AtkinsRéalis and SpinChem have a collaboration agreement to deploy Spinionic® solutions in the nuclear sector. Spinionic® is a registered trademark owned by AtkinsRéalis.

As industries expand to meet the demands of mankind, the reliance on nuclear energy likewise increases considerably to fulfil energy needs. However, the nuclear power industry generates waste that is critical to be taken care of. This waste is classified according to radioactivity as either: low-level, intermediate-level, or high-level. Each effluent has its own characteristics, which determine whether it must be disposed, recycled, or stored on-site. It is important that the nuclear waste is treated to ensure that nuclear power remains a viable choice and a key contributor to the energy mix for future generations.

For the treatment of liquid waste, several well-established technologies exist. One such technology that aims to increase efficiency and to reduce cost is Spinionic.



Spinionic is a non-nuclear solution to de-contaminate liquids and refers to the tested and patented Rotating Bed Reactor (RBR). Its’ design is flexible and can be used in situ for a range of applications such as to treat tanks of radioactive waste, or to processes continuous waste streams. It can be used as a pre-treatment upstream of installed equipment to remove impurities, and also as a polisher downstream of existing equipment.



The RBR technology enables to remove radioactive or unwanted elements from wastewater or other fluids, while simultaneously improving the efficiency of the clean-up process through better use of the media. Using the straightforward RBR methodology results in a faster process, higher decontamination factors, and/or reduced generation of secondary waste. In addition, the RBR extends the lifetime of solid-phase particles by minimizing grinding and attrition, while at the same time simplifying the solid phase collection, recycling, or disposal.


Availability in various sizes and volumes

The RBR can range in size from less than one liter to over 100 liters of media (solid phase) capacity depending on application (drums, totes, large tanks, ponds, fuel pools, sumps, or large area basins).

The RBR technology was first used in the pharmaceutical industry to improve chemical processing of liquids. Subsequently, it has found its way into the nuclear industry were it similarly improves processing efficiency. To accelerate the deployment of this technology, SpinChem plans to further mature Spinionic into a range of products that address the challenges of nuclear waste treatment.

Application 1015
A remote controlled raft for treatment of surface water using rotating bed reactor technology

Time lapse video demonstrating a prototype vehicle capable of processing two cubic metres of coloured water within five minutes. The raft was carrying two rotating bed reactors that neutralized the basic surface water in a square pond by ion exchange.

Application 1008
Activated carbon decolorization, fast and without filtration

Activated carbon is a common choice for removing impurities or capturing compounds from a product batch. However, the carbon may itself foul the product and be difficult to separate. The rotating bed reactor offers a clean way to deploy activated carbon that removes the need for time-consuming filtration and extends the lifetime of the solid phase.  

Application 1012
Flexible deployment with the plug-in rotating bed reactor

The rotating bed reactor (RBR) is a combined tool for chemical transformations and liquid transfer operations, reducing or eliminating the need for external pumps. Filled with a catalyst or adsorbent, and rotated by a motor, the RBR brings the liquid to be processed in contact with the solid-phase at high flow rates. Due to the high flow rate generated, the RBR can not only treat the liquid in the reaction vessel, but also transfer it into the vessel for processing.

Application 1007
Automatic processes for efficient production

Automation of large-scale processes is often a requirement for economically viable chemical processes. The benefits of scale are best harvested at high throughputs and 24/7 operation. This leads to the demand for process automation, and the elimination of hands-on work.

Application L1702
CFD modeling of flow and ion exchange kinetics in a rotating bed reactor system

Hilde Larsson, Patrick Alexander Schjøtt Andersen, Emil Byström, Krist V. Gernaey, and Ulrich Krühne Ind. Eng. Chem. Res., 2017, 56, 14, pp. 3853-3865.

Application 1035
Dramatically improved deionization with a rotating bed reactor

Removing ions from liquids is common in industry and society. Ions are remediated in applications ranging from the production of pharmaceuticals to the treatment of communal waste streams. Likewise, the nuclear energy sector deals with the removal of ionic radioactive substances from water on a daily basis.

Application 1024
Decolourization more efficient in rotating bed reactor than in fixed bed reactor

A fixed bed reactor (FBR), also known as a packed bed reactor or column, is a traditional technology for processes such as adsorption or heterogeneous catalysis. Achieving the required level of purification or conversion means running the liquid through the reactor at a sufficiently low flow rate, and the throughput of a fixed bed reactor is therefore often limited.

