AMEC, the international project management and services company, is to use its GeoMelt technology for the next stage of the world’s largest environmental clean-up project at the massive US nuclear weapons site in Hanford, Washington.
GeoMelt turns low-level radioactive waste into a glass-like material ten times stronger than concrete. It will be used to treat up to 30 million gallons of waste stored at the vast Hanford site, where, until the mid 1980s, 13 nuclear reactors produced plutonium for the US nuclear weapons programme.
AMEC’s contract is worth between $38m and $53m and runs from now to September 2006.
The next phase of the project, expected to start in 2007, will involve developing full-scale GeoMelt treatment plants, while the final operation stage will begin in 2011 and run until 2028, giving the project a potential value to AMEC of $1.4 billion.
AMEC’s GeoMelt process already has been used in both Japan and Australia and can treat a wide range of wastes, including drums, scrap metal, concrete, boulders, asphalt, wood, tyres and plastic.