Construction has started at the Melton Valley TRU (mainly plutonium contaminated material) project. Foster Wheeler is prime contractor for the DoE privatisation project, which is worth $193 million. BNFL Instruments is key waste characterisation subcontractor. Other members of the team include Duratek Federal and Northwind Environmental.

BNFL Instruments will provide non-destructive examination and assay for 3400 drums of contract-handled (CH) TRU and 350 large shielded caissons of remote-handled (RH) solid TRU wastes to be processed for the five year project. These wastes, produced at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory during separation and purification of rare radionuclides, include highly radioactive isotopes of curium, californium, neptunium and small quantities of TRU radionuclides such as plutonium and amercium.

The CH drummed waste assay services will be operated by BNFL Instruments using the IPAN/GEA system that the company developed in the late 1980s. The more difficult remote handling assay will be carried out using a small package version of the same system.