Glass - Back to the Future!

Presenting Author:
Owen McGann

article posted 07 April 2016

Dr Owen McGann works as a senior technologist at Glass Technology Services Ltd. and is project manager for the ‘Hazmelt’ project. He is a graduate of Sheffield University where he studied in the field of nuclear waste vitrification.

The application of novel ‘Hazmelt’ waste vitrification technology to the vitrification of ‘Magnox Sludge’ simulant waste and other ILWs.

Owen J. McGann*1, Martyn Marshall1, Shengheng Tan2, Russell Hand2 & Jonathan Macdonald-Taylor3

A wide range of ILW wastes exist both in the UK and internationally which possess no currently accepted route for immobilisation. ‘Hazmelt’ waste vitrification technology provides a route by which a wide range of these problematic ILW type wastes may be vitrified safely and economically. ‘Hazmelt’ technology combines a new furnace technology and novel glass compositions to achieve the vitrification of a wider range of wastes then may be achieved through conventional routes.

The Hazmelt melter utilises novel glass melting technology involving the use of submerged thermal elements that allows the vitrification of a wider range of wastes and glass compositions then may be achieved through a conventional joule-heated or induction-heated furnace. This flexibility combined with the small volume (~0.15 m3) and rapid throughput (~100 kg/hr) of the melter makes this technology ideal for the thermal treatment of a range of ILWs. (Melter shown in figures below).

This ‘Hazmelt’ technology has been applied to the vitrification of 500 kg of simulated ‘Magnox pond sludge’ through the use of glass compositions specifically engineered to incorporate the problematic components of the waste. The technology (combining melter and glass composition) was demonstrated using simulated wastes containing both reactive metal components and high moisture content in order to demonstrate the tolerance of the furnace and glass compositions. Detailed outcomes of this trial, the technology and glasses used as well as associated testing on other ILW simulants are discussed.

1 Glass Technology Services Ltd., 9 Churchill Way, Chapeltown, Sheffield, S35 2PY
2 University of Sheffield, Sir Robert Hadfield Building, Mappin Street, Sheffield, S1 3JD
3 National Nuclear Laboratory, Chadwick House, Warrington Road, Birchwood Park, Warrington, WA3 6AE