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Operational Experience With a Commercial Plant for Stabilisation of Radioactive Sludge and Other Materials in the United Kingdom

[+] Author Affiliations
M. Hagan, R. M. Cornell, B. Riley

Nuvia Limited, Dorchester, Dorset, UK

B. Ware

RSR Limited, Dorchester, Dorset, UK

Paper No. ICEM2009-16042, pp. 155-161; 7 pages
  • ASME 2009 12th International Conference on Environmental Remediation and Radioactive Waste Management
  • ASME 2009 12th International Conference on Environmental Remediation and Radioactive Waste Management, Volume 1
  • Liverpool, UK, October 11–15, 2009
  • Conference Sponsors: Nuclear Engineering Division and Environmental Engineering Division
  • ISBN: 978-0-7918-4407-6 | eISBN: 978-0-7918-3865-X
  • Copyright © 2009 by ASME


In 2000, Nuvia Limited was contracted to design, build and commission a waste treatment plant (WETP) to stabilise the active sludge stored in the External Active Storage Tanks (EAST) at UKAEA Winfrith, UK. The sludge was generated during the operational period of the prototype Steam Generating Heavy Water Reactor (SGHWR), which is now in the process of being decommissioned. This work supports UKAEA’s mission, which is to carry out environmental restoration of its nuclear sites and to put them to alternative uses wherever possible. Recently UKAEA has been reorganised and responsibility for the site lies with Research Sites Restoration Limited (RSRL) with funding provided by the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA). The process of stabilisation of the SGHWR sludge from the EAST tanks within 500 litre stainless steel drums in the Winfrith EAST Treatment Plant (WETP) using ordinary Portland cement (OPC) and blast furnace slag (BFS) is now almost complete. At this stage it was planned to decommission and demolish the WETP facilities but RSRL have introduced a further stabilisation project involving thorium metal waste ahead of the start of the planned decommissioning. As a result, the facilities are to be revised to provide for the encapsulation of bars of thorium metal within modified 500 litre drums together with a number of necessary changes to the plant control system. The cell line used for stabilisation consists of five operational cells separated by shield doors designed to maintain strict contamination control. There is a wet cell where the drums are filled with sludge and powder, a cell with stations for curing and grouting the drums, a cell for lidding, bolting and QA inspection, a maintenance and gamma monitoring cell and a buffer store to hold the completed drums. After completion, drums are moved in a shielded overpack to the Treated Radwaste Store located on a different part of the Winfrith site. In the revised cell line configuration the wet cell will be completely isolated and not used and the drums, after introduction, are to be taken to the original re-work cell located to one side halfway along its length. The modification to this cell to make it suitable for handling the thorium bars will be described together with changes to the drum design to centralize the bars ahead of their stabilisation under revised grouting arrangements using OPC and Pulverised Fly Ash (PFA). The final aspects of the paper will briefly describe the approach that is to be adopted for the final decontamination and demolition of both the EAST facility and WETP plant and associated buildings.

Copyright © 2009 by ASME



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