Y-12 recycling sensitive paper, converting into reusable briquettes

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The paper disintegrator system at the Y-12 National Security Complex produces paper briquettes to be used by off-site recycling vendors to make compressed paper products. The briquettes are currently reused by a commercial company to make a cellulose binder for construction products, such as asphalt sealants. (Photo courtesy CNS Y-12)

The Y-12 National Security Complex in Oak Ridge is recycling sensitive paper by disintegrating it and compressing it into paper briquettes, which are used to make a cellulose binder for construction products, such as asphalt sealants.

In Fiscal Year 2019, 270,000 pounds of paper briquettes were recycled, according to Consolidated Nuclear Security, which manages and operates Y-12 as well as the Pantex Plant near Amarillo, Texas.

All paper generated at Y-12 is processed through its Destruction and Recycle, or DAR, facility.

The paper is processed through a disintegrator before it is put into a briquettor. The disintegrated paper meets security specifications for size reduction, CNS said.

The briquettor pneumatically compresses the disintegrated paper into paper briquettes. The briquettor is specifically designed for disintegrated paper, CNS said. The briquettor is located in the DAR facility.

Each briquette contains about 50 sheets of paper.

The briquettes are not sold. In exchange for the briquettes, the vendor provides containers, a trailer, and transportation to the end user. The briquettes are currently reused by a commercial company to make a cellulose binder for construction products, such as asphalt sealants, CNS said.

The paper disintegrator at the Y-12 National Security Complex recycles all of the site’s sensitive and non-sensitive paper on site. (Photo courtesy CNS Y-12)
Y-12 National Security Complex Pollution Prevention Coordinator Jan Jackson holds a briquette produced by Y-12’s disintegrator system. (Photo courtesy CNS Y-12)
Image courtesy CNS Y-12

More information will be added as it becomes available.

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