News | Sunday, 31 January 2010

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Radioactive waste to be stored in Ghallis facility

A storage facility for the treatment and storage of low-level radioactive waste is being proposed by waste agency WasteServ.
The facility will store radioactive waste under conditions which “do not pose a threat to human health and the environment”, and will be located at the Ghallis waste management complex.
WasteServ refused to reveal the nature of the radioactive material and where it is presently stored when asked by MaltaToday, limiting itself to saying that “it is presently stored at the sites where this waste is generated”.  
Internationally, the term ‘low-level radioactive waste’ refers to the by-products of the beneficial use of radioactive materials, such as medical diagnosis and treatment, biomedical and pharmaceutical research, and manufacturing.
According to WasteServ, in Malta low-level radioactive wastes are generated in relatively small quantities. This includes “orphan sources from past activities and wastes from present day activities.”
The need for setting up this facility in Ghallis was identified in the process to establish a hazardous waste treatment and storage facility in Malta. The design of this facility together with the actual operation of the store will be carried out according to International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) standards.  WasteServ was for the past years involved in a project funded by the IAEA ‘Establishing a Low-Level Radioactive Waste Storage Facility in Malta’ which involved expert technical assistance to set the design and operational requirements for the facility, the development of procedures for the handling and long term management, and the training of personnel responsible for the operation of the facility.
Funding from the IAEA included €141,346 for the provision of the instruments required to manage this site.

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