Waste Management and Decommissioning

WM&D carries out R&D and provides operational plant support services covering processing of operational and historic wastes, management of liquid and aerial effluents, waste immobilisation of LLW and higher activity wastes (cementation, vitrification), decommissioning, management of radioactive contaminated land and both surface and geological disposal.

Waste & Residues Processing Services – Waste & Residues Processing

W&RP operate a suite of state-of-the-art co-located medium active laboratories, a “small rig” hall and a flexible processing plant, all of which can operate with depleted, natural, low enriched and high enriched uranium, recycled uranium and other radioactive materials.

The W&RP team supports all aspects of waste & residue processing and has developed a “phased” methodology by which materials are assessed and a solution presented:

Phase 1
Historical Assessment

Phase 1A

Phase 2
Laboratory testing for processing via extant route

Phase 3
Development of ad-hoc process at laboratory scale

Phase 4

  • Testing & implementation of ad-hoc process, extant in the Flexible Processing Plant.
  • Testing & implementation of ad-hoc process, extant but modified in the Flexible Processing Plant.
  • Testing & implementation of ad-hoc process NEW to the Flexible Processing Plant.

The W&RP team also carry out a significant amount of uranic fuel cycle work, both in support of operating plants and as part of the UK Government funded Advanced Fuel Cycle Programme (AFCP). In conjunction with other teams W&RP also supply plant design and consultancy services.

Customers: Current and recent customers include SFL, DSRL, Ultra Electronics, BEIS, AWE, URENCO, LLWR, SL, Rolls-Royce and (via SFL) a variety of overseas customers.

Skills: The W&RP team comprises c. 10 professional chemists and chemical engineers, most with decades of experience in the uranium chemistry/waste and residue field, plus a number of highly experienced process operators; the team has decades of expertise in:

  • Characterising and assessing wastes and residues.
  • Improvement of existing chemical processes and invention of new uranic fuel cycle and waste and residue processes.
  • Laboratory testing and development of uranic fuel cycle and waste and residue processes.
  • Process flowsheeting.
  • Plant design, commissioning and operation.
  • Plant support.
  • Waste and residue processing (> 3000 drums processed).

Facilities: W&RP operate a suite of medium active laboratories handling hundreds of kg uranium and other radioactive materials per annum; as well as standard laboratory equipment, W&RP operate X-Ray Diffraction (XRD), Scanning Electron Microscope-Energy Dispersive X-ray (SEM-EDX), X-Ray Fluorescence (XRF), Mass Spectrometry (MS), Thermo-Gravimetric Analysis/Differential Scanning Calorimetry (TGA/DSC) and Liquid Scintillation Counting equipment and have access to a wider range of equipment operated by other teams.

The Flexible Processing Plant contains easily re-configured “modular” items including:

  • Stirred vessels from 25 dm3 to 10,000 dm3 to act as dissolver/leach vessels, contactors, precipitators, settling tanks, blending tanks etc.
  • Various filters and centrifuges.
  • Solvent extraction purification equipment.
  • A Total Enclosure.
  • An industrial washing machine configured to run cycles using detergent or nitric acid.
  • A large and very flexible off-gas scrubber.