This past September, UniTech Director of Canadian Operations Kent Anderson presented at the 4th Canadian Conference on Nuclear Waste Management, Decommissioning and Environmental Restoration. His presentation reviewed 15 years of data collected by UniTech confirming significant radioactive waste volume reduction and cost savings for Canadian customers, spanning 2004-2018.

In that 15-year time period, in which 49 million individual radiation personal protection equipment (RPPE) items were decontaminated, UniTech eliminated $91.6 million (Canadian dollars) in cost for Canadian nuclear plants. These savings are attributed to replacing single-use RPPE with launderable RPPE, which reduced direct per-unit cost and overall waste volume. Along with that cost reduction, 25,917 m3 (or 6.7 million lbs.) of waste was avoided.

Throughout his study, Anderson also covered many other critical factors contributing to cost savings related to materials in nuclear plants.

He made recommendations on crafting a nuclear plant waste reduction strategy that considers as many of the following tactics as possible:

  • Avoiding waste through launderable/reusable RPPE.
  • Cleaning and returning tools and equipment to contractors to eliminate or reduce back-end project liability using state-of-the-art monitoring equipment.
  • Demobilizing construction debris (structural steel, cabling, motors, etc.) on an ongoing basis using off-site decontamination/monitoring services.
  • Incorporating off-site waste sorting, looking for opportunities to…
    • expand the use of reusable items;
    • recover recyclable materials;
    • incinerate materials, reducing the long-term waste footprint;
    • reduce the volume of solid materials;
    • recover and store contaminated materials/tools until reuse is needed;
    • refurbish contaminated tooling/equipment for continued reuse.