The inorganic SIAL matrix is an innovative technology for the immobilisation and solidification of various radioactive waste streams such as sludge, ion exchange resins, ashes and deposits.
The inorganic SIAL matrix is a decontaminaton and removal method designed for the immobilization of radioactive sludge, sorbents and non-standard radioactive waste. The process of immobilizing and solidifying the sludge takes place at room temperature. The SIAL matrix is made up of natural inorganic raw materials where the essential compounds are oxides Si02, Al203 with other inorganic compounds added. The polycondensation reaction of main compounds leads, under specific reaction conditions, to the creation of the SIAL matrix. The compressive strength of the blank matrix SIAL ranges from 52 to MPa. Various mobile and remotely operated devices were designed and manufactured for the implementation and application of the SIAL matrix. The final solid products have low leachability of radionuclides and very high compressive strength.
Barriers and Drivers
Slovakia has two nuclear power plants, accounting for some 55% of the country's total electricity output. Additionaly, there are another 133 power plants in operation throughout the European Union. There is a political plan to shut down from 10 to 20 nuclear power plants in the EU during the next 20 years. This creates a great oportunity and challenging market for the development of nuclear waste immobilization technologies.
The AMEC Nuclear Slovakia company is involved, as a contractor, in the area of liquid radioactive wastes namely sludge and resins and their treatment in the V-1, V-2 nuclear power plants (NPP) in Jaslovske Bohunice, NPP Mochovce (Slovak Republic), as well as NPP Dukovany and NPP Temelin (Czech Republic). These are NPPs with pressurized water reactors.
This kind of solidification represents the very fast and simple transformation of radioactive wastes into a much safer solid form which is suitable for handling, transport and also for storage. Advantage of the inorganic SIAL matrix include its incombustibility, thermal stability, non-toxicity, microbiological stability, minimum volume contraction and setting even under water.