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Compaction of

Radioactive Waste


Low level dry active waste is one of • high volume reduction ratios,
the main waste streams generated small envelope dimensions
from the operation of nuclear power • up to 20000 kN pressing force
plants or other nuclear facilities. • special designs to match different
Waste of this type is usually drum dimensions and materials
collected in drums or other • compaction inside, an enclosed
containers. In order to save storage volume of the compactor avoids
space and costs, it has to be treated contamination of the environment
prior to disposal. • good maintainability and easy
Compaction can reduce the overall decontamination
volume of drums containing solid • mobile design possible
radioactive material and the
• well proven equipment
technology is well proven.
NUKEM designs and supplies A special advantage of the NUKEM
compactors for the nuclear industry design is that the upper external
that meet all the client’s needs to surfaces of the units are not
achieve efficient and economic encumbered by moving components.
volume reduction. This feature greatly simplifies
The advantages that can be gained attaching an alpha containment and
by using the NUKEM compaction also ensures that a minimal portion
technology directly influence the of the press is installed within the
costs of storage and disposal. contaminated zone. It also makes it
The NUKEM compaction technology possible to design a mobile unit.
presents the following main features:

Pre-treatment of Waste and Waste Characteristics

The bulk of waste produced in storage or disposal. Within limits, wet
nuclear facilities is low level, dry and wastes can also be compacted.
either combustible or non- The following wastes can be
combustible. All of these waste compacted:
streams can be treated by the
NUKEM compaction technology. A
pre-sorting stage is advisable and for
combustible wastes, NUKEM
recommends incineration as a pre-
treatment, since this can bring
additional benefits in terms of safety
and economy in subsequent

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• Scrap metal • Combustion residue (ash, slag)
• Construction materials • Mixed waste such as glass,
• Paper, wood, plastics worn parts, filters
• Elastic materials, such as • Residue from waste water
small amounts of rubber mixed cleaning processes
with other waste • Dry filter residue

Examples of typical volume reduction ratios obtained by employing a high

force compactor

Waste type Ratio Pellet


Mixed scrap metal 6-7 ~15 %

Chips from metal cutting operations 6-7 ~15 %
Ashes from an incinerator 2-3 ~40 %
Insulation material (glass wool) 16 6.3 %
Rubble (bricks, cement) 2.2 45 %
Sand 1.3 77 %
Glass bottles 5.2 28 %

The ratio achieved can be purposes only. For safe operation,

influenced considerably by the certain limits, specific to the material
nature of the waste and the figures to be compacted, should be
above are given for guidance followed.

The NUKEM High Force Compactor Technology

The NUKEM High Force Compactor (HFC) unit consists of the following

• Main compactor body • Liquids handling system

• Drum in-feed system • Switchgear for electrical and
• Pellet delivery system control equipment
• Hydraulic power pack • Control desk
• Air, gas and particulate handling

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The design of the main compactor into the steel structure, where the
body two openings are located. The
The principal component of the com- bolster is guided at all times within
pactor is a forged steel structure with the structure by replaceable
two openings, one for charging bearings.
drums and one for discharging The two doors are part of the
compacted pellets. The top section standard press and are used to
forms the main high-pressure isolate the compaction operation,
cylinder. The lid is fastened to the thus restricting the spread of
steel structure and rigidly supports airborne particles. They are not used
the guiding rod. The main piston if the unit is located in an area
provides the high pressure/low without direct man access.
speed capability while the guiding Certain components, e.g. the bolster
rod provides the low pressure/high liner, and the platens (top, bottom)
speed characteristics. The four are designed to be replaced in the
external hydraulic cylinders serve to event that they wear during the
return the main piston to the upper lifetime of the system.
position. The heavy bolster, or An exhaust opening is provided in
mould, is employed to absorb the one door for the safe release of
high radial loads generated during gases and particulate, produced
the drum compaction process and during the process. In the other door,
avoids transmitting these radial loads an air inlet damper is provided.

