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Glossary

A B C D E F G H I L M N O P Q R S T U V W Z

Radioactive Waste
Radioactive waste is any waste that emits energy as rays, waves, or streams of energetic particles. Sources of such wastes include nuclear reactors, research institutions, and hospitals.

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Radionuclide
A radionuclide is a radioactive element characterized according to its atomic mass and atomic number, which can be artificial or naturally occurring. Radionuclides have a long life as soil or water pollutants. Radionuclides cannot be destroyed or degraded; therefore, applicable technologies involve separation, concentration and volume reduction, immobilization, or vitrification.

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Radon
Radon is a colorless, naturally occurring, radioactive, inert gaseous element formed by radioactive decay of radium atoms.

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RCRA Brownfields Prevention Initiative
The RCRA Brownfields Prevention Initiative supports the design of pilot projects to test approaches that better integrate reuse considerations into the corrective action cleanup process. The initiative also addresses concerns that application of RCRA to cleanup activities may slow the progress of cleanup efforts.

RCRA Brownfields Prevention Targeted Site Efforts (TSE) Initiative
The RCRA Brownfields Prevention TSE Initiative is intended to focus short-term attention and support on sites where cleanup has been delayed or slowed and to serve as a catalyst for completing the cleanup at such sites in order to prevent them from becoming brownfields sites. The initiative applies to sites where significant potential for redevelopment and reuse exists and where limited EPA support would be required to bring the Sites to the next level of cleanup.

Reactivity
Reactive wastes are unstable under normal conditions. They can create explosions and or toxic fumes, gases, and vapors when mixed with water.

Ready for Reuse (RfR) Determination
An RfR is a new type of document developed by EPA to provide potential users of Superfund sites with an environmental status report that documents a technical determination made by EPA in consultation with states, tribes, and local governments. The environmental status report indicates whether all or a portion of a property can support specific types of uses and remain protective of human health and the environment. The RfR guidance was issued by EPA in February 2004.

Record of Decision (ROD)
A ROD is a legal, technical, and public document that explains which cleanup alternative will be used at a Superfund NPL site. The ROD is based on information and technical analysis generated during the remedial investigation and feasibility study (RI/FS) and consideration of public comments and community concerns.

Release
A release is any spilling, leaking, pumping, pouring, emitting, emptying, discharging, injecting, leaching, dumping, or disposing into the environment of a hazardous or toxic chemical or extremely hazardous substance, as defined under RCRA.

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Removal Action
A removal action usually is a short-term effort designed to stabilize or clean up a hazardous waste site that poses an immediate threat to human health or the environment. Removal actions include removing tanks or drums of hazardous substances that were found on the surface and installing drainage controls or security measures, such as a fence at the site. Removal actions also may be conducted to respond to accidental releases of hazardous substances. CERCLA places time and money constraints on the duration of removal actions.

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Representative Sampling
The term representative sampling refers to a portion of material or water that is as nearly identical in content and consistency as possible to that in a larger body of material or water being sampled. To prevent segregation and to provide a level of accuracy, the sample is representative of the volume and nature of the material being sampled.

Resin
Resins are solids or semi-solids, originally of plant origin, used principally in lacquers, varnishes, inks, adhesives, synthetic plastics, and pharmaceuticals. Man-made resins, also called synthetic plastics, have a wide range of applications from manufacturing of household goods to architectural and industrial uses.

Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA)
RCRA is a federal law enacted in 1976 that established a regulatory system to track hazardous substances from their generation to their disposal. The law requires the use of safe and secure procedures in treating, transporting, storing, and disposing of hazardous substances. RCRA is designed to prevent the creation of new, uncontrolled hazardous waste sites.

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Response Action
A response action is a short-term removal action or a long-term remedial response, authorized under CERCLA that is taken at a site to address releases of hazardous substances.

Return to Reuse Initiative
The Return to Reuse Initiative was announced by EPA on November 10, 2004. This initiative focuses on NPL sites that were cleaned up before EPA's current emphasis on considering reuse during response activities, many of which remain vacant. Under this initiative, EPA is committed to reviewing remedies in place to determine whether there are relatively modest ways to alter the remedy, without triggering changes to the ROD, to encourage reuse of these sites.

Reuse Assessment
A reuse assessment involves the collection and evaluation of information to develop assumptions about reasonably anticipated future land uses at Superfund sites. It provides a tool for implementing the Superfund land use directive and can involve a review of available records, visual inspections of the site, and discussions with local government officials, property owners, and community members about potential future land uses.

Risk Communication
Risk communication, the exchange of information about health or environmental risks among risk assessors, risk managers, the local community, news media and interest groups, is the process of informing members of the local community about environmental risks associated with a site and the steps that are being taken to manage those risks.

Risk-Based Corrective Action (RBCA)
As defined by EPA, RBCA is a streamlined approach through which exposure and risk assessment practices are integrated with traditional components of the corrective action process to ensure that appropriate and cost-effective remedies are selected and that limited resources are allocated properly. RBCA refers specifically to Standard Guide E 1739 for Risk-Based Corrective Action Applied At Petroleum Release Sites, published by ASTM. The RBCA process can be tailored to applicable state and local laws and regulatory practices.

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