Why is the detection of radioactive sources important to the solid waste industry?: Radioactive material is used extensively in the United States in research, medicine, education, and industry for the benefit of society (e.g. smoke detectors, industrial process gauges, medical diagnosis/treatment). Generally speaking, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission and state governments regulate the use and disposal of radioactive materials. Licensed radioactive waste disposal facilities receive the bulk of the waste generated in the United States with exceptions for low-level waste (e.g. medical patient waste) that may be disposed of as municipal waste. According to the Conference of Radiation Control Program Directors, Inc (CRCPD)., there has been an increasing number of incidence involving the detection of prohibited radioactive wastes at solid waste management facilities. While the CRCPD acknowledges that the increased incidence may be partially attributed to the growing number of solid waste facilities that have detection systems, undetected sources of ionizing radiation can harm the environment, have a negative impact on employee health and safety, and result in significant remedial actions. Implementing an effective detection/response plan can aid in the proper management of radioactive waste and serve to minimize the potential for negative outcomes.

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