Veolia Nuclear Solutions recently decided the time was right to consolidate all of its capabilities and know-how inside a single facility with sufficient capacity and utilities in place. A long-time presence in the area, with an extensive team of experts and operations based in Richland, Veolia Nuclear Solutions was no stranger to the options available. That’s why the company decided the Port of Benton Facility - referred to as the Veolia Research Center (VRC) - was the perfect choice for creating a global technology center to create the next-generation of game-changing technologies for the nuclear industry.
A number of important and innovative technologies will be relocated in a single home at the VRC, including the GeoMelt® bench-scale test system and the Modular Vitrification System (MVS®). These are two of Veolia’s most promising technologies, which are already in use around the world at locations including Japan, the UK and here in the US.
As an example of the types of discriminating technologies to be housed at the site, Veolia’s GeoMelt® technology yields the lowest life cycle cost for waste management by transforming radioactive, hazardous and mixed wastes into a volume-reduced robust, obsidian-like inert glass waste form for safe storage, transportation and disposal. Similarly important, MVS® stabilizes liquid and sludge waste by converting environmental hazards into glass, an increasingly cost-effective material for waste disposal. Having the right facility to house, test and demonstrate these types of technologies is critical to deploy efficient solutions that can tackle the toughest challenges of the industry.
Clearly, the Port of Benton Facility is the perfect location combining features and functionality to house VNS’ innovative technologies in a single space. In 2015, the company leased 20,000 sq ft in order to meet the immediate need to start construction of the Modular Detritiation Technology (MDS®) and to have sufficient capacity and utilities to allow future consolidation of the other Richland facilities.
Clients and partners who have toured or contracted through VNS to use the Port of Benton Facility include the US Department of Energy and their site leadership (e.g. Hanford, INL), Japan (TEPCO, NDF) the UK (NNL, NDA), US National Laboratories (PNNL, SRNL)and other prime contractors.