Innovating to improve radioactive waste management

Managing radioactive waste from industries such as radiopharmaceutical production remains a challenge

The PREDIS European project aims to develop innovative activities for the management of radioactive waste, for which there is currently no solution. IMT Atlantique is one of the project’s seven work package leaders and will contribute to research on innovative approaches for the treatment and conditioning of metallic waste. Abdesselam Abdelouas, a researcher working on the project at IMT Atlantique, gives us an overview.

 

Can you describe the broader context for the PREDIS European project?

AA: The management of radioactive waste from the nuclear power cycle, as well as from other industries such as healthcare, radiopharmaceutical production, farming and mining operations, remains a challenge and requires the development of new methods, processes and technologies.

What is the project’s goal?

AA: The aim of PREDIS is to reduce the overall volume of waste destined for disposal and to recycle radioactively contaminated metallic waste. Reducing the volume of waste will make it possible to avoid building costly new disposal sites. The consortium will strive to test and assess innovative approaches  (methods, processes, technologies and demonstrators) for the treatment and conditioning of radioactive waste.

How do you plan to achieve this goal and what are the scientific hurdles to overcome?

AA: As part of this project, we’ll be selecting a well-known or new chemical process, improving it and adapting it for greater applicability. This process will also have to meet environmental requirements, in particular in regard to the toxicity of the materials used and the volume of effluents produced by the treatment.

How are IMT Atlantique researchers contributing to this project?

AA: Bernd Grambow and I are radiochemistry professors at IMT Atlantique’s Subatech laboratory, and we are coordinating Work Package 4 on metallic waste treatment. Beyond this coordination mission, we will be conducting research into decontamination and management of treatment effluents.

The PREDIS consortium brings together 48 partners. Which ones are you working with the most?

AA: In Work Package 4, we interact with some twenty mainly European partners, but we work more closely with the CEA (Marcoule), the University of Pannonia (Hungary) and the Czech Technical University (CTU).

What are the next big steps for the project?

AA: The PREDIS management team had been meeting on 16 June 2020 to prepare for the kick off meeting scheduled for September 2020.

Interview by Véronique Charlet for I’MTech

 

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