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Innovative Method of Preparing Nuclear Waste for Burial Invented by Siberian Scientists
May 28, 2018 11:57


According to the developers, the method makes it possible to destroy dense, water-insoluble sediments, which crust on the bottom of a tank with SNF.
Scientists from the Siberian Federal University (SFU) have developed an innovative technology for safe storage of radioactive waste from spent irradiated nuclear fuel. This was reported about by one of the method’s authors, Professor Vladimir Kulagin from the SFU.
Presently, the safest way to handle radioactive wastes is to dispose them for a long time after a special curing process, or the cementing of radioactive waste. One of the problems of this process is the presence of sparingly soluble sediments in the pulp (a mixture of solid particles and liquid) that must be removed before disposal.
Specialists of the Siberian Federal University have suggested using the cavitation technology to solve this problem. Cavitation is the process of generation and subsequent collapse of vacuum bubbles in a liquid flow under the decrease in pressure, accompanied by hydraulic shocks, i.e. the formation of cavities (or voids) in the liquid, which may contain sparse vapor.
With the collapse of cavitation microbubbles in the process of cavitation treatment of water insoluble substances, even super strong minerals such as diamond are destroyed. It happens due to a change (activation) of its physicochemical properties and other effects, for example, the occurrence of fields of high pressures, temperatures and shock effects.
The method, created by scientists of SFU, makes it possible to destroy dense, water-insoluble sediments, which crust on the bottom of a tank with SNF. The sediments are eroded with acid solutions based on cavitation-activated water.
"Our method provides an increase in the rate of dissolution and the volume of recovered sediments by about 1.5 times as compared with conventional technology. When mixed in a cement matrix, cavitation treatment of water in the production of cement compound with the inclusion of radiochemical waste leads to an increase in the strength of cement stone in 2-3 times as compared with the preparation of the solution in the usual way”, - Professor Kulagin pointed out.
Prospects of the Method
According to the researcher, studies with real and model pulp were conducted in the laboratories of the Integrated Mining and Chemical Plant in Zheleznogorsk (of the Krasnoyarsk Territory). As for experiments on cavitation treatment of water, they took place at the laboratory of the Siberian Federal University. 
"Preliminary results on the decontamination of radioactively contaminated equipment have already been obtained. They confirm the promise of cavitation technology in the area of ​​handling particularly hazardous waste, for example, when decommissioning nuclear facilities. There is also a preliminary agreement to continue these works and expand the range of tasks using cavitation”, - Professor Kulagin concluded.
The article about the research work by scientists from the SFU has been published in the journal Chemical and Oil-and-Gas Engineering. The article is also available in the English language in the US journal Chemical and Petroleum Engineering, which is a translated version of the above-mentioned Russian journal.


Sources: http://tass.ru 

Author: Vera Ivanova

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