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Cementation of

Radioactive Waste


Cementation is one of the most • The cemented product is chemi-
commonly used methods for condi- cally and biochemically stable.
tioning radioactive wastes. It • All forms of waste can be either
provides a cost-effective solution for incorporated in a cement matrix or
encapsulation of various kinds of encapsulated by grout.
radioactive waste into a solid, safe
form suitable for long term storage. NUKEM offers five different mixing
techniques: High Performance
The main advantages of cementation
are: In-Drum Mixer, Lost Stirrer In-Drum
Mixer, Slant Batch Mixer, High Shear
• Simple, low-temperature process.
Mixer and High Throughput
• Well proven technology.
Continuous Mixer.
• The cemented product is not com-
bustible and has good thermal

Overview on Characteristics of Mixing Techniques

High Per- Lost Stir- High
Slant High
formance rer In- Throughput
Batch Shear
In-Drum Drum Continuous
Mixer Mixer
Mixer Mixer Mixer
••• •• ••• ••• ••••
Suitable for
Portable •••• •••• •• •• •••
•••• •• •••• •••• N/A
Batch Size
•••• •• ••• •••• •
Quality 1
Suitable for
Grout • •• •••• •••
Easy De-
con- •••• •••• ••• ••• •
• low, •• high, ••• very high, •••• excellent
Compressive Strength, Leach Rate

NUKEM Technologies GmbH 1

High Performance In-Drum Mixer
The High Performance In-Drum cal blades sweep the entire circum-
Mixer is a combination of planetary ference of the drum. The mixing
mixer with double helical mixer. The elements are raised from the drum
mixing elements are in the form of by a vertical lift. After separation, the
two counter-rotating cylindrical heli- mixing elements drain into the drum.
ces. This design ensures high shear If maintenance is required the
dispersion and compensates all blades can be cleaned with a hand
torque forces that might be transmit- held vibrator after curing of the resi-
ted to the drum. Intimate mixing is due. As an alternative, it is possible
accomplished by having the mixing to decontaminate them in place by
unit assembly revolving in a plane- rotating them in decontamination
tary motion so that the rotating heli- solution.

Process Description

Fig. 1 Simplified Flow Sheet of the In-Drum Mixer

2 NUKEM Technologies GmbH

A waste storage drum, prefilled with
cement or a mixture of cement and Application
dry additives appropriate to the ce- NUKEM's High Performance In-
mentation recipe is placed onto the Drum Mixer has been used success-
roller conveyor. The roller conveyor fully in a series of permanent and
transfers the drum beneath the mobile applications. The flow sheet,
docking hole of the mixer box/cell. shown in Figure 1, is applicable to
Here, the docking device lifts the both applications.
drum and seals the rim to the mixer For permanent installation the High
box/cell. After the liquid waste filling Performance In-Drum Mixer is
tube is directed into the drum the arranged in-side a hot/warm cell.
first portion of waste is metered into Depending on the radiation level,
the drum. This portion constitutes a the machinery will be operated by
third of the total waste quantity for remote manipulators or hands-on
one drum for a given cementation through gloves fitted on the cell. An
recipe. example of such arrangement is
given in figure 2 and 3. These fig-
The mass flow is measured by a ures show a facility, that is owned
Coriolis flow meter, integrated and and operated by the Research Cen-
counted electronically. When the ter Karlsruhe, Germany. Auxiliary
point is reached, the waste flow is equipment is arranged in the build-
shut off automatically. Usually, the ing around the cell to suite the spe-
drum is filled up to 95% of its height cific requirements of the client.
after the first portion of waste is
added. The first mixing cycle now The mobile unit as described below,
takes place. The mixer-unit assem- is called DEWA. It represents a
bly is lowered into the drum, down to movable hot/warm cell containing
approximately one third of its depth. the High Performance In-Drum
The mixing elements revolve for a
few minutes and bring the level of
waste/cement down. The drum is
then ready to receive the second
portion of waste. This portion, as
well as the third portion, is treated in
the same way as the first.

