Successful Development of the "SELECT Process" to separate radioactive waste
—A breakthrough in the development of partitioning and transmutation technology to reduce toxicity and volume of high-level radioactive liquid waste—
To develop partitioning and transmutation technology leading to toxicity and volume reduction of radioactive waste, it is necessary to separate highly toxic radionuclides from high-level radioactive liquid waste. Therefore, the development of a practical partitioning method was a need that must be met.
Various partitioning methods have been designed in the past, but none of them have been practicable due to the high cost of the reagent for separation, or its phosphorus or to sulfur constituents which made it difficult to incinerate and would generate secondary radioactive waste.
For the first time in the world, the Research Group for Partitioning (with Tatsuro Matsumura as research group leader) of Japan Atomic Energy Agency, Sector of Nuclear Science Research, Nuclear Science and Engineering Center, has successfully developed the "SELECT Process", a chemical separation method using affordable and incinerable reagents for separation and applying a solvent extraction that is easy to scale-up, capable of separating highly toxic radionuclides such as americium with an efficiency higher than 99.9%.
The development of this practical and highly efficient "SELECT Process" is expected to constitute a step forward in the practical use of partitioning and transmutation technology leading to toxicity and volume reduction of high level radioactive liquid waste.