One of the most sensitive issues concerning the production of nuclear energy concerns direct long-term waste. Radioactive waste means the whole complex of by-products, already radioactive sources or later contaminated, of nuclear energy productions.
The radioactive waste management includes all activities, involving the collection, processing, packaging, transport, storage and final disposal of radioactive waste.
It is desirable that such activities are carried out in accordance with universally accepted principles in order to achieve the ultimate goal, through their safe handling, to ensure human safety.
Nuclear energy is an energy source that should be carefully evaluated both in positive and negative aspects. Firstly, it is important to understand how it works. Nuclear energy comes from uranium bombarded with neutrons. During this process radiation is emitted at high intensity.
Metal objects exposed to radiation become radioactive themselves, that is nuclear waste.
The so-produced radioactive waste will survive for thousands of years. No country in the world has come to a definitive solution storage.
As regards nuclear energy, Latvia became a member of the Nuclear Suppliers Group in 1997. Latvia's only nuclear research reactor, located in Salaspils, close to the capital Riga, was shut down in June 1998 and is currently being decommissioned. The IAEA (International Atomic Energy Agency) has helped Latvian authorities to remove weapons grade material from the shutdown research reactor in Salaspils.