Veolia Nuclear Solutions’ longstanding commitment to placing technology and innovation at the center of its efforts to help tackle the most significant nuclear waste challenges was recognized recently when the World Nuclear Exhibition revealed that VNS’ patented GeoMelt® vitrification system was named a finalist for a prestigious award at this month’s industry-wide gathering.
VNS’ GeoMelt® technology, along with the submissions from two other organizations, were chosen as finalists from a pool of 76 applicants from around the globe in the Products & Services Award category. The awards, which celebrate the “top innovations, expertise and technological advances of the civil nuclear sector,” will be presented at a ceremony during the WNE proceedings at the end of November.
A jury of world-renowned nuclear experts said the nominees chosen as finalists “have proved and convinced the Jury that their innovation is robust and with significant impact on the improvement and development of the nuclear industry.” Not only have the finalists developed technologies that address key challenges such as waste isolation and management, the judges continued in a letter, these technologies “have already proven their performance.”
VNS’s GeoMelt® is an industry proven treatment method that provides a low life cycle cost compared to alternative treatment methods for hard-to-disposition or challenging waste streams. The thermal joule heated vitrification process turns radioactive waste into a stable and robust glass waste form that is ultra-stable and is typically 10-times stronger than concrete and more durable than granite or marble. An economical and practical way to protect the environment from the threats of nuclear and hazardous waste, GeoMelt®’s leach resistance is among the highest of all materials in the world.
A commercially proven, flexible and scalable technology, GeoMelt® has been used to process more than 26,000 tonnes of waste to date. This includes VNS’ work with the Battelle Energy Alliance, which operates the Idaho National Lab for the U.S. Department of Energy. The alliance contracted with VNS to solve a vexing challenge: the national reactor program at the INL produced reactive alkali metal waste, but did so without a well-defined treatment option for long-term disposal. Enter VNS and GeoMelt®, which was able to provide an effective treatment method for a problematic waste stream.