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Topic Page on Low-Level Radioactive Waste Management

Statement of the Issue

The 1980 Low-Level Radioactive Waste Policy Act, as amended in 1985, established a framework for the states to provide for safe disposal of low-level radioactive waste (LLRW) and encouraged the creation of regional compacts to develop an appropriate network of disposal sites.

The deadlines established for the development of new sites have passed, with no new sites being opened. Political, judicial, and administrative obstacles have blocked the development of sites and have limited the disposal options for higher-activity classes of waste within existing sites.

Disposal options for the highest-activity classes of waste are limited and may no longer exist for a majority of the states after 2008. In addition, the current regulatory framework results in excessive and overly restrictive requirements for disposal of the lowest-activity class of waste. The effect of these obstacles and restrictions is to interfere with optimal use of radioactive materials in medicine, research, energy production, and technology.

The use of all available options, including private, commercial, and federal facilities, can facilitate the orderly, safe, and efficient disposal of radioactive waste.

Health Physics Society Documents

Position Statement

Low-Level Radioactive Waste Management Needs a Complete and Coordinated Overhaul - A Position Statement of the Health Physics Society (9/2005)

Background Information on "Low-Level Radioactive Waste Management Needs a Complete and Coordinated Overhaul" (9/2005)

Congressional Testimony

HPS Written Testimony to the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee Hearing on Low-Level Radioactive Waste Issues (9/29/2004) 


HPS Comments on DOE scope of an EIS on Greater-Than-Class-C LLW Disposal (9/17/2007) 

HPS writes to Senators Graham and DeMint expressing concerns about Barnwell's closure to nonregional waste in 2008 and asking for their involvement in a national solution (3/2007)

HPS Comments on NRC LLW Management Strategies and Priorities (8/23/2006)

HPS Responses to GAO Questions on LLRW Management (1/30/2006)

HPS Responses to GAO Questions on LLRW Management (2/28/2005)

HPS Comments on EPA ANPR on Management and Disposal of Low-Activity Radioactive Waste (4/28/2004) 


Presentation by J. Scott Kirk to NMA/NRC Workshop: Legislative and Regulatory Initiatives on LLW (5/25/2005)

Presentation by President Ray Guillmette to CRCPD: HPS-GAO Interactions on LLRW Issues (4/28/2005) 

Selected Congressional, Federal Agency, and Other Organization Documents

American Nuclear Society

ANS Position Statement: Disposal of Low-Level Radioactive Waste (11/2004)

California Radioactive Materials Management Forum

Letter to Senator Pete Domenici (11/15/2005) 

Department of Energy

Federal Register Notice of Intent to Prepare an Environmental Impact Statement for the Disposal of Greater-Than-Class-C Low-Level Radioactive Waste as corrected (7/23/2007) 

Environmental Protection Agency

Federal Register Advanced Notice of Proposed Rulemaking: Approaches to an Integrated Framework for Management and Disposal of Low-Activity Radioactive Waste: Request for Comment; Proposed Rule (11/18/2003) 

Government Accountability Office

Report: Low-Level Radioactive Waste, Approaches Used by Foreign Countries May Provide Useful Lessons for Managing U.S. Radioactive Waste (3/2007) 

Testimony: Low-Level Radioactive Waste, Future Waste Volumes and Disposal Options Are Uncertain (9/30/2004) 

Report: Low-Level Radioactive Waste, Disposal Availability Adequate in the Short Term, but Oversight Needed to Identify Any Future Shortfalls (6/2004) 

Low-Level Radioactive Waste Forum, Inc.

LLW Forum Discussion Paper on Management of Commerical Low-Level Radioactive Waste (9/22/2005)

National Academies

Improving the Regulation and Management of Low-Activity Radioactive Wastes: Report in Brief and Executive Summary (3/2006)

Nuclear Regulatory Commission

"The Need for Alternatives to Low-Level Radioactive Waste Disposal" Prepared Remarks for The Honorable Gregory B. Jaczko, Commissioner, U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, at the Electric Power Research Institute's 2007 International Low-Level Waste Conference and Exhibit Show, 26 June 2007

History and Framework of Commercial Low-Level Radioactive Waste Management in the United States: ACNW White Paper, NUREG-1853 (1/2007)

Federal Register Notice: Request for Comments on the Nuclear Regulatory Commission's Low Level Radioactive Waste Program (7/7/2006) and Extension of the Comment Period (7/27/2006) 

South Carolina General Assembly

News article on The titled "Legislators slam door to nuclear waste site" (3/2007)

House Bill 3545 to allow nonregional waste into the Barnwell waste-disposal site until 2023 (2/2007) 

United States Senate

Hearing before the Committee on Energy and Natural Resources 108th Congress Second Session to Receive Testimony Regarding Issues Related to Low-Level Radioactive Waste (9/30/2004)