Spent ion exchanger media are considered to be problematic waste that, in many cases, requires special approaches and precautions during its immobilization to meet the acceptance criteria for disposal. The waste acceptance criteria define, among others, the quality of waste forms for disposal, and therefore will sometimes define appropriate treatment options. The selection of treatment options for spent ion exchange materials must consider their physical and chemical characteristics. Basically, the main methods for the treatment of spent organic ion exchange materials, following to pretreatment methods are: - Direct immobilization, producing a stable end product by using Cement, Bitumen, Polymer or High Integrity Containers, - The destruction of the organic compounds by using Thermochemical processes or Oxidation to produce an inorganic intermediate product that may or may not be further conditioned for storage and/or disposal, - The complete removal of the resin inner structural water by a thermal process. After a thorough technical economical analysis, Tractebel Engineering selected the Resin Hot Compaction Process to be installed at Tihange Nuclear Power Plant. The Resin Hot Compaction Process is used to make dense homogenous organic blocks from a wide range of particulate waste. In this process spent resins are first dewatered and dried to remove the inner structural water content. The drying takes place in a drying vessel that holds the contents of two 200 L drums (Figure). In the oil heated drying and mixing unit, the resins are heated to the necessary process temperature for the hot pressing step and then placed into special metal drums, which are automatically lidded and immediately transferred to a high force compactor. After high force compaction the pellets are transferred to a measuring unit, where the dose rate, height and weight are automatically measured and recorded. A volume reduction factor of approximately up to four (depending on the type of resins) is achievable using hot compaction techniques. This paper will describe the application of the Resin Hot Compaction Process, at Tihange NPP.

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