Navigation Links
Volume of nuclear waste could be reduced by 90 percent, says new research
Date:11/6/2013

The researchers, from the University of Sheffield's Faculty of Engineering, have shown that mixing plutonium-contaminated waste with blast furnace slag and turning it into glass reduces its volume by 85-95 per cent. It also effectively locks in the radioactive plutonium, creating a stable end product.

The approach could also be applicable to treating large volume mixed wastes generated during the eventual clean-up of the damaged Fukushima plant.

"The overall volume of plutonium contaminated wastes from operations and decommissioning in the UK could be upwards of 31,000 m3, enough to fill the clock tower of Big Ben seven times over," says lead researcher, Professor Neil Hyatt. "Our process would reduce this waste volume to fit neatly within the confines of just one Big Ben tower."

The current treatment method for non-compactable plutonium contaminated wastes involves cement encapsulation, a process which typically increases the overall volume. Hyatt says, "If we can reduce the volume of waste that eventually needs to be stored and buried underground, we can reduce the costs considerably. At the same time, our process can stabilise the plutonium in a more corrosion resistant material, so this should improve the safety case and public acceptability of geological disposal."

Although the ultimate aim for higher activity wastes is geological disposal, no disposal sites have yet been agreed in the UK.

Plutonium contaminated waste is a special type of higher activity waste, associated with plutonium production, and includes filters, used personal protective equipment (PPE) and decommissioning waste such as metals and masonry.

Using cerium as a substitute for plutonium, the Sheffield team mixed representative plutonium contaminated wastes with blast furnace slag, a commonly available by-product from steel production, and heated them to turn the material into glass, a process known as vitrification.

A key element of the research, funded by Sellafield Ltd and the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC), was to show that a single process and additive could be used to treat the expected variation of wastes produced, to ensure the technique would be cost effective.

"Cerium is known to behave in similar ways to plutonium so provides a good, but safe, way to develop techniques like this," explains Professor Hyatt. "Our method produces a robust and stable final product, because the thermal treatment destroys all plastics and organic material. This is an advantage because it is difficult to predict with certainty how the degradation of plastic and organic materials affects the movement of plutonium underground."

Professor Hyatt is now working on optimising the vitrification process to support full scale demonstration and plans future investigation of small scale plutonium experiments.


'/>"/>

Contact: Abigail Chard
abigail_chard@yahoo.co.uk
44-079-604-48532
University of Sheffield
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology news :

1. Neurotechnology Announces MegaMatcher Accelerator 6.0 High-speed, High-volume Multibiometric Identification Solution and Updates to Entire Biometric Product Line
2. News tips from the journal mBio®, volume 4, issue 1
3. NYBG press publishes final volume of landmark Intermountain Flora series
4. AcelRx Pharmaceuticals Receives First U.S. Patent for Small-Volume Oral Transmucosal Dosage Forms
5. Striatal brain volume predicts Huntington disease onset
6. BUSM researchers identify genes that influence hippocampal volume
7. CNIO researchers identify a new gene that is essential for nuclear reprogramming
8. Invention could make spent nuclear fuel useful for irradiation purposes
9. UT MD Anderson scientists uncover the nuclear life of actin
10. Fallout from nuclear testing shows that the Achilles tendon cant heal itself
11. Biologists map rare case of fitness-reducing interaction in nuclear, mitochondrial DNA
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:3/28/2017)... , March 28, 2017 The ... Hardware (Camera, Monitors, Servers, Storage Devices), Software (Video Analytics, ... Region - Global Forecast to 2022", published by MarketsandMarkets, ... 2016 and is projected to reach USD 75.64 Billion ... and 2022. The base year considered for the study ...
(Date:3/24/2017)... 24, 2017 The Controller General of Immigration from ... Abdulla Algeen have received the prestigious international IAIR Award for the ... Continue Reading ... ... Controller Abdulla Algeen (small picture on the right) have received the IAIR ...
(Date:3/23/2017)... The report "Gesture Recognition and Touchless Sensing Market by Technology (Touch-based ... to 2022", published by MarketsandMarkets, the market is expected to be worth USD ... 2022. Continue Reading ... ... ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:10/11/2017)... and LAGUNA HILLS, Calif. , Oct. ... Cancer Research, London (ICR) and University ... SKY92, SkylineDx,s prognostic tool to risk-stratify patients with multiple myeloma ... MUK nine . The University of Leeds ... partly funded by Myeloma UK, and ICR will perform the ...
(Date:10/10/2017)... ... 2017 , ... San Diego-based team building and cooking events company, Lajollacooks4u, has ... The bold new look is part of a transformation to increase awareness, appeal to ... period. , It will also expand its service offering from its signature gourmet cooking ...
(Date:10/10/2017)... 10, 2017 International research firm Parks Associates announced ... at the TMA 2017 Annual Meeting , October 11 in ... residential home security market and how smart safety and security products impact ... Parks Associates: Smart Home ... "The residential security market has ...
(Date:10/9/2017)... DIEGO , Oct. 9, 2017  BioTech ... biological mechanism by which its ProCell stem cell ... critical limb ischemia.  The Company, demonstrated that treatment ... amount of limbs saved as compared to standard ... the molecule HGF resulted in reduction of therapeutic ...
Breaking Biology Technology: