Construction of Final Product Cementation Plant and interim storage facility
The ICPF is the facility intended for the cementation of liquid Uranium-Thorium solution (approx. 3 cubic metres), called “final product”, and resulting from the experimental reprocessing operations performed on fuel during the plant activity.
Between 1968 and 1970, 84 elements of irradiated fuel from the Uranium-Thorium cycle coming from the Elk River experimental reactor in Minnesota (USA) were shipped to Rotondella Plant.
Between 1975 and 1978, a nuclear testing campaign was conducted on 20 of these elements, which produced three different radioactive liquid outcomes; one of these was the so-called “Final Product”, consisting of recovered fuel and fission elements in a nitric-based solution.
The liquid radioactive solution resulted from the process, was stored in a stainless-steel tank (W120) placed in a concrete cell and, in turn, located in Waste 1 Area.
The ICPF project involves the construction of a building, which will host remote-controlled systems for the cementation of the liquid solution (final product) and an interim storage facility (DMC3/DTC3).
The latter is intended for the safe storage of final products containing cemented waste, while the two casks containing the 64 fuel elements currently stored in the plant pool will be stored in another specific area.
In 2004, the preliminary activities for the implementation of the plant (design and qualification of the cementitious matrix for final products) were initiated.
Between 2007 and 2010, the mock-up prototype of the cementation cell (1:1 scale) was created; this cell is used for qualifying the product, testing components and cementation process and training future personnel.
Between 2014 and 2017, year in which Sogin terminated the agreement with the winning contractor due to default, the excavation works and the construction of a palisade to support the surrounding soil were implemented, along with the foundations of the interim storage facility and some partial elevation works.
Sogin is now taking care of maintaining the works and worksites already constructed. While waiting for the reclamation of Pit 7.1, actually ongoing, the Company is launching two tenders: one related to the construction of the temporary interim storage facility (the tender procedure was launched in January 2019); and another for the construction of the process building in which the cementation of the final product will be carried out (the tender procedure will be launched upon completion of Pit 7.1).
The completion of the interim storage facility is estimated by 2023, while the process building is planned by 2024. Cold and hot tests will be subsequently implemented to complete the authorisation procedures.