Patents Assigned to British Nuclear Fuels plc
  • Patent number: 8246841
    Abstract: The invention provides a method for the separation of solids from a semi-solid viscous mass, the method comprising treating a solids-containing semi-solid viscous mass in an apparatus comprising a separating member incorporating a substantially flat solid surface and a supporting member, wherein the separating member is adapted to selectively impart directional momentum to the solids, thereby facilitating separation of the solids from the semi-solid viscous mass. Preferably the separating member comprises a substantially flat solid surface adapted for vibrational motion, the vibrational motion causing the solids material to be displaced from the remainder of the semi-solid viscous mass.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: August 20, 2010
    Date of Patent: August 21, 2012
    Assignee: British Nuclear Fuels PLC
    Inventor: Kevin Hodgson
  • Publication number: 20100314332
    Abstract: The invention provides a method for the separation of solids from a semi-solid viscous mass, the method comprising treating a solids-containing semi-solid viscous mass in an apparatus comprising a separating member incorporating a substantially flat solid surface and a supporting member, wherein the separating member is adapted to selectively impart directional momentum to the solids, thereby facilitating separation of the solids from the semi-solid viscous mass. Preferably the separating member comprises a substantially flat solid surface adapted for vibrational motion, the vibrational motion causing the solids material to be displaced from the remainder of the semi-solid viscous mass.
    Type: Application
    Filed: August 20, 2010
    Publication date: December 16, 2010
    Applicant: BRITISH NUCLEAR FUELS PLC
    Inventor: Kevin Hodgson
  • Patent number: 7828075
    Abstract: An apparatus for manipulating a target includes a base which may be secured to a trolley and a hydraulic arm mounted on the base arranged for being controlled remotely by a user. The arm includes at an end distal from the base a tool coupling which is arranged to receive a variety of tools for performing work on the target object.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: July 5, 2004
    Date of Patent: November 9, 2010
    Assignee: British Nuclear Fuels PLC
    Inventors: Gerald A. Daniel, Brent Broadhurst, James Harken, Colin Robson
  • Patent number: 7694752
    Abstract: A method and apparatus for drilling a bore through a target includes advancing a drill bit into the target along a direction of advancement and injecting a directing gas in the direction of advancement through at least one aperture in the drill bit. As the bore is drilled, waste material is directed in the direction of advancement via the gas.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: July 5, 2004
    Date of Patent: April 13, 2010
    Assignee: British Nuclear Fuels PLC
    Inventors: Gerald A. Daniel, Brent Broadhurst, James Harken, Colin Robson
  • Patent number: 7445591
    Abstract: The invention provides a method for the encapsulation of fine particulate materials which comprises treating these materials with a microfine hydraulic inorganic filler which, typically, comprises a cementitious material, such as Portland Cement. The filler is ground to a much smaller particle size than is normally used in the production of a grout and is provided in the form of an aqueous composition for the treatment of the fine particulate materials by pumping under pressure through these materials such that they become intimately encapsulated. The method is particularly applicable to the treatment of waste materials and, most particularly, waste materials which are encountered in the nuclear industry.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: October 5, 2006
    Date of Patent: November 4, 2008
    Assignee: British Nuclear Fuels PLC
    Inventors: Ian Hugh Godfrey, Martin John Jowsey, Eric Walter Miller
  • Patent number: 7358503
    Abstract: The invention provides a method for the identification of deposits of solid materials in process plants, the method comprising the creation of a theee-dimensional image by means of tomography, preferably passive tomography, most preferably gamma-ray tomography. Typically, the solid materials comprise gamma-ray emitting solid materials and the process plants comprise nuclear process plants. In general, the deposits of solid materials are deposited from liquid media, and the liquid media preferably comprise aqueous suspensions of these materials. The method is particularly applicable to highly active nuclear waste liquids in High Activity Storage Tank (HAST) applications, and offers significant advantages over the methods of the prior art, since it comprises a non-invasive technique which does not require the prior installation of a detector in the vessel from which data are to be obtained.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: May 13, 2004
    Date of Patent: April 15, 2008
    Assignee: British Nuclear Fuels PLC
    Inventors: Andrew Simon Fellerman, Brian Andrew Cattle, Robert Michael West
  • Patent number: 7241932
    Abstract: The present invention relates to an immobilizing medium for the encapsulation of radioactive waste. The waste immobilizing medium has a sodium silicate based glass matrix in which there is contained radioactive waste wherein the waste comprises one or more inert metal components and one or more fission products. At least a portion of the inert metal components are dissolved in the glass matrix and increase its durability. As a result, the waste immobilising medium is highly durable and leach resistant and is suitable for long term storage of radioactive waste. The inert metal components preferably comprise iron, nickel and chromium.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: July 22, 2002
    Date of Patent: July 10, 2007
    Assignee: British Nuclear Fuels PLC
    Inventor: Ewan Robert Maddrell
  • Patent number: 7238270
