Radwaste management: ILW

Packing up Bradwell's ILW

13 September 2011

A year-long project has begun at Bradwell to tackle 45m3 of sludges and ion exchange media.

A multinational team led by EnergySolutions and including GNS, Inutec, and James Fisher Nuclear will empty two tanks of waste before conditioning the materials and packaging them in GNS Mosaik containers.

The first task will be to retrieve the waste from the tanks. This task starts with a process of homogenisation, where StemDrive technology is used to mix the waste, re-suspending the solids and preparing the waste to be sampled and then retrieved. The sampling will check that the radionuclide content and activity levels are as expected, a vital aspect in underpinning the safety case and the NDA’s Radioactive Waste Management Division’s ‘Letter of Compliance’ process leading to approval for final disposal.

Once sampled, the waste will be removed using EnergySolutions’ self-engaging dewatering system (SEDS), a reversible pumping system, which will shift it into GNS Type VI boxes. The boxes here are being used as mules to shift the waste away from the vaults, for conditioning within an engineered enclosure elsewhere on site. This step decouples the retrieval and the processing phases of the work, de-risking the project and allowing other vital work to be undertaken on the waste vaults.

Finally, conditioning and treatment is essentially a vacuum drying process that uses the GNS Favorit technology to remove water content, as the waste is packed into Mosaik containers. This process reduces the volume of waste in the packages, optimising container use, and minimises the presence of free liquids, which is of vital importance for longer-term storage and disposal. The packages are then ready to be stored on site until final disposal.

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