Amber Precast is an innovative precast and cast stone manufacturer who secured and completed the prototype manufacture of the Magnox 6m3 Reinforced Concrete Box (RCB) to house Intermediate Level nuclear Waste (ILW). These containers are multi-purpose in nature and are capable of storing and transporting nuclear waste. They form the final disposal package for ILW. The successful delivery of the prototype boxes resulted in the award of the supply contract for 1,010 concrete, MagnaDense and steel containers for Magnox to be delivered over a four year period and which is currently ongoing.
LKAB Minerals supply the nuclear industry with MagnaDense, a natural high density material for grout and concrete, providing enhanced radiation shielding for new builds and decommissioning applications. LKAB Minerals support Amber Precast in the manufacture of the high density version of the RCB.
With the development work that Amber Precast had undertaken to win the supply contract for the 6m3 RCBs, it became clear that the Magnox preferred concrete technologies were not current. Amber Precast and LKAB Minerals recognised a market opportunity to use cutting edge concrete technology to develop a more durable and robust range of low cost concrete based waste containers for the nuclear sector.
Amber Precast and LKAB Minerals formed a consortium to undertake the design, development and build of a new range of lightweight and robust ultra-high performance concrete containers. These were designed to have enhanced capabilities when compared to those currently in use within the UK whilst still performing the same overall function; namely of temporary storage, transport and disposal of Low Level and Intermediate Level nuclear wastes.
One of the breakthroughs in concrete technology is ultra-high performance concrete (UHPC), with a steel-like compressive strength of up to 250 N/mm²and a remarkable increase in durability compared even with high-performance concrete. In combination with steel and other fibres, it is now possible to design sustainable lightweight concrete constructions with or even without additional reinforcement.
Using the latest industry techniques, materials and IP from both LKAB and Amber Precast, the consortium have achieved significantly enhanced material properties than those found in current concrete containers for the nuclear sector for both high density and standard density mixes. In addition, the consortium has delivered a proof of concept, with full scale cast box corner sections demonstrating that a cubic container could be manufactured from the advanced developed mixes.
The consortium has, in parallel, developed a number of container designs to meet various waste container specifications that are low cost and flexible. They meet the requirements for on-site storage and transport and for use as a final disposal container within the national repository. The design and development work was supported by a well-respected engineering consultancy within the nuclear sector.
The proven UHPC mixes, and simplified designs, offer potential waste consigners a container range that can support multiple LLW and ILW waste streams and:
- Eliminate high cost steel fabrications
- Reduce environmental impact through the elimination of highly processed and energy intensive steel components
- Simplify manufacture
- Provide significant cost savings
- Use up-to-date proven concrete practices
- Containers can be handled with off-the-shelf commercial lifting equipment
- Have operational flexibility with both cast lid and precast lid options
- Be fitted with twistlock lifting points for waste consigners that already have installed handling plant
The design, development, manufacture and quality assurance of the 6m3 RCB, plus the development works associated with the new UHPC range of containers, has generated significant IP and manufacturing lessons learnt for both Amber Precast and LKAB Minerals. As a result, our consortium leads the UK manufacturing base for concrete containers for the nuclear sector.
Amber Precast has a new “state of the art” covered manufacturing facility dedicated to the manufacture of high tech products such as nuclear waste containers. The facility is also designed to accommodate “heavy” aggregates, such as MagnaDense, that competitor facilities cannot always handle efficiently. Complementing this manufacturing facility is an integrated quality management system that meets the stringent requirements of highly regulated industry sectors.
The Amber Precast and LKAB Minerals Consortium is keen to hear from Site Licence Companies, tier 1 operators and major tier 2 companies in the nuclear sector and within other highly regulated industries both within the UK and overseas for further development and manufacturing opportunities for high performance and/or high density concrete products such as nuclear waste containers, radiation shielding and modular containment facilities, etc.
Please contact either party listed below for any enquiries or requests for further information regarding this technology and the challenges it addresses or for information on our mineral and aggregates supply or manufacturing facilities:
John Cheek, Special Project Director, Amber Precast Limited Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Mobile: +44 (0) 778 225 2732
Mark Moriarty, Sales Manager Magnetite, UK & Ireland, LKAB Minerals Limited Email: email@example.com
Mobile: +44 (0) 758 417 0668