While mixing the third portion of

waste, the mixing elements are sub-
mersed down within of a few centi-
meters of the bottom and rotated at
a higher speed than before. This
ensures the highest achievable
homogeneity of the grout. This high
degree of homogeneity ensures the
product quality is very high. Com-
pressive strength and leach rate will
achieve be at their optimum values.

NUKEM Technologies GmbH 3

Fig. 2 In-Drum Mixer arranged
inside a Hot-Cell

Fig. 3 Operator Filling the Drum

with Liquid Waste
4 NUKEM Technologies GmbH
Mobile Solidification Unit DEWA filled. The drum docking device joins
The DEWA is an assembly of simple, the drum to the cell where the waste
robust and reliable components. The is metered in and the content of
method of operation is simple. The drum is mixed. The cell accommo-
cementation process takes place in dates the High Performance In-Drum
the waste container itself; the cement Mixer, an ultrasonic level sensor, the
is filled in beforehand. There is no hand held vibrator for cleaning, a line
requirement for the transportation of for ash supply, if required, and the
the binding agent or for its metering exhauster with HEPA filter system. A
in the area where the radioactive swivelling lid covers the docking hole
material is handled. in the bottom of cell. The container,
pre-filled with cement, is carried to
Tests have shown that the physical the roller conveyor by a forklift and is
properties - such as compressive clamped to the docking hole. The
strength and leach rates - of the liquid waste is then transferred in
products obtained are excellent. The portions by a Coriolis quantity meter
products meet the regulations for and homogeneously mixed with the
final disposal. The dose rates are cement. The mixing process can be
within the required limits. The final observed through lead glass win-
products contain no free water. dows. The closing of the container
The DEWA solidification unit does takes places on the roller conveyor.
not make high demands regarding If the wastes are low activity it is
the wastes to be solidified. The done manually. If the activity is
wastes must merely be pumpable. higher, lid closure is performed by
They may contain up to 25% boric remote control.
acid, and up to 35% dry matter. As to
cementation, it is unimportant The plant can also deal with solid
whether the wastes to be solidified wastes. In this case the drum, which
are high or low activity. However, the is about half filled with waste material
level of radioactivity requires a suit- (e.g. powder, granules etc.), is trans-
able container for shielding. ported to the cell’s opening as be-
fore. Cement is now added dry or
The DEWA cementation unit is mixed with water. In all other re-
shipped to the point of use on a flat- spects, the procedure is similar to
bed trailer. The unit unloads by self- that described above. Contaminated
action using its telescopic legs, parts that cannot be compacted (filter
which are swung in position and than candles, small parts) can also be
run out. For setting up, a 6 m by 3.3 placed in drums and treated likewise.
m foot print with a loading capacity of The DEWA can handle all types of
0.09 N/mm² and total height of drums licensed by the authorities.
4.53 m is required. The type of drum chosen depends
on the level of activity and the par-
The unit consists of a cube-shaped ticular qualities of the waste to be
frame in which the steel-shielded disposed of.
hot/warm cell is arranged. There is The dimensions of the DEWA unit in
an operating platform with a control working position are shown in
panel and a roller conveyor for the Figure 4.
transportation of the drums to be

