HERMINE™ – Safe and efficient treatment of nuclear residues and waste materials

The nuclear industry’s significance for the energy transition

Nuclear energy remains one of the most important sources of energy, also and especially when it comes to achieving global climate-protection targets. Many countries regard nuclear energy as indispensable if the planned reduction in CO2 is to be realized. The biggest challenge in this regard is finding the safest and most effective way to handle the residues and waste materials that result from the energy-generation process.

HERMINE customer added value

HERMINE: A modular system for the treatment of residue and waste

In order to ensure that contaminated waste materials and residues can be processed safely and efficiently, we have developed a modular system for treating them known as “HERMINE” (short for “Highly Efficient Reduction of Radwaste in a Modular Intelligent Nuclear Environmentally Friendly Facility”).

Thanks to the system’s modular approach, the relevant machinery and equipment can be tailored in keeping with requirements, while processing capacities can be easily adjusted and all the volumes and materials involved can be processed on site.

The purpose of HERMINE: To recycle the bulk of the materials back into the conventional cycle of usable materials, while packaging the remaining waste materials in a volume-compressed manner for subsequent interim storage and end storage.

The added value of using HERMINE

HERMINE creates savings in terms of input materials, costs and time expended

  • Needs-based deployment of waste-treatment systems
  • Reduced radiation exposure, fewer radioactive transports, lower transport costs and less documentation
  • Maximization of recyclable materials
  • Low space requirements at interim storage facilities
  • Reduced volumes held in end-storage and thus lower “perpetual storage costs"

Workflows and components of the HERMINE waste-treatment center

The combination of innovative technologies allows the total volume of radioactive wastes to be reduced by up to 20 percent. The waste is first analyzed, disassembled, sorted and crushed. Depending on their level of contamination, they are then subjected to various waste-treatment processes. The compactable portion is reduced further through compression.

The waste-treatment center contains the following components, which can be combined as needed. In addition, Bilfinger offers the gamut of services required for the treatment of contaminated waste materials at nuclear power plants: 

  • Cementation facilities
  • Uncapping units
  • Protective enclosures featuring double-door air locks and manipulators
  • Various dismantling processes
  • Decontamination units
  • Mobile water-treatment systems

Strategic Partner for the Nuclear Industry

Bilfinger is a competent partner for nuclear technology solutions and offers services for the entire life cycle of nuclear plants, from R&D and new construction to refurbishment and dismantling.

Find out more

HERMINE: Environmental protection and cost efficiency

modular approach

Module Overview HERMINE

Selected reference projects

(Oskarshamn, Sweden)

Encapsulation plant for the storage of spent fuel elements

EDF Energy
(Hinkley Point C, UK)

Treatment plant for nuclear waste from ongoing operations

(Greifswald/Lubmin, Germany)

Cementation facility for the conditioning of radioactive waste

Further references