Here's What Happens to Nuclear Waste

Nuclear waste comes in three different forms and all with their own method of storage.
Loukia Papadopoulos

Nuclear power is fantastic because it allows us to use small amounts of fuel to produce incredible amounts of energy. However, this process also results in some very dangerous waste products. These waste products are harmful to both human beings and the ecosystem and come in three different forms.

The first, generally called low-level nuclear waste (LLNW), makes up around 90 percent of the volume of all radioactive waste and consists of items that have become contaminated with radioactive material such as clothing, mops, reactor water treatment residues, equipment and tools, medical tubes, injection needles, and laboratory animal carcasses and tissue.

The second, called intermediate-level nuclear waste (ILNW), consists of 7 percent of total nuclear waste and contains some long-lived radioisotopes present on materials such as used reactor filters, reactor components, and some effluents from reprocessing. 

The third and final kind, called high-level radioactive waste (HLNW), consists of highly radioactive materials that make up around 3 percent of nuclear waste by volume.

How are these different types of waste stored? Which is most dangerous and inconvenient to get rid of? What impact does the storage of such waste has on our planet? We answer all these questions and more in our video.