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Radioactive Graphite Handling


Technical and Economic Grounds for the Development and Introduction of Radiation Safe Technology for Handling and Treatment of Spent Radioactive Graphite from RBMK-Type Reactors

Tech Area / Field

  • FIR-DEC/Decommissioning/Fission Reactors
  • ENV-RWT/Radioactive Waste Treatment/Environment

8 Project completed

Registration date

Completion date

Senior Project Manager
Tocheny L V

Leading Institute
Federal State Unitary Enterprise Research and Development Institute of Power Engineering named after N.A.Dollezhal, Russia, Moscow


  • Energiewerke Nord GmbH, Germany, Lubmin\nFRAMATOME, France, Paris La Défense\nAEA Technology, UK, Chesire, Risley Warrington

Project summary

The urgency of this project is caused by the following reasons:
- over 100 thousand tons of RG have been accumulated in the world as a result of long termeservice of NPPs with gas and water cooling moderated graphite reactors in Russia, USA, UK, France. RG contains the broad spectrum of high-live activity radionuclids, which are extremely dangerous for ecology;
- hazardous for the environment is accumulation in irradiated graphite of 14C (whose half-life is 5730 years) and 3H, which may cause global contamination of natural complexes of the Earth, as they are part of practically any organic and inorganic compounds;
- lack of economical technologies on the separation of long-lived isotope 14C from irradiated graphite,
- natural impurities of uranium and thorium into composition of the initial graphite (around 0.5 kg of uranium per 2000 t of graphite), also fission products of the man-caused origin there (e.g. the mass of the damaged fuel spills in the BNPP AMB-100 reactor stack is about 100 kg);
- the load-carrying structure and concrete with limited resources of strength, where RG situated.

The main aim of the project is the technical-economic estimation of handling RG technologies, which based on analysis of RG conditions into Russian reactors, and developed criteria of ecological safe of handling RG.

During this project following activities will be carried out:

- comparative analysis of data of the calculational and experimental investigations of radioactive condition RG stacks in water cooling moderated graphite reactors: 1-1 reactor of the Siberian Chemical Integrated Plant and two reactors AMB-100, AMB-200 of Beloyarskaya NPP, unit 1 with RBMK-1000 reactor of LNPP;
- development of criteria of nuclear and radioaction safety of handling RG of gas and water cooling moderated graphite reactors at the following steps: time delay, stack dismantling, RG immobilization and conditioning, stages of transportation to long-term storage;
- development of the conceptual designs of plants and equipment by following technologies:

- dismantling of graphite stacks with using of the remote controlled system,
- immobilization and conditioning RG into the epoxy-furan radiation-stable matrix in a container for subsequent long-term storage,
- elimination RG by burning in the fluidized bed and in the superdiabatic combustion mode, immobilization and conditioning of ash residue for subsequent. burial in storage,
- inclusion of RG into a monolith with high strength properties and its subsequent entombment in protective containers out of slag and stone cast;
- processing in the self-subtained high-temperature synthesis (SHS) mode of radioactive graphite wastes into forms providing. their environmentally safe disposal for a long term,
- long term storage in the local store.

- calculation cost of handling 1m3 of RG according to the complete cycle of handling RG for the different technologies of immobilization and conditioning
- development of the recommendations how to introduce the offered technology, marketing investigations.

Technical approach

During carrying out of the project following data will be used:

- experience of calculated and experimental investigations of conditions graphite accumulated by RDIPE during designing and commissioning of water cooling moderated graphite reactors;
- teorethical and experimental methods of the chemical composition of graphite, phycomechanical and radioactive properties of RG of the leading organizations, such as Minatom RF (RDIPE, GNC RF-FEI, GNC RF NIIAR, RNC "Kurchatovsky Institute" and etc.);
- existing wide experience and technical information about different technologies of handling RG offered by RDIPE,SGNII "VNIPIET", ISMAN, IKhFCh RAN, VF VNIIAM, ATOMMASh, NIKIMT as well as USA, UK, France, Germany and others.

Inspection of RG stacks of RBMK reactors (units 1, 2 of LNPP) and AMB-100, AMB-200 reactors of Beloyarskaya NPP for development of criteria of nuclear and radiation safety of handling RG.

Anticipated results

The following results will be obtained as the result of the project implementation:

- Based on the analysis of data obtained as a result of an investigation of conditions of RG reactor stacks, will be developed: methods of the calculated experimental forecasting of radionuclide activity; main principles and criteria of nuclear, radiation and ecological safety on all stages of handling RG; conception of long-term conservation of RG, conceptual model of informational database of graphite stacks of water-cooling moderated graphite reactors.
- There will be developed the conceptual projects of pressure-tube reactors how to handle RG on the different stages of activity.
- Based on the economic analysis, technologies of handling RG will be chosen. The recommendations of introduction of these very technologies will be also developed.

Potential role of International collaborators

Not only control and estimation of results are potential role of International collaborators. Taking into account a topicality of the problem not to Russia only but to France, UK, Germany, USA will be possible to carry out common activities in frame of the project. Other technologies (which are in another countries-collaborators) could be examined for using in project. So as to use technologies of other countries-collaborators, they (collaborators) have to put a sufficient information to make the comparative technical-economic analysis of these technologies.


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