EDF and Veolia announced they are creating Waste2Glass, an equally-owned joint venture to develop a new sector based on Veolia's Geomelt® vitrification technology.
The GeoMelt process immobilises radioactive waste in a glass matrix to produce a stable and durable waste form that is easy to transport and store. It has already been used to treat 26,000 tonnes of radioactive and hazardous waste at Hanford site in the USA and at Sellafield site in the UK.
Waste2Glass, planned for launch in early 2022, will be able to take up the challenge of the industrial deployment of the GeoMelt® technology. This will make it possible to broaden and simplify the use of the vitrification process – which is typically used for high-level waste – for a wider range of waste types.
The Waste2Glass company will be based in Limay in north-eastern France, near a new pilot unit that will incorporate the GeoMelt® process. This unit was recently commissioned by Veolia to carry out demonstrations and obtain the certifications required for the industrial deployment of the Geomelt process.
"I am delighted that we have taken this further step in our collaboration with EDF with the creation of Waste2Glass. It will enable a real change of scale through the industrialisation of GeoMelt®, which will make it possible to treat radioactive waste more safely and more economically, with a reduction in storage volumes," said Antoine Frérot, Chairman and CEO of Veolia.
The companies said the new JV renews their joint commitment to developing innovative solutions for the treatment of complex radioactive waste, two years after creating Graphitech, a joint venture dedicated to the development of solutions for the decommissioning of graphite-gas reactors.
"After Graphitech, the creation of Waste2Glass illustrates not only the quality of the cooperation between our two companies, but also the EDF Group's commitment to the development and industrial application of truly innovative solutions for the treatment of radioactive waste, a key issue for bringing nuclear power into the mainstream of sustainable development and helping to build a carbon-free future," said Jean Bernard Lévy, chairman and CEO of EDF.
Photo: Geomelt glass (Photo: Veolia)