NUKEM Technologies GmbH 5

Operating experience shielding requirements and on the
Since the start of operations with the dry substance content. A volume to
DEWA unit, several campaigns of 1.8 - 2.2 m³ per day can be solidified
solidification of radioactive wastes in externally shielded 200 l drums
have been carried out at the BWR at and a volume of 3.6 - 4.6 m³ per day
Gundremmingen, Germany and at can be solidified if using internally
the PWRs at Biblis, Germany and shielded 400 l drums. The massive
Neckarwestheim, Germany. Includ- steel and lead shielding of the unit
ing the foreman, a team of three to and the largely remote handling of
four operators was needed. Depend- the containers ensures that the ac-
ing on the local conditions, the set- cumulated dose received by the crew
ting-up times ranged from 1 to 2 remained low. While processing slur-
days. The availability reached 95% ries with an activity of about 1.48 E
not considering the delays caused by +10 Bq/m³ with a nuclide distribution
the plant. Filter aid sludge, precipi- of 14% Cs-134, 33%Cs-137, 36%
tated slurries, decontamination efflu- Co-60, and 5% Mn-54, the measured
ents and evaporator concentrates dose rates were < 3 m Rem/hr at the
with activities between 3.7 E +09 wall surface and < 0.35 m Rem/hr at
Bq/m³ and 1.85 E +11 Bq/m³ have the operator’s position. The average
been solidified. The performance of dose rate was less than 10 m Rem
the unit depends on the specific ac- per day and per person.
tivity of the wastes, the resulting

Lost Stirrer In-Drum Mixer

The lost stirrer technique was
employed by NUKEM to develop a Facility Description
very highly sophisticated, portable The MOWA, as depicted in Figure 5
unit that provides a high throughput and Figure 6, consists basically of
as well as ease of operability. This two dosing and mixing positions for
unit is called MOWA. Although waste disposal drums, an accessible
designed to be portable, NUKEM sealed cell with the dosing devices
also used the MOWA-baseline to for sludge, concentrates and granu-
build a permanent Lost Stirrer In- lar resins and the two hydraulic units
Drum Mixer facility. for the drives of the in-drum-stirrers.
All parts are skid-mounted. The
Mobile Waste Conditioning Plant MOWA is equipped with a PLC for
MOWA automatic operations and a mobile
The MOWA system (Fig. 5 and 6) control panel. Heavy lead shielding
features all the advantages of a on the equipment containing radio-
compact plant, as it can be shipped active materials and steel shielding
and stored in a 20 ft-ISO-container. at the mixing positions reduce the
It has a high waste throughput, radiation exposure of the staff to a
deals with drums of several sizes (< minimum (less than
100-400 litre) and different shielding. 10 m Rem/h at the surface of the
The MOWA is able to process con- plant while treating granular resin
centrates and sludge as well as with 3.7 E +13 Bq/m³). The disposal
granular resin with a high specific drums can be equipped with addi-
activity. tional shielding, if necessary.

6 NUKEM Technologies GmbH

Figure 4: Mobile Cementation Unit DEWA

NUKEM Technologies GmbH

2007 7
Fig. 5 Layout of the Mobile Waste Conditioning Plant

NUKEM Technologies GmbH
Fig. 6 Mobile Waste Conditioning Plant MOWA

9 NUKEM Technologies GmbH

slot sieve base to drain the excess
Process Description water. The resin is then pumped with
The waste is drawn into MOWA exactly the excess water required for
metering system by vacuum or fed cementation into the drum in the
by an external pump. From here the same manner as sludge. After being
waste is transferred into the cement sealed remotely, the waste drum is
pre-filled drums by means of a pump. replaced by a new one.
Mixing of the binding agent with the
waste takes place in these drums Technical Data
during feeding. They are equipped Overall Dimensions:
with the lost-stirrer. The displaced air Length 5700 mm
is released through HEPA-filters. The Width 2220 mm
waste disposal drums are fitted with Height 2180 mm
a second cover, located below the Weight approx. 22,000 kg
upper rim. The connections for waste
feeding, air outlet and the lost stirrer Throughput:
are grouped on this intermediate - Sludge/Concentrate: up to 10 m³
cover. Thus, the entire mixing proc- per shift
ess takes place within an enclosed - Bead Resin: up to 2 m³ per
system, avoiding the spread of con- shift
tamination. Controls: PLC, with mo-
The two dosing and mixing locations bile control
are stocked alternately with drums. panel Electrical
While one drum is mixing, the other Power Load: 2 x 63 A, 380 V
one is changed. This improves the Utilities: Water, 6 bar
throughput of MOWA significantly. (for potential
Ion exchange resin is prepared for flush of radio-
cementation by adjusting the stipu- active system)
lated water to resin ratio. This is
done in the resin metering pot. The Staff Required: 1 Foreman and
resin metering pot is equipped with a 2 Operators

