
baseline is linearly extrapolated from 1994 and 1995 data.
The drastic reduction from 2004 to 2005 was the result of eliminating the use of certain lots of Ultima Gold scintillation fluid from routine use. Certain lots were found to have regulated levels of 1,2 dichloroethane that resulted in mixed waste when used to analyze radioactive material samples.
In general, non routine mixed wastes include legacy wastes generated during past operations, or other one-time wastes generated during renovation, decommissioning, construction, demolition or site restoration activities.