The UK's National Nuclear Laboratory (NNL) announced today that Rawwater Engineering Company, whose specialist alloy seals for the oil and gas sector are being adapted to support Sellafield decommissioning challenges, has signed a contract that will take the company into the Japanese nuclear sector.

The contract, the value of which was not disclosed, was signed with Tokyo Electric Power Company (Tepco) to explore the use of Rawwater Molten Metal Manipulation (M3) technology across its nuclear power plants. Rawwater adaptations of the bismuth metal alloy technology it introduced to the oil and gas industries resulted in a suite of alloys offering significant benefits to the nuclear industry, NNL said.

Trials of the M3 technology in simulated Sellafield applications are producing "extremely encouraging results", NNL said. It can seal large openings or fill micron sized cracks or pores, preventing fluid leakage and, useable underwater or in the air, it can stabilise a structure and provide radioactive shielding, it said. Key features include reduced recovery costs and longevity anticipated at 3000 years in the oil and gas sector, it added.

NNL brokered the contract, will monitor the Rawwater project and will produce independent reports for Tepco. These will include results from demonstrations of the technology at NNL's Workington facility in Cumbria, England.

Rawwater pioneered the use of bismuth metal alloy plugs for the oil and gas industries as a superior option to cement. Adaptations combining bismuth with other metals resulted in alloys that can be tailored to expand, contract or remain neutral as needed when they solidify, offering significant benefits to the nuclear sector.

The company made the transition into the nuclear sector through Sellafield's Game Changers programme, which is designed to identify and develop technologies that can offer significant, pioneering advances in the decommissioning of Sellafield. The programme is delivered by NNL and FIS360.

Researched and written by World Nuclear News

Date: Wednesday, 25 September 2019
Original article: