Tetronics set to pilot technology to help stablise nuclear waste
A leading hazardous waste specialist has secured a government grant to develop a prototype technology to contain and stabilise radioactive waste.
Plasma solutions provider Tetronics International, together with its partner Costain, has won competition led by the Technology Strategy Board, and co-funded by DECC, the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority and the Engineering & Physical Sciences Research Council.
In collaboration, Tetronics and Costain will develop a plasma waste vitrification system to reduce the volume and enhance the stability of stored nuclear waste, with the ultimate goal of reducing the cost of managing it.
Costain is also co-funding various programmes of work to enable the smarter treatment of intermediate level waste and to develop solutions that will significantly reduce final stored nuclear waste volumes.
Tetronics' plasma technology uses intense temperatures and ultra-violet light to treat hazardous and industrial wastes, and metal bearing wastes.
In the instance of nuclear waste management, the plasma vitrification process stabilises the radioactive waste and decreases the volume of waste product before intermediate storage and then geological disposal.
Tetronics CEO Stephen Davies said the company had carried out assessment work to indicate the likely lifetime cost savings of using plasma vitrification to stabilise the unprocessed inventory of wet intermediate level waste, which amounted to "billions of pounds of tax payer savings in the UK alone".