The goal of the Berkeley Lab is to avoid the generation of hazardous waste to the extent possible. Each year, Berkeley Lab reviews hazardous waste generating processes to look for waste avoidance or minimization opportunities. The graph below shows the result of these efforts. Many of the reductions are due to implementing microscale processes and product substitution.
The graph below represents the accomplishments of the research and operating staff at the Berkeley Lab to reduce the amount of hazardous wastes as a result of their activities. These figures are normalized to present a comparable picture from year to year. The quantity of hazardous waste generated:
- includes the volumes of mixed wastes that will decay and exit regulation as radioactive waste,
- includes the volume of scintillation vials that meet the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) criteria for disposal as non-radioactive waste.
- excludes non-routinely generated hazardous waste.
Nonroutine Hazardous Waste
The Berkeley Lab has more than 100 separate structures, some of which are over fifty years old. The renovation of buildings and other infrastructure to comply with new laws and to accommodate new research directions is a high priority at the Lab. Site renovation activities have included the removal or replacement of single walled underground storage tanks with environmentally safe double walled tanks, the renovation of many cooling towers, the reengineering of the main photographic shop to fully electronic (non-chemical) technologies, and the decommissioning of the Bevatron and Hilac accelerators to name a few. To the extent possible, deconstruction wastes are diverted from the landfill if there are reuse or recycling opportunities.