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Radioactive Scrap Metal

At least 50% of the metal we use is recycled. Much of it originates from scrap metal which comes from a variety of sources and is melted together. In some cases, a number of these sources may have been radioactively contaminated either from natural sources (for example, soil) or artificial sources (for example, nuclear power plants).

An increased number of incidents involving radioactive scrap metal has prompted the international community to actively address the issue of monitoring radioactive scrap metal.


Recyclers Issued with Safety Standard for Radioactive Contamination
The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has published its Safety Standard "Control of Orphan Sources and Other Radioactive Material in the Metal Recycling and Production Industries". An article by Waste Management World (20 February 2012).

Bureau of International Recycling (BIR) published World Steel Recycling in Figures 2007 - 2011 -  an important compilation of statistics on the global ferrous scrap markets covering the five-year period between 2007 and 2011. It includes main scrap usage information for China, Japan, Russian Federation, Turkey, USA and the European Union countries as well as data on the use use of steel scrap as a raw material for steel making and for iron and steel foundries. Read more here.

Other recent publications by BIR include World Markets for Recovered and Recycled Commodities 2011. This publication describes in detail world commodity markets during 2010 & 2011, with detailed information by country for world prices, trade & consumption, main importers & exporters, and other detailed data for Ferrous Scrap and Steel. Read more here.

No further expert group meetings planned, and no further work is envisaged by UNECE.