EDF and Veolia have announced the creation of Waste2Glass, a 50/50 joint venture that will develop a new sector based on Veolia's Geomelt vitrification technology. The partners are thus renewing their joint commitment to developing innovative solutions for the treatment of complex radioactive waste, two years after creating Graphitech, a joint venture dedicated to the development of solutions for the decommissioning of graphite-gas reactors.
Due to its technical nature and cost, vitrification has until now been reserved for highly radioactive waste. Thanks to the complementary know-how of the two partners, Waste2Glass will be able to take up the challenge of the industrial deployment of the GeoMelt technology, which will make it possible to broaden and simplify the use of the vitrification process for a wider range of waste types.
According to the statement, currently, GeoMelt is an advanced technology that has the potential to become a new benchmark solution for the treatment of complex waste, given the advantages it offers over existing technologies: A relatively simple industrial deployment; A significant reduction in waste volumes after treatment, especially compared to current immobilisation technologies using cementitious techniques; Obtaining an extremely durable matrix for conditioning.
This technology has already been used to treat 26,000 tonnes of radioactive and hazardous waste, particularly in the USA. The creation of the Waste2Glass company is planned for early 2022. It will be based in Limay (Yvelines), near a new pilot unit that will incorporate the GeoMelt process, recently commissioned by Veolia, in order to carry out demonstrations and obtain the certifications required for the industrial deployment of this process.
"Our business and our purpose as a world leader of the ecological transformation is to offer innovative technologies and solutions for the management of complex waste such as hazardous and radioactive waste. I am delighted that we have taken this further step in our collaboration with EDF with the creation of Waste2Glass. It will enable a real change of scale through the industrialisation of GeoMelt, which will make it possible to treat radioactive waste more safely and more economically, with a reduction in storage volumes," said Antoine Frérot, Chairman and CEO of Veolia.
"After Graphitec, the creation of Waste2Glass illustrates not only the quality of the cooperation between our two companies, but also the EDF Group's commitment to the development and industrial application of truly innovative solutions for the treatment of radioactive waste, a key issue for bringing nuclear power into the mainstream of sustainable development and helping to build a carbon-free future," said Jean Bernard Lévy, Chairman and CEO of EDF.