Economic Analysis of Nickel Release Project
There is an estimated
9,000 tons of radioactively contaminated nickel in the form
of ingots stored at the current and former uranium enrichment plants in Paducah,
KY, Portsmouth, OH, and Oak Ridge, TN. Nickel has a particularly high scrap
value, but a moratorium by the DOE on commercial reuse of any radioactively contaminated
metals prevents its sale. Disposal costs would be quite high, and result in
the loss of the material as a valuable resource. This project would lead to the
establishment and validation of a process whereby the nickel can be made as clean
as or cleaner than conventional commercial nickel relative to radioactive contaminants.
There are two portions of this proposal.
- Develop a technology to remove radionuclide contaminants from existing U.S. Department
of Energy stockpiles of nickel ingots.
- Apply the developed technology to purify the contaminated nickel inventory in Paducah.
- Provide a summary (and timeline) of the history of the issues with regard to the
release of the nickel. Information in this summary and timeline should include:
- Amount of nickel
- Types of Contamination
- Release Standards
- Efforts by PACRO
- Claims and Efforts by CVDR
- The principal investigator (PI) will report on the possible economic paths forward for the nickel at Paducah
(what is the potential economic benefit to Paducah with each of these scenarios)?
This analysis will be incorporated into a course in engineering economics (CME455
Process Design 1) where the students will develop tools to perform this analysis
based on variable assumptions. The result of incorporating this analysis into this
course and its contribution to meeting educational objectives for the course will
be reported at the ASEE Annual Meeting in 2006.
- No release
- DOD comes in and takes the nickel and uses it in their complex
- DOD comes in and cleans it up some (e.g. CVDR) and uses it with DOD
- DOD allows the nickel to be cleaned by a third party and released to the public
- Perform an analysis of the following issues and constraints surrounding the nickel
- Technical (How clean does it have to be? What are the technical challenges with
that level? What type of verification process would be required to "prove" the nickel
could be cleaned to that level? How many samples would be necessary to demonstrate
the feasibility of the process, etc.)
- Regulatory (What current regulations are relevant to the cleanup of the nickel
and the facilities required to clean the nickel, e.g. facility permitting, etc.)
- Political (Why was the moratorium imposed, what would be required for it to be lifted,
what is the position of the nickel industry, the nickel industry unions, the general
public? What specific barriers exist with each group? What would be necessary to
eliminate those barriers?)
- Provide recommendations for dealing with the above barriers. A report will be delivered
at the end of the project, approximately June 30, 2006. Interim progress reports
will be delivered as requested.
Project 9: Purification and Recovery of Radiologically Contaminated Metals
- Project Manager
Steve Hampson, Associate Director/Co-Principal
Investigator, University of Kentucky, Kentucky Research Consortium for Energy &
- Principal Investigators
David Silverstein, Ph.D., Assistant
Professor, University of Kentucky Paducah Engineering Program