The global engineering company Jacobs, under a contract with Radioactive Waste Management Ltd. (RWM), will be studying the release of radioactivity from irradiated graphite taken from reactor core samples at the United Kingdom’s nuclear power plants. According to Jacobs, the research will support RWM, a subsidiary of the U.K. government’s Nuclear Decommissioning Authority, in its analysis of graphite behavior and the options for graphite waste management in the future.
RWM commissioned Jacobs to measure and characterize releases of carbon-14 for comparison with releases from irradiated graphite in earlier reactor types, including the United Kingdom’s first generation of Magnox civil nuclear power plants. Jacobs said that its research will have a significant bearing on the safe management and disposal of graphite waste arising from the decommissioning of Britain’s fleet of graphite-moderated advanced gas-cooled reactors (AGR). The United Kingdom plans to close all 14 of its AGRs, located at seven plant sites, by the end of the decade.
The Jacobs contract has an initial duration of two years. Subject to experimental program results, it may be extended by an additional two years.
What they’re saying: “We’re combining our leading graphite knowledge from our Integrated Waste Management team at Harwell, our role as designer and architect engineer of the advanced gas reactor and Magnox reactors, and our work on operational support and life extension,” said Clive White, senior vice president of Jacobs Critical Mission Solutions. “Our Technology and Innovation Centre at Birchwood Park, Warrington, is applying this graphite knowledge to work through options for safe and timely characterization, retrieval, treatment, and storage solutions to meet the growing global decommissioning market.”