nuclear - Hazardous Waste Definition of Hazardous Waste...

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1 Hazardous Waste Definition of Hazardous Waste • There is no hard definition of what constitutes hazardous waste, but a number of properties are considered. • The key element is whether a substance is dangerous to human health or the environment it may be disposed of in. Types of Hazardous Waste • There are a number of properties of material that may make it considered hazardous (but not necessarily so) • Toxicity, corrosiveness, ignitability, reactivity, radioactive or infectious are all things considered in judging a material hazardous or not.
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2 Toxic • If something is toxic that means it is poisonous even in very small amounts (like lead, mercury etc.) • Toxins can have different effects on the human body but they are generally either – quick acting where the effects are acute or immediate (causing death or serious illness) – Long term where the effects build up over time i.e. they might be carcinogenic, chronic or mutagenic • Corrosive wastes are wastes with a alkaline (high pH 12.5 or up) or acidic (low pH 2 or lower) nature. This nature destroys many materials and organic tissues • Reactive Wastes – these are unstable materials that will produce a vigourous chemical reaction when exposed to air, water or other substances • Ignitable wastes are those which burn at relatively low temperatures (60 C or less) which means they can often spontaneous combust at normal room temperatures or only somewhat above • Infectious Waste are those which come from medical sources (both hospital or research centers - including human tissue, used needles or bandages etc.
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3 Radioactive Waste • This is material that is radioactive – these are unstable substances which will decay to produce radiation which can be damaging to biological tissue • There are two main types – High level (like what comes from a nuclear plant) – Low level (from medical or other industrial applications) Radioactive Waste • The problem with radioactive waste is that is can take very long times (as much as billions of years) to decay down to a harmless material. • Because of the scope of the problem radioactive waste is always handled separately from other types of hazardous waste (we will look at radioactive waste next term) • Hazardous waste makes up 1% or less of household waste, but it can significantly contaminate a site. • Most hazardous waste is created in industrial processes. • Since there are so many different types of hazardous waste it means each different type of material has to be dealt with differently
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4 What to do with it? • Some hazardous waste can be dealt with by processing it chemically, physically or biologically to render it safe or recycle it • Other material can be incinerated • The other option is some type of disposal • This applies to both household and industrial waste and we will cover several specific topics that are examples of this Nuclear Energy and it’s waste • In the atom, the nucleus is composed of protons and neutrons. These are much larger than the electrons which are orbiting.
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nuclear - Hazardous Waste Definition of Hazardous Waste...

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