Slant Batch Mixer

The Slant Batch Mixer (Fig. 7) is and metering system are also avail-
successfully installed at several able with NUKEM's other mixers.
Waste Treatment Centers (WTC). The description of the Slant Batch
NUKEM set up these mixers with Mixer along with its auxiliary sys-
extensive auxiliary systems to facili- tems of a WTC is intended to be an
tate all the cementation tasks of a example of NUKEM's system design
WTC. Auxiliary systems such as a capability
resin dewatering unit, ash transfer

NUKEM Technologies GmbH 10

Fig. 7 Slant Batch Mixer

11 NUKEM Technologies GmbH

Pre-treatment of Liquid Radioac- received under pressure in the
tive Waste resin receiver tank. There, ex-
Pre-treatment of liquid, inorganic cess carrier water is separated
waste is carried out in NUKEM's by means of built-in slot sieve fil-
enhanced evaporator facility ters. This water is returned to the
(see NUKEM Brochure: Concentra- transport vessel.
tion of Evaporator Concentrates).
• Ashes entering the cementation
facility, are held in adequate con-
The salt content in evaporator con-
tainers. These containers are
centrates is usually in the range of
emptied into the metering pot for
20% by weight. Direct cementation
ashes within the transfer box.
of this waste would result in a final
product with a salt content of • The solids to be encapsulated
approx. 10% by weight. The en- (for example compacted solid
hanced concentration process gen- waste) are put in the long-term
erates a highly concentrated prod- storage container before entering
uct, a so-called Super-Concentrate. the cementation facility. The re-
Its salt content is between 500 and maining free space is usually
700 g/l. In order to obtain a high more than 50% of the container
quality cemented product, chemical volume.
addition will occasionally be required
prior to cementation, e.g. in cases of The cement powder is delivered in a
high borate content. conventional silo-truck and unloaded
into a cement-silo. From there it is
Process Description transferred into the cement-metering
A simplified flow diagram is shown tank. Any additives required, such
in Fig. 8. as concrete super-plastifier, con-
The radioactive waste enters the crete retarder, filling material or lime
cementation facility in various ways: are weighed on a scale and put into
the additive tank. Processing is
• Waste, which can be forwarded preferable in a campaign featuring
by pump (like waste solutions or similar types of waste. For example,
radioactive sludge), is received liquid waste is mixed with cement
in a liquid waste receiving tank. and the mixture is poured into a
storage container. The filled con-
• Super-concentrates from the tainer is transported to a buffer store
concentration facility are re- where curing takes place and the
ceived container is further prepared for
directly by gravity flow in a me- long-term storage.
tering tank for solutions.
• Ion exchange resin with water
are transferred hydraulically and

NUKEM Technologies GmbH 12

(Please refer to Fig. 8 Cementation Facility Flow Sheet)
1 Resin mixture receiving tank
2 Agitator
3 Resin mixture transfer pump
4 Liquid waste receiving tank
5 Agitator
6 Liquid waste transfer pump
7 Metering tank for solutions or resin mixtures
8 Agitator
9 Heating
10 Slant mixer
11 Storage container
12 Roller conveyor
13 Vibrating equipment
14 Pump
15 Filter
16 Ash transfer box
17 Drum tilting device
18 Elevator
19 Filter
20 Filter
21 Ash metering tank
22 Cellular wheel
23 Vibrating conveyor
24 Additive weighing equipment
25 Additive tank
26 Cement metering tank
27 Cellular wheel
28 Vibrating conveyor
29 Filter
30 Cement-silo

