Double standards

3 June 2002

Decommissioning experts are increasingly concerned about double standards developing in Europe, which allow 30 times the dose rate from non-nuclear recycled materials than from those out of the nuclear industry.

A 0.3-1.0mSv/yr individual dose constraint is applied to oil and gas recyclables, and 0.01mSv/yr for release of materials with the same kind of radiation from the nuclear industry.

The concern arises because of the very large amounts of Tenorm (technologically-enhanced naturally-occurring radioactive materials) needing recycling or disposal from many sources. The largest Tenorm waste stream is coal ash, with 280 million tonnes arising globally each year.

The double standard means that the same radionuclide, at the same concentration, can either be sent to deep disposal or released for use in building materials, depending on where it comes from.

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