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Radioactive Waste Management: Indian scenario


Joule Heated Ceramic Melter (JHCM)

While the plant at Trombay is based on pot glass technology, the concept of joule heated ceramic melter is utilized at the facility at Tarapur. The latter meets the challenges in material performance at elevated temperature (1000-1200 deg.C) and in contact with molten glass environment.  The Joule Melter Technology is essentially a single step process, where immobilisation of HLW in a borosilicate glass matrix is achieved in a refractory-lined melter. The Joule Heated Ceramic Melter (JHCM) process exploits the high temperature behaviour of glass whereby it becomes an electrical conductor at elevated temperatures and favourable changes in its viscosity near the pour point, helps in product withdrawal and shut off. The distinctive features of the Advanced Vitrification System (AVS) of Tarapur are increased throughput, availability of higher furnace temperature and minimum dependence on operator skills. Fig. below shows the design of the Joule Heated Ceramic Melter installed at Tarapur

Schematic of Melters used for Vitrification of HLW:Joule Heated Ceramic Melter used at Tarapur

Schematic of Melters used for Vitrification of HLW:Joule Heated Ceramic Melter used at Tarapur

Cold Crucible Induction Melting (CCIM)

It is emerging as a futuristic technology for vitrification of high level liquid waste.  Besides being compact and advantageous as in-cell equipment, it offers flexibility, susceptibility to treat various waste forms with better waste loading and enhanced melter life. The cold crucible is manufactured from contiguous segments forming a cylindrical volume, but separated by a thin layer of electrically insulating material.  The number and the shape of the segments and the insulating gap between them must be optimized to minimize the power dissipation by induced currents in the crucible, while ensuring cooling of the crucible.

The vitrified product is encapsulated in suitable containers and over packs and stored for dissipation of radioactive decay, heat and surveillance for a period of 15-20 years.  Sufficient data can be generated on the product behavior and the radiation and thermal conditions of the product are expected to get stabilized to a level where transport of the product becomes viable. On the basis if safety and techno-economic considerations, a natural draught air cooling system has been designed for the storage vault.

Cold Crucible Induction Melting