Radioactive waste is any waste that contains radioactive material. Radioactive (or nuclear) waste is a byproduct from nuclear reactors, fuel processing plants, hospitals, various industrial applications and research facilities. Radioactive waste is hazardous to most forms of life and the environment, and is regulated by government agencies in order to protect human health and the environment.
Low-level waste, LLW, comes from reactor operations and from medical, academic, industrial, and other commercial uses of radioactive materials. Low-level wastes include paper, rags, tools, clothing, filters, and other materials which contain small amounts of mostly short-lived radioactivity. Low-level waste (LLW) has a radioactive content not exceeding 4 giga-becquerels per tonne (GBq/t) of alpha activity or 12 GBq/t beta-gamma activity. LLW usually does not require shielding during handling and transport, most LLW is suitable for shallow land burial. To reduce its volume, it is often compacted or incinerated before disposal.