WASTE REMEDIATION

  • Development of waste remediation techniques
  • Clean up of uranium-rich aqueous wastes
  • Decontamination studies of soils
  • Collaborative research projects with clients

Removal of Pu contamination from soils
AWE plc funded a pilot study to investigate high-field magnetic separation of paramagnetic minerals. Particle size separation was also used for the removal of plutonium from soils to reduce the Pu content to below 0.4 Bq/g. The study achieved successful clean-up and proposed an engineering concept for the establishment of a ‘soil’s clinic’ at AWE which could cost-effectively decontaminate 90% or more of the soils. A pilot-scale plant was envisaged that could process up to 1 tonne per hour of soil.

Removal of U and other contaminants from clay-rich soils
A laboratory-scale evaluation of a low-energy electrokinetic remediation technique for the removal of Pu, U and other anthropogenic contaminants from nuclear site soils was commissioned. GAU-Radioanalytical worked in collaboration with the patent holders, the University of Brighton, to investigate the system.

Study of soil washing for tritium remediation
Consultancy and analytical support has been provided to Nukem Ltd (now Nuvia Ltd) as part of a scoping study to evaluate the effectiveness of soil washing and size partitioning to remediate tritium contaminated soils.

Decontamination of aqueous solutions using bone-char
This study was undertaken on behalf of Brimac Environmental Services Ltd to investigate the application of bone-char for the removal of contaminants from aqueous waste streams. Initial results have demonstrated that a wide range of elemental species can be adsorbed / incorporated into bone-char, including actinides, Cs and Tc. The relative ease of producing these compounds and their stability indicates that there is considerable potential for the application of this sorbent material in the isolation of radionuclides from aqueous nuclear waste streams and the stabilisation of these wastes during storage and disposal. A range of possible long-term storage options are packaging of the dried phosphatic powders, grouting with cement, or incorporation into phosphatic or borosilicate glass.