NEWMDB - The IAEA Nuclear Waste Management Database IAEA - International Atomic Energy Agency

Glossary of Terms


waste classification
a method used to group various types of radioactive waste according to their physical, chemical and radiological characteristics - the following discussion is limited to radiological classification

Historically, Member States have developed and used a variety of waste classification schemes for their radioactive waste. Commonly used waste classes include:
Low Level Waste (LLW),
Intermediate Level Waste (ILW),
Medium-Level Waste (MLW),
Low and Intermediate Level Waste (LILW),
Heat Generating Waste,
High Level Waste (HLW),
Alpha Bearing Waste,
Transuranic Waste (TRU),
spent sealed radioactive sources (SRS) - can be a subset of disused sources,
Spent Fuel (SF),
decommissioning Waste (DW), and
Uranium Mine and Mill Tailings (UMMT).

Other classes that have been used include de minimis, Below regulatory Concern (BRC), and Very Low-Level Waste (VLLW), which have been used by various Member States to classify waste with the lowest levels of radioactivity.

The above waste classification schemes are based on both qualitative and quantitative criteria in which wastes are grouped according to their origin, activity content, radiotoxicity and thermal power. It is understood that there is a substantial overlap between the foregoing waste classes. It should be noted that waste classification schemes have been developed for practices and usually do not address natural material e.g. NORM and TE-NORM.

A waste classification scheme was proposed by the IAEA in Section 3 of Safety Guide 111-G-1.1, "Classification of Radioactive Waste". The proposed classification scheme is based on quantitative criteria in which wastes are grouped according to the safety aspects of their management, especially disposal options. Click Here to view the IAEA’s proposed scheme.

Member States may report their radioactive waste inventories to the NEWMDB according to their own waste classification schemes. However, Member States MUST specify the relationship between their own scheme(s) and the IAEA’s proposed scheme using the NEWMDB’s waste class matrix feature.
Waste Data Component
the NEWMDB component that is used by Country Co-ordinators to report radioactive waste inventories, waste treatment methods, waste conditioning methods and disused/spent, sealed radioactive source (SRS) inventories at waste management sites in their countries to the NEWMDB
Waste Expert
a person designated by a Country Co-ordinator or a Report Co-ordinator to assist with reporting to the NEWMDB

A Country Co-ordinator defines the number and structure of Reporting Groups for reporting to the NEWMDB. A Waste Expert can be assigned to one or more Reporting Groups and have read and write access for only the Reporting Groups to which they are assigned. A Country Co-ordinator or a Report Co-ordinator can also limit the information that a Waste Expert can access within an individual Reporting Group.

A Country Co-ordinator and/or a Report Co-ordinator grants permission to a Waste Expert.
waste form
waste in its physical and chemical form after treatment and/or conditioning (resulting in a solid product) prior to packaging. The waste form is a component of the waste package
waste management facility
1. a facility specifically designated to handle, treat, condition, store or dispose of radioactive waste.

2. any facility or installation the primary purpose of which is radioactive waste management, including a nuclear facility in the process of being decommissioned only if it is designated by the Contracting Party as a radioactive waste management facility. [Joint Convention definition - not recommended for IAEA publications]
waste management site
For reporting to the NEWMDB, a Waste Management site is (a) limited to sites licensed under nuclear or radioactive materials regulations of the Member State and (b) includes at least one waste management facility. With regards to licensing, the identified facilities could be covered under the license of another facility, such as a nuclear reactor.
waste package
the product of conditioning that includes the waste form and any container(s) and internal barriers (e.g. absorbing materials and liners), prepared in accordance with the requirements for handling, transport, storage and/or disposal
wastewater treatment
a collection of treament methods for removing contaminants (pollutants) from water that has been used

water/acid washing
a treatment method used in the United States of America to wash High Level Waste tanks after the mechanical removal of bulk sludge