AMG’s engineering systems division partners with Spanish agencies to develop a new method for nuclear waste disposal
Amsterdam --- AMG Advanced Metallurgical Group N.V., (“AMG”, EURONEXT AMSTERDAM: “AMG”) through its nuclear engineering business unit, Furnaces Nuclear Applications Grenoble (“FNAG”), Grenoble, France, announces a joint development project with Empresa Nacional de Residuos Radiactivos, S.A. (“ENRESA”) and Centro de Investigaciones Energéticas, Medioambientales y Tecnològicas (“CIEMAT”), Spain, to develop technologies enabling safe final disposal of nuclear contaminated (irradiated) graphite.
This project will focus on the decontamination of radioactive material and, in parallel, processing such material into AMG’s Impermeable Graphite Matrix (“IGM”). Successful application of the IGM technology could result in a significant volume reduction of radioactive material by converting the material into solid, non-porous blocks for direct disposal. This three-year research and development project will also study the industrial and economic feasibility of using IGM technology for the safe disposal of irradiated graphite.
Current nuclear waste storage technologies based on metal containers suffer from corrosion, which may result in the release of radio nuclides into the environment. Through its experience in High Temperature Reactor (HTR) nuclear technology, AMG has produced IGM samples with a porous free matrix and an extremely high corrosion resistance. Based upon these initial tests, the IGM technology may have the ability to process irradiated graphite material into solid, porous free blocks from which radioactive 14C (Carbon-14) and 36Cl (Clorine-36) material cannot escape.
Upon meeting certain milestones, this project could develop AMG’s IGM technology to be used to dispose of the irradiated graphite nuclear waste arising from the dismantling of the reactor core from Spain’s Vandellós 1 reactor. AMG will invest approximately $1.2 million in this project over the next three years.
Safe disposal of more than 200,000 tonnes of irradiated graphite nuclear waste is becoming a more significant issue as over 100 graphite moderated nuclear reactors, primarily in the Europe and North America, are being shutdown or nearing the end of their useful lives. In these reactors graphite was used as a moderator and reflector of neutrons and in other applications in the reactor cores, such as fuel elements. The safe storage of these radioactive graphite elements is a material issue in the decommissioning of these reactors.
AMG creates and applies innovative metallurgical solutions to the global trend of sustainable development of natural resources and CO2 reduction. AMG produces highly engineered specialty metal products and advanced vacuum furnace systems for the Energy, Aerospace, Infrastructure and Specialty Metals and Chemicals end markets. AMG consists of two operating divisions, Advanced Materials and Engineering Systems, and owns interests in publicly-listed companies Graphit Kropfmühl AG (Deutsche Börse: GKR.DE) and Timminco Limited (TSX: “TIM”).
The Advanced Materials Division develops and produces specialty metals, alloys and high performance materials. AMG is a significant producer of specialty metals, such as ferrovanadium, ferronickel-molybdenum, aluminum master alloys and additives, chromium metal and ferrotitanium, for Energy, Aerospace, Infrastructure and Specialty Metal and Chemicals applications. Other key products include specialty alloys for titanium and superalloys, coating materials, tantalum and niobium oxides, vanadium chemicals and antimony trioxide.
The Engineering Systems Division designs, engineers and produces advanced vacuum furnace systems and operates vacuum heat treatment facilities, primarily for the Aerospace and Energy (including solar and nuclear) industries. Furnace systems produced by AMG include vacuum remelting, solar silicon melting and crystallization, vacuum induction melting, vacuum heat treatment and high pressure gas quenching, turbine blade coating and sintering. AMG also provides vacuum case-hardening heat treatment services on a tolling basis.
Graphit Kropfmühl AG is a majority controlled, publicly listed subsidiary of AMG. Based on its secure raw material sources in Africa, Asia and Europe, Graphit Kropfmühl is a specialist in the production of silicon metal and the extraction, processing and refining of natural crystalline graphite for a wide range of energy saving industrial applications.
Timminco Limited is a publicly listed affiliate of AMG. Timminco produces silicon metal for the chemical, aluminum, electronic and solar industries. Timminco also produces solar grade silicon, using its proprietary technology for purifying silicon metal, for the solar energy industry.
With over 2,600 employees, AMG operates globally with production facilities in Germany, the United Kingdom, France, Czech Republic, United States, China, Canada, Mexico, Brazil, Turkey, Poland, India and Sri Lanka and also has sales and customer service offices in Belgium, Russia and Japan (www.amg-nv.com).
Enresa, Empresa Nacional de Residuos Radiactivos, S.A., is the public company in charge of the safe management, storage and disposal of the radioactive wastes produced in Spain. The applications of nuclear energy for the production of electricity and the use of radioactive chemical elements in various applications generate radioactive waste.
Enresa was formed in 1984 by the Spanish government to manage the radioactive wastes generated in Spain. Enresa’s mandate involves the treatment, conditioning and storage and disposal of the radioactive wastes generated at any point in Spain. Enresa is also responsible for the dismantling of nuclear power plants when their service lifetime has come to an end and for the environmental restoration of disused uranium mines and facilities.
CIEMAT, Centro de Investigaciones Energéticas, Medioambientales y Tecnològicas, is a public research organization, under the Spanish Ministry of Science and Innovation, for excellence in energy and environment, as well as in many vanguard technologies and in various areas of fundamental research.
Since its creation in 1951, then as the JEN, and since 1986 as the CIEMAT, it has been carrying out research and technological development projects, serving as a reference for technical representation of Spain in international forums, and advising government on matters within its scope.
CIEMAT is technically and geographically diversifying to better care for the R&D needs of Spain in general and its Autonomous Regions in particular.
CIEMAT activities are organised around research projects that span the bridge between R&D and the interests of society.
The Nuclear Fission Division of the Energy Department of CIEMAT has the following objectives: to develop and maintain the know-how on Nuclear Energy production by fission, providing scientific and technical support to the Spanish Nuclear Waste Agency, Nuclear Safety Council and the nuclear industry as a whole; to provide advice to the Spanish authorities in the field and to represent Spain in the national and international organizations and committees and; to promote and participate on National and International R&D projects for the development of and improvement of nuclear energy and the management of its environmental impact.
Certain statements in this press release are not historical facts and are “forward looking.” Forward looking statements include statements concerning AMG’s plans, expectations, projections, objectives, targets, goals, strategies, future events, future revenues or performance, capital expenditures, financing needs, plans and intentions relating to acquisitions, AMG’s competitive strengths and weaknesses, plans or goals relating to forecasted production, reserves, financial position and future operations and development, AMG’s business strategy and the trends AMG anticipates in the industries and the political and legal environment in which it operates and other information that is not historical information. When used in this press release, the words “expects,” “believes,” “anticipates,” “plans,” “may,” “will,” “should,” and similar expressions, and the negatives thereof, are intended to identify forward looking statements. By their very nature, forward looking statements involve inherent risks and uncertainties, both general and specific, and risks exist that the predictions, forecasts, projections and other forward looking statements will not be achieved. These forward looking statements speak only as of the date of this press release. AMG expressly disclaims any obligation or undertaking to release publicly any updates or revisions to any forward looking statement contained herein to reflect any change in AMG’s expectations with regard thereto or any change in events, conditions, or circumstances on which any forward looking statement is based.
 McEnaney, B., Wickham, A.J., Dubourg, M. (October 2001) Planning for the Disposal of Irradiated Graphite: Issues for the new generation of HTRs, Nuclear Energy Agency.
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