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Geomelt technology tackles wider radioactive waste

Veolia and Cyclife UK have established a joint venture in France, Waste2Glass, to tackle the challenge of radioactive waste.

A new Waste2Glass facility is to be built at Limay on the outskirts of Paris, near a new pilot unit recently commissioned by Veolia. This allows the 50/50 joint venture to carry out demonstrations and obtain the certifications required for the industrial deployment of the innovative recycling process.

Veolia is to develop its Geomelt vitrification technology at the site. This approach heats materials to a high temperature until they liquidise before cooling them down again for further processing, thus turning the material into a glass-like substance. The technology has already been used to treat 26 000 tonnes of radioactive and hazardous waste, particularly in the US.

Due to its technical nature and cost, vitrification has previously been reserved for high level radioactive waste. Thanks to the complementary know-how of the two partners, Waste2Glass will be able to extend the solution to process a wider range of waste.

The collaboration builds on the Graphitech project, which Veolia and Cyclife started two years ago. It targets the decommissioning of graphite-gas reactors and is now ‘a European leader in this field’, according to Jean Bernard Lévy, chairman and ceo of Cyclife’s parent company EDF.

‘The creation of Waste2Glass illustrates not only the quality of the cooperation between our two companies but also EDF Group’s commitment to the development and industrial application of truly innovative solutions for the treatment of radioactive waste, a key issue for bringing nuclear power into the mainstream of sustainable development and helping to build a carbon-free future,’ Lévy says.

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