Management of Wastes Containing Long-lived Alpha Emitters: Characterization, Processing and Storage

Closed for proposals

Project Type

Coordinated Research Project

Project Code




Approved Date

30 September 2016



Start Date

20 September 2019

Expected End Date

31 December 2022

Completed Date

26 January 2024

Participating Countries

Iran (Islamic Republic of)
Russian Federation


The project is aimed at promoting waste minimization, effective storage (including long term storage), and the development of new technologies for the characterisation (including safeguard related parameters), and processing of waste streams containing long-lived alpha emitters (including disused sealed radioactive sources) of different activity levels and physical states. The objective of CRP is to improve understanding of the inventory, diversity and methods of handling wastes containing long-lived alpha emitters. The CRP will provide a forum to facilitate cooperation and sharing of common challenges, experiences, research & development and technological activities associated with the development of processes suitable for the characterization, pre-treatment, treatment, and conditioning of high alpha wastes to meet the waste acceptance criteria for storage and final disposal.


The objective of the CRP is to improve understanding of the inventory, diversity and methods of handling high alpha waste to meet the waste acceptance criteria for storage and final disposal. It aims to understand the scope of high alpha waste issues and bring together researchers, technology providers and nuclear waste owners and operators to identify promising solutions to the challenges posed.  

Specific objectives

High alpha wastes characterisation.

Analysis of materials for immobilization of high alpha wastes.

High alpha wastes pre-treatment.

Inventory and classification analysis.

High alpha waste containerisation.

High alpha wastes treatment and conditioning.

Understanding high alpha waste behaviour in storage.

Development waste acceptance criteria for disposal of high alpha waste.

Understanding waste package behaviour in storage.


The CRP brought together researchers working on a niche problem that, while typically small in magnitude, is a serious and difficult problem. The disposition of organic wastes bearing high levels of alpha activity, be they solid or liquid, isn't always an easy problem to solve without very costly thermal methods (i.e., incineration, pyrolysis, etc.). This CRP expanded the science behind not only thermal treatments of solids and liquids but direct incorporation of alpha bearing liquids into various immobilization matrices. The work done by the CRP members will help other states with similar waste streams start down the right path to disposition these wastes according to their inventory and economic needs.

The CRP also recognized the need to deal with dilute aqueous wastes that are too concentrated to be freely released but would be too costly to store or conventionally (thermally) treat. Multiple approaches were researched during the course of this project that may lead to viable technologies for the decontamination of wastewater streams with varying levels of alpha contamination (ranging from dilute to concentrated). This will augment traditional techniques, such as evaporation, that can deal with these types of waste streams.


This CRP was timely and relevant as almost all states with a nuclear fuel cycle will have some degree of organic or dilute wastes and few states, including well established states, have comprehensive plans to treat all of these waste streams. This information will provide a sound foundation for future research work to adapt the concepts presented here to national programs and establish participant programs as potential partners for future development.

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