13 NUKEM Technologies GmbH

Fig. 8 Cementation Facility Flow Sheet

NUKEM Technologies GmbH 14

Example 1: lutions metering tank by a pump. The
rest of the procedure including feed
Cementation of Super-
of possible additives is identical to
the cementation of Super-
An empty storage container is placed
under the mixer discharge tube on a
vibrator that is a part of the roller
Example 3:
conveyer. The Super-concentrate is
delivered by gravity to the solutions Cementation of Ion-Exchange
metering tank. The sole function of Resin along with Super-
the metering tank is for weight con- Concentrate
trol of the liquid part of a mixer-load. The ion-exchange resins are em-
The weighed solution is then trans- bedded in cement together with Su-
ferred by gravity into the slant mixer per-concentrate. This combined ce-
and the mixer is started. mentation provides a homogeneous
An alternative to this technique is the final product. The resin is mixed with
metering of all by a Coriolis flow me- the residual water by an agitator in
ter with electronic integrator. This is the resin receiving tank. It is then
the state of the art method. The re- transferred by a pump into the solu-
quired quantity of cement is deliv- tions or resin metering tank. The
ered to the rotating slant mixer by transfer is stopped when the stipu-
means of a rotary valve and a vibrat- lated weight of resin is achieved. In
ing conveyor. The metering of the the metering tank the batch is stirred
cement is automatically controlled by by an agitator in order to maintain
weight reduction in the cement- the fluidity of the resin mixture. The
metering tank. After a predetermined requisite amount of Super-
mixing time (approx. 30 min.), the concentrate is now added to the
cemented product is discharged into resin in the same manner as de-
the storage container. scribed in Example 1. The metered
During filling of the storage container mixture of resin and Super Concen-
with the cemented product, the ves- trate is transferred by gravity into the
sel can be vibrated in order to im- slant mixer and the mixer is turned
prove the cement distribution in the on.
container. The storage container will
usually be filled up to 95% of its The additives, stipulated by cemen-
volumetric capacity. The filled stor- tation recipe, are delivered via the
age container lid is then remotely additive tank and the vibrating con-
installed and the container trans- veyor to the rotating slant mixer. The
ported to buffer storage for curing. cement feed, the mixing procedure
After curing, the lid is remotely and the filling of the storage con-
sealed behind shielding. tainer are as described in
Example 1.
Example 2:
Cementation of Waste Solutions Example 4:
The quantity of waste solution Cementation of Ashes
needed, as stipulated by the cemen- Ashes from an incinerator facility are
tation recipe, is transferred from the usually cemented with the scrubber
liquid waste receiving tank to the so- solution. The quantity of solution re-

NUKEM Technologies GmbH 15

quired by cementation recipe is fed Cementation of ashes
by gravity from the solutions meter- Composition of the cemented
ing tank into the slant mixer. Ashes product
are forwarded by means of a rotary Content of ashes: 30%
valve and the ash vibrating conveyor. Water/cement ratio: 0.7
The rest of procedure is identical to
the cementation of waste solutions.
Technical Data
Cementation Recipes Batch Size: 200 to 500 litre
In order to ensure and optimize the cemented prod-
properties of product, each form of uct
waste has to be cemented with its Throughput: 3,400 kg to
own recipe. To achieve this, it is nec- 8,500 kg/8 h
essary to know the composition of shift
waste to be cemented. Depending
Salt Load: up to 30% wt
on the waste composition, the best
Resin Load: up to 10% wt
matching recipe will be chosen from
NUKEM's cementation database. If
The waste load depends on the
the waste form deviates significantly
chemical composition of the liquid
from waste form in the Cementation
waste and on quality related re-
Database, laboratory tests will clarify
quirements for the cemented product
or confirm missing or uncertain rec-
and its packaging.
ipe data. The recipes given below
are examples only, and will be con-
Product Quality:
firmed by laboratory tests with actual
Leach rate for Cs: 10 -2 g/cm² day
waste material.
(calculated as average per year)
Compression Strength: 10 N/mm²
Example of Recipes for Reference:
Homogeneous distribution of activity
Cementation of Super-Concentrates
Total salt content: 600 ± 100 g / l
Density: approx. 1450
Salt content in the
cement matrix: 25% wt
Water/cement ratio: 0.55

