Kurion-U.K. radioactive waste-treatment project clears testing hurdle

Courtesy of NNL and Kurion

Kurion, Inc., and the United Kingdom's National Nuclear Laboratory (NNL) said on Tuesday that they have completed the non-radioactive testing phase of the GeoMelt In-Container Vitrification (ICV) waste-treatment plant, which is set to be built at NNL’s Central Laboratory on the Sellafield site near Seascale, England.

NNL and Kurion staff demonstrated the system for the U.K. Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA) using simulated nuclear waste.

The next phase will be the dismantling and transporting of the system to the Sellafield site, where it will receive final commissioning and begin operations.

"We are proud to work with the U.K.’s National Nuclear Laboratory to install a GeoMelt system at its Central Laboratory, which is emerging as an innovation hub for developing solutions for radioactive waste around the world,” Kurion founder John Raymont said. “Leading decision makers from the U.S., Japan and Europe have come to respect the great work taking place at the NNL, and we intend to use this new system as a demonstration platform for the worldwide nuclear market.”

The GeoMelt system allows for full melts and small testing activity, giving operators at the NNL facility more flexibility in processing radioactive waste. The U.K.’s Radioactive Waste Inventory indicates approximately 300,000 tons of waste material in storage can be treated through thermal methods.

“The cold-commissioning of the GeoMelt system is an important milestone as part of our core mission to evaluate options to improve the lifecycle cost for managing and dispositioning waste streams in the U.K. nuclear complex, including problematic waste streams that currently lack a path to disposal,” Nick Hanigan, director of waste management and decommissioning for NNL, said. “Furthermore, this collaboration with Kurion brings together world-class scientists and engineers to accelerate the treatment of hazardous and radioactive waste.”

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