    Abstract: The invention provides a process for dissolving actinic oxides, the process comprising performing the steps of (a) introducing the actinic oxides into a solution of nitric acid; (b) treating the acidic solution in order to substantially remove palladium; and (c) treating with divalent silver. Preferably, the actinic oxides are comprised in spent nuclear fuel. Optionally, the process comprises a second treatment of the acidic solution in order to substantially remove palladium and a second treatment with divalent silver. The steps may be performed on a batchwise or continuous basis. The treatment to remove palladium is preferably carried out by solvent extraction or ion exchange, and provides greatly improved rates of dissolution of oxides of plutonium. The treatment with divalent silver preferably involves the addition of a source of monovalent silver, followed by an electrolysis treatment to generate divalent silver.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: September 26, 2003
    Date of Patent: July 3, 2007
    Assignee: British Nuclear Fuels PLC
    Inventors: Peter Jonathan Watson Rance, Robert John Bernard
  • Patent number: 7195832
    Abstract: A method of production and apparatus for a fuel cell having three nested truncated cones. The inner cone is made of a porous metal sponge, such as nickel, and provides a media through which fuel can pass. The second cone is provided around the inner cone in use, and acts as a diffuser for the fuel to promote efficient contact with the third cone. The third cone is the fuel cell itself and includes an electrolyte component which provides a gas impermeable layer between fuel and oxidation sides of the cell. A cathode and anode are provided on outer and inner surfaces respectively of the electrolyte component. The fuel cell is configured such that the lower surface of the fuel cell has a cross-sectional profile of greater area than the top surface. The top surface has an aperture allowing fuel to exit the diffuser cone.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: October 18, 2001
    Date of Patent: March 27, 2007
    Assignee: British Nuclear Fuels PLC
    Inventors: Robert Glynn Lewin, Stephen Vernon Barnett
  • Publication number: 20070029490
    Abstract: Methods and apparatus are provided for measuring emissions from radioactive material in a matrix. Consideration is made in the variation in counts observed at different rational positions of the body of material so as to establish the information about the position of the radioactive material within the matrix.
    Type: Application
    Filed: February 27, 2004
    Publication date: February 8, 2007
    Applicant: BRITISH NUCLEAR FUELS PLC
    Inventors: John Ronaldson, Daniel Parvin
  • Patent number: 7107728
    Abstract: The invention provides a stabilizing device for inclusion in a stack of containers in which hazardous waste is held, wherein the stabilizing device comprises a table for supporting a container in the stack, and a base, the table being movable relative to the base so as to aid stability of the stack when the stack is subjected to external forces.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: May 10, 2001
    Date of Patent: September 19, 2006
    Assignee: British Nuclear Fuels Plc
    Inventor: Andrew Ronald Whitley
  • Patent number: 7095030
    Abstract: Apparatus and methods for measuring activity of radioactivity at a source location within an environment provided. The method in particular includes measuring emissions using an instrument as a measurement location, which instrument includes a detector, the instrument considering a detector field of view of the environment, which field of view includes a source location and providing an indication of detected emissions for that field of view, correcting the detected emissions to give emitted emissions in respect of that field of view, the correction being achieved by using a correction factor specific for that field of view, the correction factor accounting for one or more field of view format and/or the attenuation between the source location and the detector and/or the distance between the source location and the detector, the emitted emissions being indicative of the activity.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: November 27, 2002
    Date of Patent: August 22, 2006
    Assignee: British Nuclear Fuels plc
    Inventors: Karl Anthony Hughes, John Lightfoot
  • Patent number: 7078581
    Abstract: A ceramic waste immobilizing material for the encapsulation of high level radioactive waste (HLW), e.g. resulting from the reprocessing of irradiated nuclear fuel. The ceramic waste immobilising material enables waste ions from at least fission products in irradiated nuclear fuel to be dissolved in substantially solid solution form. The ceramic waste immobilising medium has a matrix comprising phases of hollandite, perovskite and zirconolite in which the waste ions are dissolved. The invention also includes a method of immobilizing HLW from reprocessed nuclear fuel assemblies comprising the steps of mixing a liquor containing the HLW with a precursor material comprising oxides or oxide precursors of at least titanium, calcium and barium to form a slurry, drying the slurry, and calcining the dried slurry under a reducing atmosphere to form a powder comprising 30–65 weight % waste.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: November 8, 2000
    Date of Patent: July 18, 2006
    Assignee: British Nuclear fuels PLC
    Inventors: Ewan Robert Maddrell, Melody Lyn Carter
  • Patent number: 7047985
    Abstract: The invention provides a method for the removal of contaminating materials from pipework, the contaminating materials comprising deposits on the pipework which cause a reduction in the effective internal diameter of the pipes and thereby effect a reduction in the rate of flow of a fluid through the pipework, the method comprising treating the contaminating materials with at least one carbamate salt. The methods is also suitable for the treatment of contaminating materials which have a particularly deleterious effect on fluid flow and comprise partial or total blockages of the pipework. The carbamate is preferably in the form of an aqueous solution, and a preferred carbamate salt is ammonium carbamate. The treatment may be carried out in the presence of an additive such as caesium carbonate or ammonium bicarbonate. Optionally the treatment may be accompanied by a pre-treatment or post-treatment with aid, this being followed by a water wash.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: April 7, 2003
    Date of Patent: May 23, 2006
