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Technology Factsheet

Copper Cable Recycling Technology

Category: Waste Management > Waste Disposal > Other Hazardous Material
Reference # : OST No 2958, DOE/EM-0585 Model No : CCRT

The NUKEM Copper Cable Recycling Technology was transported to the INEEL where it was setup to recycle non-radioactively contaminated cable as well as cable with a surrogate contaminate applied. The Copper Cable Recycling Technology processed approximately 13.5 (US) tons of insulated/coated copper cable. Data was collected during training, setup, operations, maintenance, decontamination, and demobilization activities. Granulated copper and surrogate contaminated cable insulation and dust materials were collected in 55-gallon drums or plywood waste boxes.The processed cable was separated into contaminated and non-contaminated material fractions in an air-separation chamber. The contaminated portion is the outer covering or cable insulation and dust materials associated with the inner fillers and strength fibers used in the makeup of multi-conductor cables. The non-contaminated portion (which is the copper wire) is recovered from the inside of the insulation/covering. The relatively lighter insulation and dust granules float on a layer of air above the sieve, while the heavier copper fraction is separated by control of the sieve. Obtaining high volumes of uncontaminated copper for recycling and high volumes of materials that can be used as void fillers in low-level radioactive waste containers was one of the objectives of the technology demonstration. Contaminated dust generated by the grinding process is filtered through a three-stage process to prevent the release of airborne contamination. A special design inherent to the NUKEM Copper Cable Recycling Technology prevents the rebinding of contaminated dust to the insulation material. The dust filters and the off-gas filter are encapsulated and monitored for particulate buildup and cleaned or replaced as required. The dust filters did not require replacement or cleaning during the processing of 13.5 tons of cable. Larger amounts however, would require changing the filters and this frequency would depend on the amount and types of cables being processed. Dimensions of Tech Model (LxWxH): Weight of Tech Model (lb):


The benefits of the Nukem Copper Cable Recycling Technology include ease of transport and set up of the equipment in remote locations, as demonstrated by transporting the equipment from Germany to the INEEL using two twenty-foot sea-land containers. Following its shipment from Germany, the technology/equipment was assembled and demonstrated at the Bonneville County Technology Center.


Change from 50 to 60 Hz. This would allow operating the recycle unit using U.S. commercial power • Provide HEPA filter systems with the recycle unit • Design the unit as one piece, thus reducing setup time and costs associated with using a crane for setup. • Provide a power hookup cable with the system • Provide all exhaust and dust collection equipment.




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