Abstract

Up to 1998, spent ion exchange resins have been fed to the incinerator in combination with various other solid combustible wastes at Belgoprocess. However, thanks to sustained efforts to reduce radioactive waste production in all nuclear facilities in Belgium, the annual production of solid combustible waste is now much too small to allow this practice to be continued. Since the incinerator at Belgoprocess is not capable of treating spent ion exchange resins as such, it was decided to adopt the use of foam as a carrier to feed the resins to the incinerator. The mixture is a pseudohomogeneous charged foam, ensuring easy handling and allowing incineration in the existing furnace, while a number of additives may be included, such as oil to increase the calorific value of the mixture and accelerate combustion. The first incineration campaign of spent ion exchange resins in a triphasic foam mixture, in conjunction with other liquid and solid combustible wastes, will be started in January 2000. The foam, comprising 70% by weight of resins, 29% by weight of water and 1% by weight of surfactant will be pulverized in the incinerator through an injection lance, at a feed rate of 40 to 100 kg/h. The incinerator and associated off-gas treatment system can be operated at standard conditions. Belgoprocess is the subsidiary of the Belgian national agency for the management of radioactive waste, known by its Dutch and French acronyms, NIRAS and ONDRAF respectively. The company ensures the treatment, conditioning and interim storage of nearly all radioactive waste produced in Belgium.

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