A new radionuclide waste assessment tool for the nuclear sector
Scientists at the University of Southampton’s Geosciences Advisory Unit, led by Professor Ian Croudace and Dr Phil Warwick, have developed a better and faster way to extract and measure volatile radioactive isotopes, specifically tritium and carbon-14, which contaminate parts of nuclear sites. The information gained helps sites that are decommissioning nuclear power stations to make appropriate decisions on the proper disposal of their radioactive waste. In some cases, with a simple remediation process, it is even possible to safely recycle metal wastes. The innovative technique has now been adopted by nuclear decommissioning companies and specialist laboratories in the UK and the international nuclear industry. In 10 years it is estimated that the Pyrolyser innovation will have generated £15-20m of turnover in the UK economy including ca. £2m in contract income for the university, with clear benefits to society in terms of jobs and reduced waste requiring special disposal.