    Assignee: British Nuclear Fuels PLC
    Inventors: Iain Stewart Dennis, Phillip Antony Mayhew
  • Patent number: 7043411
    Abstract: A method and apparatus for monitoring a neutron source are provided, the method comprising: i) providing a plurality of neutron detectors (16) at known positions relative to one another; ii) monitoring the neutron detection rates for the detectors caused by the unknown source(s); iii) proposing a model source location(s) relative to the detectors and an activity level for the model source(s); iv) predicting neutron detection rates for the model source(s); v) comparing the predicted and actual detection rates; vi) adjusting the model source location(s) and/or activity(s) to reduce the difference between the predicted and actual detection rates. The reduced and preferably minimized, difference between the predicted and actual detection rates leads to a model source location(s) and activity(s) which represents an accurate equivalent to the unknown. The location information and/or activity information may be conveyed to the operator of the method.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: May 15, 1998
    Date of Patent: May 9, 2006
    Assignee: British Nuclear Fuels PLC
    Inventors: John Paul Ronaldson, Robert Jonathan Sharpe
  • Patent number: 7037400
    Abstract: A method of forming interconnections between channels and/or chambers for use in a micro-fluidic device. Two planer substrates (usually glass and silicon respectively) having etched channels are bonded together to form volmes where the channels overlap. A manifolding cut is then made through the glass, intersecting glass channels only. An organic solution is passed into cut, and flows through silicon channels. An aqueous solution is passed into cut, and flows through glass channels. The solutions meet in the region, where matter is transferred from one solution to another.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: January 5, 1999
    Date of Patent: May 2, 2006
    Assignee: British Nuclear Fuels plc
    Inventors: John Edward Andrew Shaw, Chris Turner
  • Patent number: 7022998
    Abstract: A method and apparatus are provided for determining radiation dose rates at selected locations within an environment. Incident gamma ray energy and count rate are measured at one or more measured locations within the environment to obtain a measured spectrum for those measured locations. The spatial position of the measured locations is also measured. An emitted spectrum is then determined for the measured locations based on the measured spectrum. The emitted spectrum may then be used to determine the dose rate at one or more selected locations (which may be different than the measured locations). In this way the invention provides an accurate solution for the dose rate at any point of interest within the environment based on the measured count and incident energies.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: May 19, 2004
    Date of Patent: April 4, 2006
    Assignee: British Nuclear Fuels PLC
    Inventors: John Adrian Lightfoot, Karl Anthony Hughes
  • Patent number: 6982563
    Abstract: A method of monitoring or predicting corrosion using a field signature method is provided which is intended to be applicable to non-linear locations, such as bends, junctions and the like. The method includes obtaining information on a relationship which links voltage measurements, obtained for a location, between two or more electrical contacts in contact with the location at a first time and one or more other times when a current is passed through the location, to the loss of material from the location. The information on the relationship is used in a modelling process which includes the generation of a model of the location, two or more points on that location and modelling the values generated for the voltages which will be measured between the two or more points with a current applied to the location at a first and at least at a second time.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: November 6, 2001
    Date of Patent: January 3, 2006
    Assignee: British Nuclear Fuels PLC
    Inventor: Brian Hands
  • Patent number: 6960326
    Abstract: The invention provides a method of separating uranium from at least fission products in irradiated nuclear fuel, said method comprising reacting said irradiated nuclear fuel with a solution of ammonium fluoride in hydrogen fluoride fluorinating said reacted irradiated nuclear fuel to form a volatile uranium fluoride compound and separating said volatile uranium fluoride compound from involatile fission products. The invention thus provides a reprocessing scheme for irradiated nuclear fuel. The method is also capable of reacting, and breaking down Zircaloy cladding and stainless steel assembly components. Thus, whole fuel elements may be dissolved as one thereby simplifying procedures over conventional Purex processes.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: November 22, 2000
    Date of Patent: November 1, 2005
    Assignee: British Nuclear Fuels PLC
    Inventors: Kevin James Webb, Eric George Hope
  • Patent number: 6912485
    Abstract: An event monitoring system has a plurality of detector units for detecting neutrons or other emissions from radioactive materials (i.e., events). At least one of the detector units has a detector for the events and an amplifier to amplify signals generated by the detector. A signal handler receives the amplified signals and an adder adds to the signals an indication of the detector unit from which the signals originated. A combiner combines the signals. A serial link conveys the combined signals from the signal handler to a signal processor which includes a signal receiver for the combined signals. A time stamper applies to the signal an indication of time of the generation of the signal by the detector unit, and a computer processes the signals, including the time and detector unit indications, using software to produce information on the signals or events they represent.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: December 13, 2002
    Date of Patent: June 28, 2005
    Assignee: British Nuclear Fuels plc
    Inventors: John Adrian Lightfoot, Neil Pritchard, David John Strawbridge, David Bailey, Robert Johnathan Sharpe, John Paul Ronaldson