In nuclear power plants (NPP) ion exchange (IX) resins are used in several systems for water treatment. The resins can be in bead or powdered form.
For waste treatment of spent IX resins, two methods are basically used:
• Direct immobilization (e.g. with cement, bitumen, polymer or High Integrity Container (HIC))
• Thermal treatment (e.g. drying, oxidation or pyrolysis)
Bead resins have some properties (e.g. particle size and density) that can have negative impacts on following waste treatment processes. Negative impacts could be:
• Floatation of bead resins in cementation process
• Sedimentation in pipeline during transportation
• Poor compaction properties for Hot Resin Supercompaction (HRSC)
Reducing the particle size of the bead resins can have beneficial effects enhancing further treatment processes and overcoming prior mentioned effects.
Westinghouse Electric Company has developed a modular grinding process to crush/grind the bead resins. This modular process is designed for flexible use and enables a selective adjustment of particle size to tailor the grinding system to the customer needs.
The system can be equipped with a crusher integrated in the process tank and if necessary a colloid mill. The crusher reduces the bead resins particle size and converts the bead resins to a pump able suspension with lower sedimentation properties. With the colloid mill the resins can be ground to a powder.
Compared to existing grinding systems this equipment is designed to minimize radiation exposure of the worker during operation and maintenance.
Using the crushed and/or ground bead resins has several beneficial effects like facilitating cementation process and recipe development, enhancing oxidation of resins, improving the Hot Resin Supercompaction volume reduction performance.