Every year, more than 500 steel production sites in 23 EU Member States produce 200 million tonnes of steel, with and estimated ratio of 43% from recycled scrap loads. This material is tested for the presence of orphan radioactive sources from various origins (e.g. industry and medicine), by passing the scrap containers under radiation detection portals. However, under special circumstances, as self-shielding of sources or attenuation by other scrap pieces, this approach can fail; the radioactive source is smelt and results in:
- radioactive contamination of the furnace, cast steel, slag, fume dust, filters and ducts, by radionuclides from various origins,
- expensive clean-up costs for decontamination of facilities, storage and disposal of raw waste and lost production revenues,
- leaking of radioactive substances into the environment,
- trade disputes over the contamination level of steel products, (with a significant financial impact),
- reputation loss for steel makers.
Although the frequency of radioactive incidents of this kind has been significantly reduced in the last years, some recent incidents demonstrate that these risks are common across Europe and that, in addition to scrap controls, "a posteriori" controls are needed to guarantee and certify the absence of radioactive contamination in slag wastes, fumes dust and cast steel batches.
For more info please visit the project website: EMRP MetroMetal website