Project Synopsis

Preparation of a comprehensive process design package for a new batch process designed to recover reactor-grade uranium from various stockpiled uranium compound feedstocks.

Project Summary


The client owns and operates a batch specialty chemical/materials manufacturing facility that produces reactor-grade fuel and contracted Process Engineering Associates, LLC (PROCESS) to execute a complete process design for a new batch process for recovering reactor-grade uranium from various stockpiled uranium compound feedstocks.  Process major unit operations included dissolvers, reactors, precipitators/filters, tanks, pumps, vacuum systems, heat exchangers, condensers, offgas handling and treatment system, and wastewater collection and pre-treatment system.  Project tasks included:

  • Process design basis development
  • Computer process simulation, mass and energy balance development, and process flow diagrams (PFDs) and process description preparation
  • Process controls design, and piping and instrumentation diagrams (P&IDs) and process controls description preparation
  • Equipment duty specifications and data sheets preparation
  • Pressure relief device (PRD) design and sizing
  • Equipment layout and elevation drawings preparation
  • Vent and utilities systems capacity evaluations
  • Process hazards analysis (PHA) facilitation and process engineering representation.

This project was unique to the client in the fact that this was the first time they had gone to an outside engineering firm for a process design.  The client was well-versed on the technologies required to complete the process, but relied heavily on PROCESS’ vast experience in the area of process design package preparation such that the appropriate documentation was completed for subsequent detail engineering and/or construction activities.  As such, significant effort was put forth in setting the design basis prior to executing subsequent project tasks in order to minimize the level of rework required during the project.  The mass and energy balance task involved taking a preliminary mass and energy balance developed by the client, reviewing it, and augmenting it as required to complete a comprehensive mass and energy balance for the entire process.  Thirty (30) PFDs were prepared based on the final mass and energy balance.  Forty nine (49) P&IDs were prepared to depict the process as well.  Forty one (41) equipment specifications including the requisite information for procurement were prepared for all process equipment items.  Layout and elevation depictions of the process primary unit operations were constructed to aid in the fabrication of the system.  A detailed utilities system evaluation, primarily in the area of offgas treatment for the purpose of evaluating the suitability of an existing scrubber, was executed.  Finally, PROCESS led and documented a PHA near the conclusion of the design.  PROCESS also provided the process engineering representative to the PHA.

The engineering documents developed during the course of this project were assimilated into a comprehensive process design package that formed the basis for detail design and/or procurement and construction activities.

It is anticipated by the client that the development of this process design prior to the execution of subsequent project tasks will result in a smoother and less costly path to system startup than had been experienced by the client in previous projects.

Industry Type

  • Nuclear Fuels Processing

Utilized Skills

  • Computer process simulation
  • Mass and energy balance development
  • Process controls design
  • Equipment duty specifications
  • Equipment layout preparation
  • Vent and utilities systems capacity evaluations
  • Process hazards analysis (PHA)
  • Basic engineering package (BEP)

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