Westinghouse Electric Company and nuclear waste management company Perma-Fix Environmental Services plan to jointly develop a state-of-the-art advanced materials treatment facility in the United Kingdom. During the 2022 Waste Management Symposia, held last week in Phoenix, Ariz., the two companies signed a nonbinding agreement to cooperate on a facility that will provide low-level radioactive waste treatment services to the European market.
The new facility, which is to be built at Westinghouse’s Springfields nuclear site in Lancashire, will use Perma-Fix’s Bulk Processing Unit (BPU) to treat LLW materials. A large, refractory lined oven, the BPU is heated to 1,800°F (982°C), which Perma-Fix says is sufficient to thermally break down all organic material in the waste, resulting in a stable residue suitable for disposal.
According to Perma-Fix, the BPU accepts a broad range of material types while reducing waste volume by 30 to 100 times, which meets the waste acceptance criteria of European disposal facilities. Capable of thermally processing both liquid and solid wastes, the BPU also eliminates the risk of cross-contamination, the company said.
They said it: “We are thrilled to partner with Westinghouse as we expand our proven technology to the European market,” said Mark Duff, chief executive officer of Perma-Fix. “With the success that our BPU vessel has had in the United States for over two decades, we are eager to bring this technology to new markets, enabling more plants globally to enhance their capabilities when it comes to handling radioactive waste removal. In the U.K. alone, there are over 5.1 million tons of total waste for treatment, including radioactive waste in storage and anticipated waste from decommissioning operations.”
Sam Shakir, president of Environmental Services at Westinghouse, added, “We look forward to working with Perma-Fix to provide European customers with increased access to the full range of treatment capabilities—from characterization, packaging, consignment, and transport, to receipt, storage, sort and segregation, treatment, and final disposal.”