Jacobs to study irradiated graphite for UK Radioactive Waste Management Ltd

12 May 2020

US-based Jacobs announced it has been selected by Radioactive Waste Management Ltd (RWM) to study the release of radioactivity from irradiated graphite sampled from reactor cores of UK nuclear power stations.

The research will support RWM, a subsidiary of the UK Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA), in its analysis of graphite behaviour and the options for graphite waste management in the future.

“We’re combining our leading graphite knowledge from our Integrated Waste Management team at Harwell, our role as designer and architect engineer of the Advanced Gas Reactor (AGR) and Magnox reactors, and our work on operational support and life extension,” said Jacobs Critical Mission Solutions senior vice president Clive White.

“Our Technology and Innovation Centre at Birchwood Park, Warrington, is applying this graphite knowledge to work through options for safe and timely characterization, retrieval, treatment and storage solutions to meet the growing global decommissioning market.”  

RWM has commissioned Jacobs to measure and characterise releases of the radioactive isotope carbon-14 and compare it with releases from irradiated graphite in earlier reactor types, including the UK’s first generation of Magnox power stations.

Jacobs said the research will have a "significant bearing" on the safe management and disposal of graphite wastes arising from the decommissioning of 14 advanced gas-cooled reactors (AGR), which generate nearly 20% of the country’s electricity but are due to be phased out over the next decade.

The contract has an initial duration of two years, but may be extended by an additional two years, depending on experimental results.

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