Management and shipment of radioactive waste

General information

Radioactive waste means radioactive materials that are not intended for further use. They are subject to regulatory control.

In principle, the company must endeavour to avoid or at least minimise radioactive waste when carrying out practices. The "exercising of a practice" is a human activity that may increase the exposure of persons to radiation from a radiation source and is treated as a planned exposure situation.

If radioactive waste arises from such a situation, the company is responsible for safe management thereof. For this reason, documents containing, amongst others, information on radioactive waste must be submitted to the authorities as early as the radiation protection licensing procedure:

  • the type and average quantity per year,
  • the contained radionuclides and their activity concentrations,
  • the intended method of disposal,
  • possible temporary storage.

If radioactive waste is generated during practices, it must be collected and labelled in the company, taking into account the conditions of acceptance of the waste management facility. The collection must be carried out in containers exclusively intended for this purpose.

Please note

The recipient of a highly active sealed source must, in principle, conclude an agreement with the manufacturer or supplier for the subsequent return of the source. Only in justified individual cases may the authority permit exceptions to this obligation.

If radioactive waste cannot be discharged or cleared, it shall be handed over to Nuclear Engineering Seibersdorf GmbH for treatment and interim storage.

Under certain circumstances, it is also possible to ship radioactive waste to foreign facilities for reprocessing or disposal. Such shipments are subject to the Radioaktive-Abfälle-Verbringungsverordnung (Radioactive Waste Shipment Ordinance – RAbf-VV). However, such shipments are burdensome, as the relevant permits and consents must be obtained from the authorities of the country of origin and the recipient country, as well as from any transit countries.

Enterprises affected

Enterprises producing radioactive waste

Competent authority


Within the framework of the radiation protection licensing procedure for practices, it is determined how radioactive waste is to be managed. To this end, the applicant for a licence must provide the appropriate information on the expected volume of waste during the licensing procedure.

If a shipment of radioactive waste outside the country is planned, the application is to be made using a standard accompanying document according to Appendix 1 of the RAbf-VV.

Further information

Legal bases

Expert information

Tariffs and acceptance conditions for the disposal of radioactive waste ( NES)

Link to form

Last update: 1 January 2024

Responsible for the content: Federal Ministry for Climate Action, Environment, Energy, Mobility, Innovation and Technology