Israeli firm to unveil radioactive waste disposal system

Company claims its technology leaves no groundwater, surface water, or soil pollution, and "poses no threat to the environment."

radioactive 88 (photo credit: Courtesy)
radioactive 88
(photo credit: Courtesy)
Israeli technology for the disposal of low- and medium-level radioactive waste will be unveiled Thursday to delegations from Russia, Japan, Korea and the United States. Israeli government officials will also be present at the demonstration. The new facility, which has been authorized by the relevant government authorities, is located in the waste-burying site in Ibillin, near Karmiel. The facility was developed by Environmental Energy Resources (EER), an Israeli-based company. According to a company statement, Thursday's demonstration will not involve actual radioactive materials, and is meant to showcase the technology and facilities, which can be exported. The company also claims that its technology leaves no groundwater, surface water, or soil pollution, and "poses no threat to the environment." The new technology is based on plasma gasification melting (PMG) technology and was developed together with scientists from the Technion in Haifa and the Russian research institute of Kurchatov in Moscow. According to EER, the facility turns radioactive medical and municipal waste into harmless solid substances at a low level of radiation. EER's technology combines three processes into a single-step solution: pyrolysis - chemical breakdown of the waste by advanced plasma torches; gasification of the carbonaceous residues of pyrolysis generating energy-rich gases; and finally melting and vitrification of the inorganic components producing stable solid waste such as heavy metals. The resulting vitrified material is inert and can be cast into molds to produce tiles, blocks or plates for the construction industry. The facility has a capacity of 500 to 1,000 kilograms of waste per hour and will be used as an international demonstration site handling only municipal waste. EER is an Israeli registered company which two years ago won the tender for the international project of nuclear waste disposal in Chernobyl. The company was established in 2000 and is held mainly by Japanese and Korean associates, and by Israeli and foreign investors.