In the early 1980’s, the United States realized the need for developing and implementing volume reduction programs as a result of rapidly increasing disposal prices. To better serve the nation, in 1984 Duratek established a fixed base volume reduction facility near Oak Ridge, TN to provide radwaste volume reduction and enhanced waste forms. Over the years, this facility has been expanded to provide many different treatment schemes with technologies that include two of the nations only radwaste incinerators, the largest ultra compactor and the largest metal melter. The original Oak Ridge site has also geographically expanded to three other volume reduction sites (two in Tennessee and one in South Carolina). These technologies provide extreme VR’s for DAW and other solid waste as well as a beneficial and controlled recycling outlet for metals resulting in essentially “0” waste for disposal. In addition, technologies such as waste segmentation and sorting, material decontamination, liquid waste processing (with benefits of 80–90% reduction in radwaste generation compared to media based systems), survey for release, and other beneficial metal recycling completed the primary technologies and reduced waste volumes further.
This paper will provide information on the techniques developed and utilized over the years to reach ultimate volume reduction and assist in reducing the nations radwaste disposal volume by well over 50%.