Thermal Treatment Technologies

CLIENT NAME: sellafield ltd

Dates: 2012 - Present

Value: >£300k


There has been significant investment in research and development (R&D) of thermal technologies over the past 10 years, for the treatment of higher activity wastes (HAW). Recognising the need for a more coordinated approach and concluding that there is a business case for a thermal treatment capability, the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA) established a Thermal Treatment Integrated Project Team (TTIPT) to enable the development of technologies. The team includes representatives from the NDA, Sellafield Ltd and the National Nuclear Laboratory and since 2016 TÜV SÜD Nuclear Technologies Division has supported the TTIPT in achieving these aims.


The following key stages were involved in the technology assessment process:

  • Prioritisation of wastes for consideration
  • Process mapping to identify the "cradle to grave" requirements from retrievals through to disposal
  • Application of the data quality objectives (DQO) process to ensure technical underpinning work was focussed and comprehensive
  • Extensive stakeholder engagement to identify information requirements and knowledge gaps
  • Preparation of technology roadmaps detailing the R&D required to support technology development
  • Implementation of the R&D programme
  • Evaluation of the strategic and economic benefits

Benefits to the client

Through the application of the methodology described the strategic and economic benefits of thermal technologies at each stage of the waste management lifecycle, have been robustly underpinned. They include:

  • Significant volume reduction
  • Production of a passive product with high integrity
  • Improved environmental performance
  • Simplified storage requirements
  • Lifecycle cost savings, whilst providing value for money to the UK tax payer

What went well

  • Development and implementation of a structured evaluation process
  • Independent technical assurance
  • Expert facilitation to ensure stakeholder buy-in
  • Provision of technical, engineering and waste management expertise
  • Flexible adaptable support
  • Collaborative approach
  • Integrated member of the TTIPT, delivering a key project on behalf of the NDA and Sellafield Ltd

Next Steps

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