ANSTO Synroc case studies
The following case studies highlight the benefits that ANSTO’s Synroc technology can provide to the management of complex high level waste (HLW).
The approximately 4400m3 of calcined reprocessed HLW, is very heterogeneous and consists of waste components that are very problematic to incorporate in glass. This significantly restricts possible vitrification waste loadings.
ANSTO has developed tailored glass-ceramic waste forms that overcome these limitations and offer the following technical advantages:
- Extremely high waste loadings up to 80% (three times that of borosilicate glass)
- US$5 billion savings in Yucca Mountain disposal costs (DOE conservative internal estimates) compared to baseline vitrification technology
- Superior chemical durability able to meet relevant disposal requirements
- Process flexibility to accommodate highly heterogeneous compositions.
Highly impure, heterogeneous plutonium residue waste streams present unique technical, safety, security and regulatory challenges.
These small volume wastes were derived from early fuel development activities and had been stored for over 50 years without a disposition route. ANSTO’s Synroc technology was selected by the UK Nuclear Decommissioning Authority as its preferred treatment technology to immobilise these heterogeneous plutonium residues.
ANSTO Synroc has developed flexible glass-ceramic and ceramic waste forms that offer significant advantages including:
- Process flexibility to produce ceramic and glass-ceramic waste forms on a single process line
- Enhanced chemical durability and proliferation resistance
- Lifecycle criticality control
- Cost savings.
ANSTO is currently constructing a Synroc waste treatment facility to treat waste from the newly expanded Molybdenum-99 (Mo-99) production facility, being constructed as part of the ANSTO Nuclear Medicine project. The Synroc plant will also treat legacy waste from past production.
Key benefits of Synroc Technology include:
- Flexible technology capable of treating waste from past and future Mo-99 production
- Large volume reductions
- Reduction in transport and disposal costs
- Regulatory approval to build the expanded Mo-99 production facility was predicated on implementing a safe, secure waste management system that Synroc provides.
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