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Radiation & Me

Radioactive Wastes

In the early 1980s, the United States federal legislature created two acts dealing with radioactive wastes: the Low-Level Radioactive Waste Policy Act and the Nuclear Waste Policy Act. The Low-Level Waste Policy Act put low-level radioactive waste disposal in the hands of each state while encouraging states to unite to form regional waste compacts. The Nuclear Waste Policy Act represents the process to define permanent disposal for spent nuclear fuel.

There are roughly five categories of radioactive waste: low level, high level, mixed, transuranic, and uranium mining and milling tailings. How a waste is categorized is not necessarily based on the amount of radioactivity, but instead on where the waste is generated.