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Partitioning of Radioactive Waste


Development of the Technology for Partitioning of Radioactive Waste Arising in Spent Nuclear Fuel Reprocessing

Tech Area / Field

  • ENV-RWT/Radioactive Waste Treatment/Environment

3 Approved without Funding

Registration date

Leading Institute
Institute of Geochemistry and Analytical Chemistry, Russia, Moscow

Supporting institutes

  • IGEM (Geology & Mineralogy), Russia, Moscow\nVNIIKhT (Chemical Technology), Russia, Moscow\nA.N.Frumkin Institute of Physical Chemistry and Electrochemistry, Russia, Moscow\nKhlopin Radium Institute, Russia, St Petersburg\nNPO Mayak, Russia, Chelyabinsk reg., Oziorsk\nAll-Russian Scientific Research Institute of Non-Organic Materials named after A. Bochvar, Russia, Moscow

Project summary

Project Goal

The primary goal of the project is to develop the state-of-the-art technology for radionuclide partitioning in the process of radioactive waste treatment followed by the conversion thereof into final waste forms suitable for long term safe storage or transmutation.

By the time being over 1.5 billion Curie of high level radioactive waste is accumulated at the Production Association "Mayak" as the result of defense and commercial reactor spent fuel reprocessing. That quantity annually increases on account of reprocessing newly coming fuel elements from the operating NPPs, power and shipping facilities. The technology currently used at PA"Mayak" for liquid waste treatment without prior partitioning has certain disadvantages, namely:

- the presence of non-radioactive elements in radioactive waste substantially increases the waste volume intended for storage;
- the presence of a-emitting radionuclides in the vitrified waste forms does not guarantee the long term safe storage.

Preliminary radioactive waste partitioning would allow selective separation of different radionuclides or radionuclide groups with different half lives and to prepare those for separate long-term safe storage or transmutation.

Main Tasks of the Project

- development and tests of complex technology for radioactive waste partitioning based upon the extraction, sorption, and precipitation techniques aimed at separating different radionuclides or groups thereof;
- development of the alternative techniques for radionuclide solidification;
- sharing experience and acquaintance with the state-of-the-art technologies for radioactive waste treatment in the US, France, England and Japan, holding the International workshops as well as participation in the international conferences in the field;
- creation of the Technical Code for complex radioactive waste partitioning and solidification technologies.

Expected Results

Accomplishment of the project tasks would allow to:

- estimate existing and create the complex technology for partitioning radioactive waste of different composition providing for separation of inpidual radionuclides and fractions thereof;
- create the technology for waste solidification providing for conversion of inpidual long lived radionuclides or fractions thereof into solid forms suitable for long term safe storage;
- create the Technical Code for complex radioactive waste partitioning and solidification technologies.

Technical Approach and Methodology

The task of creating modern technologies for liquid radioactive waste solidification and partitioning will be solved on the basis of the generalized experience gained by the Russian and foreign experts in the field.

The following techniques will be studied under the project:

- modem extraction techniques for long lived radionuclide separation using the extractants based on different crown-ethers, dicarbollides, bidentate organophosphorous and other compounds, as well as new more efficient layouts for the extraction based separation processes will be developed;
- sorption techniques for long lived radionuclide separation using inorganic electron ion exchangers and composite organomineral sorbents;
- precipitation techniques for REE and TPE separation using alkaline metal ferrocyanides.

Results of the research studies and tests under the project would allow creating optimum technological schemes for liquid radioactive waste treatment.

Results of the proposed project will be of the great importance for solving environmental issues of the Production Association "Mayak" and other radiochemical enterprises in Russia and could be widely used to solve similar tasks in the countries doing the spent fuel reprocessing. The issues of creating modern technologies for radioactive waste treatment were repeatedly discussed at the international conferences and forums.

Currently the project participant organizations are maintaining contacts on the issues related to the radioactive waste treatment with the U.S. Department of Energy and Commissions on the Nuclear Energy of France, England and Japan.

The letters of support for the Project Proposal have been received from Consulting Engineer of High-Level Waste Program (Idaho National Engineering Laboratory) Terry A.Todd, from the consultant to Los Alamos National Laboratory, Lockheed Martin at the Idaho Falls site, the Rocky Flats site, and the Hanford site, a member of three committees of the National Research Council/National Academy of Sciences, professor of Florida State University Gregory R. Choppin, from Director of the Institut fur Radiochemie, Forschungszentrum Rossendorf Prof.Dr. Heino Nitsche and from Director of Nuclear Safety Research Center of Japan Atomic Energy Research Institute Prof. Mitsuru Maeda.


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