Key parameters for retrieval of radioactive waste

T. F. Jones, A. D. Pachowko, D. Harbottle, D. Rhodes, S. R. Biggs

Research output: Contribution to conferenceConference presentation/ephemerapeer-review


Throughout the United Kingdom, the management of radioactive legacy wastes is important if successful mobilisation and retrieval technologies are to be implemented. This requires knowledge and measurement of certain key physical properties of the sludge itself, which is complicated by limited access for sampling and measurement. Some wastes were laid down before systems were put in place to properly document their constituents while others have consolidated into sludge layers with poorly understood yield properties below supernatant liquids. The primary challenge is therefore to gain enough knowledge about the contents of tanks and silos to facilitate mobilisation, retrieval, transportation, dewatering and buffer storage. For example the extent of the settled layer, its size consist, particle density and the precise position of large objects which have been discarded into the same space should be known before specialised technology can brought to bear. Expensive sampling campaigns have indicated partial answers to some of these questions, but do not have the advantages of reliable on-line visualisation and remote measurement (or inference) of key variables. The paper describes the key challenges faced in mobilising and retrieving legacy nuclear waste from the point of view of what information may be required. The importance of matching the key parameters to the retrieval technologies will be discussed, and how the decision of what technology to use will change depending on the pond and silo sludge characteristics, will be made.

Original languageEnglish
Number of pages6
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2005
Externally publishedYes
Event10th International Conference on Environmental Remediation and Radioactive Waste Management, ICEM'05 - Glasgow, Scotland, United Kingdom
Duration: 4 Sep 20058 Sep 2005


Conference10th International Conference on Environmental Remediation and Radioactive Waste Management, ICEM'05
Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom
CityGlasgow, Scotland


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