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Radiation Protection Series No. 20

Safety Guide for Classification of Radioactive Waste (2010)

Radioactive waste arises from the industrial, medical and research use of radioactive materials. Some of this waste has such low activity concentrations that it falls below regulatory concern or within discharge limits that allow it to be disposed of to the atmosphere, sewer or landfill. More active radioactive waste can be stored for short periods until it has decayed to very low level radioactive waste or to levels below regulatory concern and disposed of with non-radioactive waste. Radioactive waste with higher activity concentrations needs to be managed pending access to disposal facilities. It is important that all types of radioactive waste be correctly classified to ensure that appropriate disposal measures can be implemented.

This Safety Guide sets out non-prescriptive, best practice guidance for classifying radioactive waste and is based on IAEA General Safety Guide Classification of Radioactive Waste (No. GSG-1) published in 2009. The Safety Guide is qualitative in nature with the intention being that users will have appropriate flexibility to classify their waste in accordance with internationally accepted methods and terminology.

Download the Code of Practice

(PDF 997k)

ARPANSA no longer sells physical copies from the Radiation Protection Series. If you require this publication in a Word format please contact us.

Errata to online edition

Several minor editorial errors were identified in the online edition of RPS 20, published 6 May 2010. These errors have now been corrected in PDF file above.

Corrections made to 21 May 2010 were:

  • Foreword, first paragraph: amend last sentence to read "... to adopt a nationally uniform system of classification of radioactive waste which ..."
  • Page 8, third paragraph: delete "Schedule 6 of the NDRP" and replace with "Schedule 4 of the NDRP".
  • Page 9, Figure 1: Delete "HLW Exempt waste (exemption)" and replace with "EW Exempt waste (exemption)".