Emissions, Nuclear

THOR Treatment Technologies to demonstrate method for stabilizing radioactive sodium bearing waste at INEEL

Aiken, S.C., Nov. 25, 2002 — THOR Treatment Technologies LLC announced that it has won a contract from Bechtel BWXT Idaho, LLC, (BBWI) to demonstrate its patented, privately-developed, THORSM steam reforming technology for the solidification of radioactive tank waste.

BBWI is currently evaluating technologies to determine the best method for treating Sodium Bearing Waste (SBW) at the Idaho National Engineering and Environmental Laboratory (INEEL). SBW contains hazardous and radioactive materials and is classified as mixed transuranic waste.

THOR will treat a non-radioactive waste simulant in a bench-scale fluidized bed steam reformer designed by BBWI and operated by an independent third party. BBWI’s primary goal is to produce a waste form that is acceptable for direct disposal at the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant site in New Mexico. Upon successful demonstration of the THORSM technology, BBWI may pursue further investigations to determine parameters for deploying the technology on a large-scale basis for SBW processing.

“BBWI’s decision to put our technology to the test is the kind of scientific, real-world scrutiny we’ve been pursuing. I’m confident that BBWI’s test results will add further validity to the results demonstrated with Hanford waste surrogates that have already been conducted using the THORSM process,” said John McKibbin, President of THOR. “We are anxious to begin deploying the THORSM process to support DOE initiatives to accelerate risk reduction and closure.”

In recent months, other DOE facilities such as the Rocky Flats Environmental Technology Site, the Savannah River Site, and the Hanford Site have been collecting information about the THORSM technology to evaluate its potential application for problematic waste streams. At the DOE’s Hanford Site, researchers are considering the THORSM process as a supplemental technology to vitrification for some of their low activity waste. As part of the Hanford evaluation, the DOE authorized laboratory testing of the THORSM product from the treatment of simulated waste. The tests concluded that the THORSM waste form has physical properties better than most borosilicate glasses, which are used in waste vitrification systems.

The THORSM technology is extremely flexible. It can be used to thermally treat a variety of radioactive waste streams–solid, liquid, and gas–to produce a variety of final waste forms depending on the particular needs of each customer. Without modifying the basic system hardware, various outputs can be achieved by simply changing the type and quantity of proprietary additives utilized in the process. The THORSM process also converts the nitrates in the waste to nitrogen instead of NOx.

The THORSM steam reforming technology consists of patented inventions and related know-how conceived and first reduced to practice entirely by Studsvik, Inc., at its sole expense, and independent of any customer or third party. THOR has a license to use Studsvik, Inc.’s patented THORSM process for waste treatment applications in the Department of Energy and Department of Defense. The process is currently utilized at Studsvik’s Erwin, Tennessee, facility to treat radioactive waste for the commercial nuclear industry.

THOR is a joint venture formed in June 2002 between Westinghouse Government Environmental Services Company, which is a subsidiary of Washington Group International, Inc., and Studsvik, Inc. More information about the company is available at www.thortt.com.