Recycling of technology metals from the dismantling of nuclear facilities under consideration of radiation protection regulations (RecTecKA) - Subproject: Project coordination together with ecological and radiological assessments

At the Philippsburg site with the two nuclear power plants Philippsburg Unit 1 and Unit 2, decom-missioning and dismantling activities are currently being prepared intensively or are already in pro-gress. At this site, an applied research project is being carried out with the aim of identifying recy-cling potentials of technology metals and improving the recycling practice of these metals and al-loys, taking into account the release under radiation protection law. The main focus is on the identi-fication and pre-selection of particularly interesting plant components, which will be investigated in the course of the research project.

In accordance with the BMBF's funding policy objectives for the recycling of valuable metals, the following are of interest: plant components in which aggressive media are used, high pressures and temperatures prevail, measurement and control systems, power lines and components for power conversion.

In order to collect data, interviews are conducted at the technical processing level of the nuclear power plant operator. Furthermore, it shall be assumed that the future industrial recycling process will be connected after the official release procedure according to the Radiation Protection Ordi-nance. However, the division into areas in the context of radiation protection law can be generalised from these two model plants, which not least makes it possible to scale up the project results.

In the further course of the project, the material composition and inventory of valuable technology metals such as cobalt (e.g. in so-called superalloys) as well as tin, silver, palladium, gold and rho-dium will be surveyed. Intensive dismantling studies are carried out, which represent a technological development of the existing recycling practice. An important result of the project will be the compilation of recycling routes of material groups containing relevant special alloys and technology metals. This includes the determination of realistic end-of-life recycling potentials and a classifica-tion into recyclable material groups. This result represents progress in the state of the art, as such investigations have not yet taken place.

In close coordination with all partners involved, an economic feasibility study is carried out for all plant components under consideration, comparing costs and revenues. The costs explicitly take into account release processes to be optimised if necessary. For the acceptance of the project results, additional radiological considerations are carried out in connection with the release. Last but not least, the complete life cycle assessment puts the research result into an ecological and social context. This is essential, as a final assessment of the ecological and economic potential of the recycling of technology metals from the decommissioning of nuclear power plants in Germany is planned


More information about the project

Status of project

Project is ongoing

Project manager

Project staff

Peter Dolega
Christian Küppers

Funded by

German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF)
Ministerium für Wissenschaft, Forschung und Kunst Baden Württemberg

Project partners

Electrocycling GmbH
Clausthal University of Technology