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Intermediate-Level Waste (ILW)

Intermediate-Level Waste (ILW) refers to a type of radioactive waste that falls between low-level and high-level waste in terms of radioactivity. Unlike low-level waste (LLW), ILW contains higher concentrations of radioisotopes, hence it requires more robust containment and shielding to ensure safe handling and disposal. However, unlike high-level waste (HLW), ILW does not generate significant amounts of heat due to radioactive decay, making its management relatively less complex.

Typically, ILW originates from the core components of nuclear reactors, spent nuclear fuel processing, or from certain uses in medical, industrial, and research activities involving radioactive materials. These waste materials can include items such as reactor components, resins, filters, and contaminated materials that have been exposed to radiation.

To ensure the long-term safety of human health and the environment, ILW is often placed in engineered facilities known as deep geological repositories. These repositories are designed to isolate ILW from the biosphere effectively, utilizing multiple barriers to prevent the release of radioactivity into the environment over the thousands of years required for decay to safe levels.