Today, Orano is continuing and speeding up its efforts to develop innovative solutions to support its existing value creation models.
Orano Med and its partner RadioMedix have received FDA* approval in the United States to initiate Phase 1 clinical trials on AlphaMedixTM, a development therapy for patients with neuroendocrine tumors (NET) that express specific receptors, known as somatostatin receptors. AlphaMedixTM made of a peptide analogous to somatostatin, which makes it possible to target tumour cells. Radio-marked with lead-212 (212Pb), it will make it possible, during anti-proliferation, to kill cancerous cells while limiting the damage to the surrounding healthy cells.
The objective of Phase 1 is to assess the tolerance, biodistribution and preliminary efficacy of AlphaMedixTM in adult patients with neuroendocrine tumors, by gradually increasing treatment doses. AlphaMedixTM will be produced entirely by Orano Med teams in the DDPU in Plano (Texas), before being sent to a clinical center in Houston specialised in this type of tumour. Patients will be treated under the responsibility of RadioMedix.
*Food and Drug Administration
Orano is working with the CEA, ECM Technologies and Andra on a project to develop and qualify a vitrification process that meets the demanding requirements of dismantling environments. Constraints are such that the process must be simple, robust, versatile, compact and easy to deploy on site and all that with moderate investment and operating costs. The DEM&MELT process is designed to meet all these requirements.
The overall benefit offered by a glass matrix is significantly greater than that of the cement matrices implemented to date: it thus makes it possible to stabilize, contain and densify high and intermediate-level waste over the long term.
The DEM&MELT project is co-funded by the French government program "Programme d’Investissements d’Avenir" [Future Investments Program]. In particular, this program encourages initiatives that support carbon neutrality and competitiveness through innovation.
DEM&MELT is a thermal "In-Can" process for intermediate and high-level solid and liquid waste. The process offers a number of benefits:
The DEM&MELT technology allows the waste to be reduced in volume and stabilized, as well as providing durable long-term containment of radionuclides.
can inside the furnace © CEA
Since the accident at TEPCO’s Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Station (NPS) in 2011, the water used to cool the reactors has been continuously treated (decontamination of radioactive elements) to limit as far as possible the impact of the accident on the site's environment.
Today's challenge? Reduce the volume, condition the nuclear waste (sludges, mineral adsorbents for the most part) resulting from the treatment of these effluents and produce packages that meet safety requirements for interim storage and final disposal. Vitrification is a solution that satisfies these requirements.
The Japanese Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry has adopted an evaluation study to demonstrate the applicability of the Dem&Melt process to condition Fukushima Daiichi NPS water treatment secondary waste, as The Subsidy Program “Project of Decommissioning Water Treatment”. With more than 40 years of experience in the operation of very high activity vitrification units (notably at La Hague and Marcoule), Orano is cooperating on this project with CEA and ANADEC (Orano ATOX D&D solutions Co, Ltd – Japan).
The first part of the study was conducted in four phases between April 2018 and March 2019. The results obtained were very positive and promising for the future:
The project is continuing through 2020 and 2021 in order to carry out additional tests and scenario studies, including the evaluation of the durability of materials obtained on a pilot scale, and to study the implementation of DEM&MELT modular units on the Fukushima Daiichi NPS site.
Beyond the applicability for conditioning Fukushima Daiichi NPS water treatment secondary waste, DEM&MELT could well open a new path for efficient conditioning of the intermediate to high level waste produced by the clean-up and dismantling of nuclear facilities and sites around the world, including for the treatment of legacy waste.