Processing Technologies for High Level Waste, Formulation of Matrices and Characterisation of Waste Forms

Closed for proposals

Project Type

Coordinated Research Project

Project Code




Approved Date

8 September 2011


3 - Active - Ongoing

Start Date

25 June 2012

Expected End Date

27 June 2016

Completed Date

27 June 2016

Participating Countries

Russian Federation
South Africa
United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland
United States of America


The proposed CRP will address problems in the area of high level waste immobilization and is of interest to countries that have either adopted the closed fuel cycle or could decide to do so in future. It will contribute to the solution of existing and anticipated future problems related to processing techniques, properties of matrices, and characterization of waste forms. The CRP objectives are to encourage further research and development and exchange of information amongst member states on: (i) improved processing techniques to ensure more effective performance of existing plants and to address future needs, arising from innovative fuel cycles and flow-sheets;  (ii) formulation of vitreous and ceramic matrices for immobilization of high level waste to achieve higher waste incorporation, better processing features, enhanced durability, and to address new waste compositions; and (iii) characterization of waste forms.


To assist Member States in the use of pre-disposal technologies for the safe, sustainable and cost-effective management of high level waste arising from the reprocessing of spent nuclear fuel using current and novel technologies.  In particular the following waste streams will be addressed: (i) High level waste from current aqueous reprocessing; (ii) Legacy high level waste from historic reprocessing; (iii) High level waste from alternative aqueous reprocessing flowsheets; (iv) High level salt waste from pyroprocessing flowsheets; (v) High level waste from partitioning of radionuclides and (vi) Technological and decommissioning wastes from high level waste processing activities.

Specific objectives

To foster the sharing of knowledge and experience, encourage cooperative research and thereby contribute to the safe and effective management of high level waste, the specific objectives are as follows: Related to waste form: 1. Formulation of glass matrix composition to effectively immobilize waste constituents, enhance waste loading, meet processing requirements, and achieve desired product characteristics 2. Development of other waste forms (e.g. crystalline, glass composite materials, glass bonded zeolite, metallic etc) 3. Characterization of waste form for its structure, properties and durability Related to HLW processing: 1. Enhancement of processing technologies currently in industrial use for vitrification, e.g. hot crucible induction melters, joule heated ceramic melters, cold crucible melters 2. Processing technologies under development, e.g. plasma, HIP. The topics of primary concern for processing of HLW are secondary waste minimization, increased throughput, enhanced melter life, methods for assuring product quality through process control and development of enhanced safety features.

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