Generating electricity, whether by burning fossil fuels or harnessing nuclear power, inevitably produces waste materials.
Nuclear power stations produce waste in relatively low volumes compared to fossil fuel power stations, but the used nuclear fuel and a small proportion of other waste is highly radioactive. Waste produced by the nuclear industry is more heavily regulated than waste from any other energy sector industry. Decades of industry experience have yielded proven techniques for disposing of all levels of nuclear waste.
Waste ash from coal-fired power stations is often sold to the construction and civil engineering industry, where it is used to make cement.
Waste from energy generation
Waste is created when fossil fuel-fired power stations generate electricity. As with any kind of industrial waste, its impact needs to be minimised and managed.
Nuclear waste is classified into high-level, intermediate-level and low-level, based on the level of residual radioactivity. The categories define how each waste product must be treated.