Croatian storage method for low-level radioactive waste promising

IAEA and Croatian researchers test a new method for storing radioactive waste. | Courtesy of the IAEA
The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) said this week that new technology for storing low-level radioactive material has the potential to create safer storage and transportation methods.

The technology was developed by a Croatian company that specializes in radiation protection. The method utilizes borehole disposal to store and transfer low-level radioactive material several hundred feet underground in sealed containers.

The IAEA said many countries currently use temporary storage or facilities close to the earth’s surface, which can pose risks if they are not sealed.

Low-level radioactive waste often comes from the health care and industrial sectors not necessarily associated with energy generation.

“Low activity sources pose the larger challenge because they exist in large quantities around the world and in different forms and variations,” Andrew Tompkins, a nuclear engineer at IAEA, said.

The IAEA said the development of this technology also is partially driven by an increasing focus on security and counteracting the potential use of radioactive material by terrorist groups and other violent organizations. With the borehole method, the material can't be easily accessed by any individual.

The IAEA said this technology will serve to protect people and the environment from radioactivity.


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