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Radiation Protection

What is Transuranic Radioactive Waste?

Transuranic radioactive waste is waste that contains manmade elements heavier than uranium on the periodic table. It is produced during nuclear fuel assembly, nuclear weapons research and production, and during the reprocessing of spent nuclear fuel. Transuranic waste generally consists of protective clothing, tools, and equipment used in these processes.

Transuranic waste consists of materials containing alpha-emitting radionuclides, with half-lives greater than twenty years and atomic numbers greater than 92, in concentrations greater than 100 nanocuries per gram of waste. The WIPP Land Withdrawal Act specifically excludes high-level waste and spent nuclear fuel from the definition, as neither is allowed to be disposed of at the WIPP.

For more information about the specifics of transuranic waste, visit the DOE's Waste Isolation Pilot Plant, Waste Characterization webpage.

For more information about EPA’s role at the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant, visit the WIPP webpage.

Return to Frequent Questions about Radioactive Waste: WIPP.