Common cementation of ion ex-

change resin and Super-Concentrate
Composition of the cemented product

Content of salt: 14%

Content of dry resin: 3%
Water/cement ratio: 0.7

NUKEM Technologies GmbH
High Shear Mixer

The High Shear Mixer is a batch Usually, the mixer and its auxiliary
mixer, operated to obtain a colloidal facilities are arranged outside of the
cement slurry. NUKEM uses this area where radioactive materials are
slurry to grout packed solid waste handled. There the inactive grout is
items. Another field of application is prepared and transferred by pump
the preparation of cap grout, to seal into the hot/warm cell where the
the surface of cemented liquid waste drums or boxes are waiting to be
in drums or boxes. The design of the grouted.
High Shear Mixer ensures that the The High Shear Mixer can also be
highest possible quality of grout is used for homogeneous cementation
achieved. of radioactive waste.

High Throughput Continuous Mixer

The continuously operating screw After a relatively short residence time
mixer (Figure 9) provides a high in the mixing zone, the mixture is
throughput. One or more dry compo- poured in drums or other containers
nents are continuously fed to the for final disposal.
mixer where liquid waste or water is Throughput: 3 m³/h
added. Space envelope
required: 3 x 3.6 x 1.5 m

Fig. 9 High Throughput Continuous Mixer

NUKEM Technologies GmbH 17

Scope of supply Client Putting in
1 Planning and delivery of 2 liquid Jiangsu Nuclear Power Cor- 2006
radioactive waste solidification poration,
systems PR China
(1000 litre drums)
2 In-drum cementation facility NAVY, PR China 2003
(200 litre drums)
3 In-drum cementation facility CIAE, PR China 2002
(200 litre drums)
4 Cementation plant with slant Sarubeshatomenergostroi, 2002
mixer for Waste Treatment Cen- Russia (Atomenergoexport) /
tre Balakovo NPP
5 Cementation plant with slant SE a. s./ Bohunice NPP, 1999
mixer for Waste Treatment Cen- Slovakia
6 In-drum cementation Facility Nuclear Power Institute of 1999
(200 litre drums) China, PR China
7 In-drum cementation facility Qin Shan NPP, PR China 1998
(200 litre drums)
8 Design of cementation plant with Chmelnitzki NPP, Ukraine 1996
slant mixer for Waste Treatment
Centre at Chmelnitzki NPP
9 Upgrade of the existing mobile Paks NPP, Hungary 1996
waste cementation plant
10 Design of cementation plant as Kola NPP, Russia 1994
part of the treatment facility for
liquid radioactive waste and res-
11 Upgrade of the existing mobile Nucleco, Italy 1994
waste cementation plant
12 Basic engineering of a cementa- Novovoronezh NPP, Russia 1993
tion plant for radioactive waste
and resins in the frame of the
TACIS-91/93 program, project
1.6 ‘Radioactive Waste Treat-
13 Mobile waste cementation plant NIKEX, Hungary 1991
(MOWA) for Paks NPP

18 NUKEM Technologies GmbH

14 Stationary cementation plant Uranium enrichment plant 1986
Gronau, Germany

15 Mobile waste cementation plant Nucleco, Italy 1985

16 Mobile waste cementation plant Studsvik, Sweden 1985
17 Stationary cementation plant Fairy Engineering, UK 1984
18 Mobile cementation unit MOWA KFA, Germany 1980
19 Mobile waste cementation plant Transnuklear, Germany 1978
20 Mobile waste cementation plant Transnuklear, Germany 1977

NUKEM Technologies GmbH 19

NUKEM Technologies GmbH
Industriestr. 13
63755 Alzenau
T +49 (0) 6023 9104
F +49 (0) 6023 911188
E info@nukem.de
Cementation of
Radioactive Waste