Categories of radioactive waste in Greece

Radioactive waste in Greece originates from medicine, industry and research applications. The majority of them are medical waste, generated by the application of radioactive sources or materials in the medical sector. The medical waste is very short lived, low-level waste that following in-situ management can be released to the environment.

Apart from the medical waste, small quantities of other radioactive waste are generated in the country that require management. Indicatively: 

  • medium level radioactive waste are expected to be generated during the decommissioning of the NCSR “Demokritos” research reactor; an agreement for repatriation of the spent fuel to the country that provided the nuclear fuel is in place; 
  • radioactive waste are generated when equipment and consumer products containing radioactive materials, e.g. smoke detectors, lighting rods, fluorescent signs, complete their useful life;
  • radioactive sources and materials detected in scrap metal imported by metal recycling industries are characterized as radioactive waste;
  • radioactive sources out of regulatory control (cases of theft, loss or abandonment, etc.) become "orphan" and are characterized as radioactive waste. 

Click to see the inventory of radioactive waste (September 2018).

According to the international standards, the final management solution for radioactive waste may be either release to the environment, provided that the established clearance levels are met, or disposal (emplacement without the intention of retrieval) within a radioactive waste disposal facility. The storage of radioactive waste is not considered as final management solution. 

There does not exist a disposal facility in Greece. There exists a centralized facility for interim storage of radioactive waste. The interim storage facility operates under the Institute of Nuclear and Radiological Sciences and Technology, Energy and Safety (INRASTES) of the National Center for Scientific Research “Demokritos” (NCSR “D”).

Pursuant to Directive 2011/70/Euratom, all Member-States are responsible for the management, from the production till the final disposal of the radioactive waste they generate. Greece is responsible for the safe management of radioactive waste generated within the Greek territory, according to the provisions of the art. 4 of the Presidential Decree no. 122, Government Gazette no. 177/A/12.08.2013, and the National Programme.

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