University of Leeds researchers have joined forces with nuclear reprocessing company Sellafield to create a Centre of Expertise with regards to nuclear sludge. The Centre aims to find ways to clean up the radioactive waste produced by nuclear industry in the UK.
The radioactive waste the centre will be dealing with tends to be found at the bottom of storage tanks and cooling ponds inside nuclear facilities. The sludge consists of dirt and debris, corroded fuel rod casings and dust.
Jim Young is the Technology Manager at the University of Leeds' School of Process, Environmental and Materials Engineering, he said: "In the nuclear industry, cleaning up waste sludge can be a complicated, time-consuming and costly process to take a physical sample to find out what the sludge contains and how it may behave during processing.
Researchers at the centre are emerging with new techniques so they can test the goo from a safe distance. Their aim is to find the most efficient ways to move the sludge to treatment plants where it can be made safe for long term storage.
The centre also believes that some of the equipment they develop could be used in other industries such as the oil and gas industry and also mining.