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NUKEM Technologies, a leading provider of innovative solutions for the management of radioactive waste, is pleased to announce the successful completion of the mock-up for its cutting-edge solidification plant.

This milestone marks a significant achievement in advancing the safe and efficient treatment of radioactive waste generated during the operation and decommissioning of nuclear power plants and facilities.

Radioactive waste poses a unique challenge, and NUKEM Technologies addresses this concern by employing the In-drum cementation method. Cementation is a widely adopted and cost-effective solution for encapsulating various types of radioactive waste into a solid, secure form suitable for long-term storage.

Before deployment in nuclear facilities, machines and equipment for waste treatment undergo thorough testing at full-sized test facilities, known as mock-ups. NUKEM Technologies' modular design and intensive training program ensures seamless installation and operation of the cementation unit at client sites, reducing the need for vendor supervision.

The cementation units developed by NUKEM Technologies can treat a wide range of radioactive waste, including high salt-loaded evaporator concentrates, radioactive ash from incinerators, ion-exchanger resins, absorber and filter materials, radioactive sludge as well as NORM waste and hazardous waste from oil and gas extraction facilities, refineries and the chemical or medical industry.

The in-drum cementation process involves sealing liquid radioactive waste inside a 200-liter drum. The end products are externally uncontaminated steel drums containing immobilized waste in a cement matrix. The system includes:

  • the in-drum mixer,
  • all necessary drum handling systems such as grippers and roller conveyors,
  • drum transfer and lidding/de-lidding system,
  • dosing system for liquid additives and radioactive liquid waste,
  • camera system,
  • dry material filling station,
  • tracking system,
  • radioactivity surveillance,
  • wipe test,
  • weighing system for the drums,
  • overflow sensor.

The entire process is designed for automatic operation, minimizing the need for operator interaction. A unique QR code is generated for each drum, containing essential information about the waste, ensuring transparency and traceability throughout the process.

The hot cell, where mixing operations take place, operates with a highly tightened inflatable pneumatic sealing system to guarantee zero leakage during liquid waste pumping and dosing operations. The in-drum mixer, with its four degrees of freedom, ensures a complete homogenous mixture and an excellent product quality regarding the compressive strength and leach rate for radio nuclides of the final cement product.

NUKEM Technologies prioritizes reliability and low maintenance requirements in its equipment design. The entire facility, including the in-drum mixer, roller conveyors, and other components, is remotely controlled from a central command center. Operators have real-time visibility into ongoing processes, allowing for quick response to any deviations from expected behavior.

NUKEM Technologies in Karlstein am Main, Germany, is world-wide active in the areas of management of radioactive waste and spent fuel, decommissioning of nuclear facilities, engineering and consulting. For more than 60 years NUKEM Technologies provides high quality products, technologies and services, where Innovation, Solutions and Excellence are closely linked.

Yvonne Amend
NUKEM Technologies Engineering Services GmbH
Zeche Gustav 6, 63791 Karlstein am Main
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