Fig. 1 High Force Compactor – Main Compactor Body

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Drum infeed system All components are fitted into or onto
The drums are loaded into the press the steel tank, except for the
via the infeed system, which is hydraulic pump. The unit is installed
directly attached to the main on anti-vibration mountings.
compactor body. The main
components are the base unit, the Gas and particulates handling
loading plate, the drum centering system
device, and the perforating device. In our standard design, the air or gas
The loading plate provides the trans- with particulates displaced during the
portation capabilities while the compaction process is directed to the
perforating device performs a pre compactor chamber outlet, via a
compaction treatment. class S particle filter which is located
The operating sequences of the high in one of the doors. If required, a
force compactor are coordinated direct connection to an existing
from and with the control equipment ventilation system is possible, if
of the high force compactor. necessary with supporting ventilation
equipment (e.g. fan, filter). For clean
Pellet delivery system air, an air inlet damper is located in
The pellets are ejected from the the door on the opposite side.
compactor by the loading plate. The
pellet delivery system provides the Liquids handling system
platform for additional steps e.g. Bulk liquids should be removed from
measuring of height and weight. the debris prior to compaction.
These are optional. The pellet However, any residual liquids
delivery system consists of the base extracted from the drum are
frame and the transfer plate. collected by a ring-shaped drain in
the lower part of the system, that
Hydraulic power pack feeds to a tank for temporary
The hydraulic power pack unit was storage.
especially designed for ease of main-
tainance and low space requirement. Control and electrical equipment
Generally it is located in a separate The switchgear system consists of
room. • a cubicle for the electrical and
The main components are: control equipment and
• Cubical steel tank with a welded • a control desk.
lid In order to satisfy the different
• Immersed hydraulic pump in "on requirements of the compactor, a
line" design with regulated high programmable control system (SPS)
pressure stage coordinates the process. The
• Switchgear individual steps are monitored from
• Oil cooler with cooling water the control desk. The operating
connections conditions are displayed on the
• Immersed heater control panel of the desk. Any
• Oil filter deviation from the correct operating
• Tank vent with filter conditions triggers an alarm.
• Oil filling flange with filter. Depending on the type of deviation, it
is corrected manually or

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Two modes of operation are plate is retracted. The drum placed
possible: on the bottom platen and held in
• Automatic operation position by the bolster.
This is the standard mode. The Step 4: Compacting process
compaction process is performed The bolster and the doors are
automatically. closed. This lowest end position
• Manual operation ensures a complete enclosure of the
Manual operation is possible and drum. The guiding rod is pressurized
is provided only for setting-up, and the main piston moves down
maintenance and repair purposes rapidly onto the drum and starts the
and the repeating tests. first part of the compacting process.
At the same time, the main piston is
filled with hydraulic fluid. When
completed, the pressure in the main
piston chamber and in the guiding
The Operational Steps of rod chamber is increased,
Compaction compacting the drum into a pellet.
Step 1: Loading the drum After reaching a pre-set value, this
The drum is transferred to the drum pressure is maintained for a defined
infeed system with a crane. The period of time in order to maximize
drum centering device positions and the compaction ratio.
aligns the drum on the loading plate. Step 5: Pellet removal
The HFC is at the start position: The After the pressure is reduced, the
bell-shaped bolster and the main compacted drum (i.e. the pellet), is
piston are at the upper position. The ejected from the bell shaped bolster.
doors are open. During this removal stage, the main
Step 2: Preparation before piston remains at its lower stop
compaction position, while the bolster is raised to
The drum is perforated and is moved its upper stop position. Next, the
to the center of the main compactor doors open and the main piston
body below the bolster. Both steps returns to its upper stop position.
are again performed by the drum When inserting a new drum, the
infeed system. loading plate of the drum infeed
Step 3: Positioning for system ejects the pellet from the
compaction bottom platen onto the transfer plate
The bolster is lowered with the four of the pellet delivery system.
external hydraulic cylinders. Before
reaching its end position, the loading

