Wednesday, 13 December 2017 10:45

ANSTO partners with Sweden’s Quintus on nuclear waste treatment Featured

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Artist impression of Synroc radioactive waste treatment facility (SyMo) Artist impression of Synroc radioactive waste treatment facility (SyMo)

The Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation (ANSTO) is partnering with Swedish company Quintus Technologies in deploying new technology for the treatment of waste from nuclear medicine production at the nuclear agency.

ANSTO says the Australian “first–of-a-kind technology” will be based in the soon-to-be-built Synroc radioactive waste treatment facility (SyMo), which is part of the $168 million ANSTO Nuclear Medicine (ANM) project.

And ANSTO says the ANM Project will take Australia from producing predominantly domestic medicine supplies of Molybdenum-99 (Mo-99), to being capable of delivering around 25% of global needs.

Mo-99 is the precursor of Technetium-99m, used in 80% of diagnostic nuclear medicine procedures worldwide, including for heart, lung and muscular skeletal conditions, as well as a variety of cancers.

ANSTO says it has engaged Quintus Technologies’ to provide a robust Hot Isostatic Press (HIP) capable of operating in a nuclear environment.

ANSTO Technical Director, Gerry Triani, said HIP will set the benchmark for treatment of radioactive waste that result from nuclear medicine production.

“The Synroc waste treatment facility will ensure we can increase our medicine production whilst appropriately treating the waste.

“While it will only be used for ANSTO’s waste, the facility will also serve as a demonstration plant for scientists from countries with much larger nuclear programs, who have already expressed keen interest.

“The HIP technology is an important part of the Synroc waste treatment facility, and will create a compact solid, which is safe, suitable for interim storage at ANSTO and the National Radioactive Waste Management Facility, and eventually permanent disposal at an Australian facility.

“Nuclear medicine production from ANSTO’s ANM plant will start early next year, however the waste generated will not be ready for treatment for another three years, at which point the SyMo waste treatment facility will be operational, with the new technology in action.”.

Triania said construction of the Synroc waste treatment facility is due to commence next year, and will have the capacity to produce around 300 cans of solid wasteform product per year.

“Each product can will have a volume of approximately 15 L and will weigh around 50 kg.”

Jan Söderström, CEO of Quintus Technologies said:  “Quintus Technologies has for several years worked with the nuclear industry in the development of waste handling in the U.S. and Europe. We are honoured to have been selected by ANSTO to deliver this specialised HIP system. It proves our commitment to deliver reliable HIP systems to this highly demanding industry sector.”

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Peter Dinham is a co-founder of iTWire and a 35-year veteran journalist and corporate communications consultant. He has worked as a journalist in all forms of media – newspapers/magazines, radio, television, press agency and now, online – including with the Canberra Times, The Examiner (Tasmania), the ABC and AAP-Reuters. As a freelance journalist he also had articles published in Australian and overseas magazines. He worked in the corporate communications/public relations sector, in-house with an airline, and as a senior executive in Australia of the world’s largest communications consultancy, Burson-Marsteller. He also ran his own communications consultancy and was a co-founder in Australia of the global photographic agency, the Image Bank (now Getty Images).

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