Incineration

A large portion of LLRW is combustible and suitable for incineration. Used in combination with compacting, one-hundred fold volume reductions can be achieved. Radioactive waste incineration is an expensive and potentially troublesome treatment technique. Most European countries incinerate combustible radioactive waste prior to disposal. In the United States, incineration is reserved for cases where maximum volume reduction is required, and/or sophisticated off-gas treatment is not necessary. Clean air requirements make it increasingly difficult to build commercial incinerators.

Several waste characteristics are important in relation to incinerator performance. With very compact materials, combustion may be incomplete. Certain materials such as plastics (PVC) produce corrosive (HCl) gases that can damage the incinerator and must be scrubbed prior to release to the environment. The correct temperature must be maintained to ensure complete combustion. Since furnace temperature is controlled by the calorific value of the waste, the moisture content, and the combustion rate, it is clear that the feed rate is critical to successful incineration. The use of supplemental fuel to control combustion is dis couraged unless it is already contaminated with radioactive materials.

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