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High Force Compactor: Technical Data
The figures below can be varied according to the waste streams

High force compactor body

Pressing force: variable, up to 20000 kN
Throughput: from 6 - 10 drums per hour
(depending on the handling)
Bolster: 1050 mm diameter
Main piston: matched with the drum diameter
Bolster liner: variable for different drum diameters
Material: ferrite steel

Height: approx. 4000 mm
Width: approx. 1600/2100* mm * with perforating
Length: approx. 4600 mm

Main compactor body 250 kN
Drum infeed system (with drum) max. 16 kN
Pellet delivery system (with pellet) max. 16 kN
Hydraulic power pack (filled) 50 kN

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Fig. 2 High Force Compactor
Limits for materials to be compacted
Stress limit: Rp 0.2 = 400 N/mm² (e.g. pipe with a
nominal diameter of DN 250, 15 mm thick)
Hardness limit: 35 HRC
Diameter: max. 615 mm, min. 500 mm
Height: max. 900 mm
Weight: max. 12 kN
Control system
Type: Siemens S7 or similar
Hydraulic system
Operating pressures: compacting: up to 50 MPa ,
average 26 - 28 MPa
filling: 10 MPa
Operating temperature: 30 - 50 °C
Power consumption: 400 V, 50 Hz, 48 kW
Cooling water: approx. 0,070 m³/min at 5°C and 0.4 - 0.6

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Fig. 3 Drummed mixed metal Scrap for compaction HFC 2000

Fig. 4 Drum with mixed metal scrap after compaction (1500 t)

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Fig. 5 Cross section cut: Drums with mixed metal scrap after compaction

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The NUKEM In Drum Compactor Technology
The NUKEM In Drum Compactor structure with an opening for
(IDC) unit consists of the following inserting 200 litre drums. The upper
systems: section forms the base for the
compression plunger. Additionally, a
• Main compactor body drum retainer can be lowered from
• Drum protection sleeve
• Feed gate
• Plunger its upper position to hold the drum in
• Switchgear for electrical and the correct position. After filling
control equipment manually to a predetermined limit,
• Control desk the compression plunger is lowered.
Depending on the design, individual
Design and operation of the unit maximum forces are achievable.
One or two hydraulic cylinders are
used to deliver the compaction force.
The design is highly flexible and can
The maximum volume reduction ratio
be readily adapted to meet individual
is a function of the waste
requirements. The following
constituents and the applied force
description is given as an example to
and can therefore vary over a wide
illustrate the overall concept.
Generally, In Drum Compaction
In order to protect the surrounding
Technology combines the
area from the spread of conta-
advantages of minimization the
mination during this operation, a
number of drums required together
drum protection sleeve is utilized.
with the ability to fill and document
The displaced air or gas, together
the contents to meet the
with particulates or aerosols, is
requirements of the regulations. The
vented through the filling chamber.
system can be readily integrated into
After retrieving of the plunger to its
a sorting system; indeed, NUKEM In
upper position, additional waste can
Drum Compactors are usually
be added. These steps can be
employed within such an
repeated as often as necessary to fill
up the drum completely.
In this type of compactor, the main
compactor body is a welded steel

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IDC-160 and IDC-500 - Technical Data
Delivery part
Hydraulic unit and control panel: The IDC-160 / 500 is equipped with a
supply unit which consists of:
- Pumps
- Switches
- Level indicators
- Oil tank
- Control panel which is equipped with
operating and control devices, control

Hydraulic: all couplings which are mounted at the
compactor unit
Electric: The same as above, additional the
necessary cables
Hydraulic fluid: The first filling in the scope of supply
Ventilation: The system for IDC-160 has to be
connected to existing ventilation system
The system for IDC-500 consists of
blowers, pre-filter, absolute filter and
Functional: all functional steps are interlocked by limit
Safety: all necessary safety devices and interlocks
are installed to protect the operating

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Fig. 6 In Drum Compactor IDC-160

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In Drum Compactor IDC-160: Technical Data
In Drum compactor body
Pressing force: variable, up to 160 kN
Main piston: matched with the drum diameter
Distance of piston movement: approx. 1200 mm
Pressing time: depending on the loading speed
Material: mild steel, painted with decontaminable

Height: approx.3700 mm
Width: approx.2300 mm
Length: approx.1300 mm

Total weight: approx. 40 kN

Material to be compacted
Paper, laundry waste, filter material, etc.

Volume: approx. 200 litre
Diameter: approx. 600 mm
Height: approx. 900 mm

Control system
Type: Siemens S7 or similar
Hydraulic system
Hydraulic fluid: fire resistant
Operating temperature: 30 - 50°C

Power consumption: 380 V / 50 Hz / power approx. 4 kW
Ventilation exhaust power: approx. 0.5 m³/min

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In Drum Compactor IDC-500: Technical Data
In Drum compactor body
Pressing force: variable, up to 500 kN
Main piston: matched with the drum diameter
Distance of piston movement: approx. 1000 mm
Pressing time: depending on the loading speed
Material: mild steel, painted with decontaminable

Height: approx.3800 mm
Width: approx.1200 mm
Length: approx.1700 mm

Total weight approx. 55 kN

Material to be compacted
Metal, paper, laundry waste, wood, filter material, etc.

Volume: approx. 200 l
Diameter: approx. 600 mm
Height: approx. 900 mm

Control system
Type: Siemens S7 or similar

Hydraulic system
Hydraulic fluid: fire resistant
Operating temperature: 30 - 50°C

Power consumption: 380 V / 50 Hz / power approx. 7.5 kW
Ventilation exhaust power: approx. 7 m³/min

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Scope of supply Client Putting in
1 High Force Compactor Ignalina NPP (Lithuia) anticipated
(20000 kN) as part of the 2008
Ignalina Waste Treatment Centre

2 High Force Compactor Chernobyl NPP (Ukraine) anticipated

(20000 kN) as part of the ICSRM 2007

3 High Force Compactor Leningrad NPP (Russia) anticipated

(20000 kN) as Part of the 2007
Leningrad NNP Waste
Treatment Centre

4 High Force Compactor Atomenergoexport / 2002

(20000 kN) as a part of the Balakovo NPP (Russia)
Balakovo NPP Waste Treatment

5 High Force Compactor China Institute of Atomic 2001

(20000 kN) for various solid Energy CIAE, Beijing (China)

6 High Force Compactor SE a. s. / Bohunice NPP 2000

(20000 kN) as a part of the BSC- (Slovak Republic)
RAO Waste Treatment Centre

7 Design of High Force Compactor South-Ukraine NPP 1997

(20000 kN) as a part of the (Ukraine)
South-Ukraine NPP Waste
Treatment Centre

8 Design of High Force Compactor Chmelnitzki NPP (Ukraine) 1996

(20000 kN) as a part of the
Chmelnitzki NPP Waste
Treatment Centre

9 High Force Compactor (3000 kN) Kernforschungszentrum 1993

for Spent Fuel Scrap Karlsruhe GmbH (Germany)

10 Technical Support to design High BNFL (UK) 1992

Force Compactoer for PCM
11 Karlstein High Force Compaction Siemens (Germany) 1988
Unit (16000 kN)

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12 In Drum Compactor IDC–160 Uranium Enrichment Plant 1986
(160 kN) Gronau (Germany)

13 In Drum Compactor IDC–160 Uranium Enrichment Plant, 1985

(160 kN) Almelo (NL)

14 High Force Compaction Plant Kernforschungszentrum 1984

(16000 kN) Karlsruhe GmbH (Germany)

16 NUKEM Technologies GmbH

NUKEM Technologies GmbH
Industriestr. 13
63755 Alzenau
T +49 (0) 6023 9104
F +49 (0) 6023 911188
E info@nukem.de

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Compaction of
Radioactive Waste