Costain wins hot contract to treat Sellafield waste with heat

The firm claims its plasma vitrification technology could ‘truly revolutionise the treatment’ of nuclear waste

Costain has won a hot contract to treat Sellafield waste with heat.

The smart infrastructure solutions firm will demonstrate the effectiveness of using thermal treatment to clean up drums of Plutonium Contaminated Material (PCM) – these drums are the product of many years of reprocessing nuclear fuel at the site.

It aims to prove thermal treatment technology can substantially reduce the volume of contaminated waste at the facility and in doing so provide an “economic long-term waste route” for the hazardous material.

Along with its partner Tetronics, it will deploy plasma vitrification technology capabilities on simulated materials in a test environment, ultimately hoping to reduce the costs and risks associated with disposing of the UK’s nuclear waste.

The trial is worth around £250,000 and will run for six months – this will be extended if the test is successful.

Rob Phillips, Sector Director at Costain, said: “I am delighted at the award of this contract which demonstrates Costain’s leading edge thinking in the area of nuclear waste management and active collaboration with our clients to shape the future of nuclear decommissioning.

“This technology could truly revolutionise the treatment of a huge volume legacy waste and significantly reduce the cost of the long-term storage to the UK taxpayer.”

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