Application 1006
Rotating bed reactor faster than stirred tank reactor for a mass transfer limited reaction

Mass transfer limited reactions can create problems for applications like the synthesis of chemical products or the manufacture of active pharmaceutical ingredients. Poor yields, high side-product formation or impractically long reactions are potential issues. Efficient reactor design can greatly improve the mass transfer and remove the limitation to a minimum.

Application 1031
Decolourization in an IBC tank using the ProRBR IBC add-on

Adsorption of methylene blue (3 g, 5 mg/L) onto Purolite® NRW1160 (4.2 L) placed in a SpinChem® S5 RBR operated at 147 rpm. The SpinChem® S5 RBR was placed within a 600 L IBC tank, using the ProRBR IBC add-on, where the tank was filled with water. The data was acquired using a UV-VIS spectrophotometer.  

Application 1034
Decolourization using 79 L of activated carbon in a 7000 L vessel

A large scale decolourization experiment using the SpinChem® rotating bed reactor (RBR) S100, packed with 79 L of activated carbon. The vessel contained 7000 L of water with added methylene blue dye. In under 40 minutes, 95% of the initial concentration of methylene blue was removed from the water, which shows that the RBR S100 can achieve fast reaction times in large scale processes.

Application 1033
Deionizing 7000 L of tap water using the SpinChem® RBR S100

The SpinChem® rotating bed reactor (RBR) S100, with a solid phase capacity of 100 L, was used to deionize 7000 L of tap water. The RBR S100 was operating at 160 rpm and filled with 36.5 L of mixed bed ion exchange resin. The results show that the RBR S100 can efficiently process large liquid volumes. As shown by the successful deionization, the performance of the RBR remains high even when it is partially filled, which proves the extreme robustness of the RBR technology.

Application 1042
How large liquid volumes can a rotating bed reactor process?

Large volumes of liquid waste will often accumulate at industrial sites. It may be very time-consuming and resource-intensive to adequately treat these waste streams for release, so the problem often compounds over time.

Application 1037
In-tank deployment of large scale rotating bed reactor

How can this process be scaled up? This is perhaps the most important question to consider when developing a chemical process. If it cannot be done on large scale, all the time and resources invested in laboratory work will be unrewarded. Pumping liquids through massive columns or separating solids from a large batch can be unsurmountable challenges that bring a halt to a new project before it has even left the starting blocks.

Application Brochure
Mass transfer revolutionized

The SpinChem rotating bed reactor (RBR) can eliminate poor mass transfer in heterogeneous reactions during chemical syntheses and biotransformations, preserve catalyst activity, and facilitate recycling of solid phases. This brochure presents our technology and its applications.

Application 1039
Remediation of Wastewater stored in High Integrity Container

The versatility of the ProRBR IBC add-on (picture below) was demonstrated by mounting it on a high-integrity container (HIC) (picture above) and running a sample reaction. The ProRBR IBC add-on can be placed on most reasonably stable supports. In this case, the RBR add-on was placed over the HIC opening by support of a common construction scaffold. A common ion-exchange reaction, de-ionization of 3000 L municipial water by 7 L of mixed-bed resin, was carried out to assess performance. The conductivity was halved after only about 30 min and after 2 h it reached the LOQ.

Application 1010
Rotating bed reactors completely avoid grinding of molecular sieves

When using of solid-phase catalysts or adsorbents in reactors, the physical degradation of the materials is a common problem. The traditional stirred tank reactor inflicts mechanical damage to the particles, which causes attrition, fines that are difficult to separate, and loss of the functionality of the solid-phase.

Exploring the effectiveness of different types of activated carbon

Contaminations in liquids can often be removed using an adsorbent, such as granular activated carbon (GAC). The best choice of adsorbent is unique for each contaminant, and the effectiveness depends on many parameters. Failing to investigate these can lead to unnecessarily high material costs and long processing times.

Application 1044
Simple scale-up using flexible reactors

Research and development quickly takes new directions, and the requirements on a laboratory may vary with every new project. Limiting yourself to equipment with a narrow scope of conditions and applications may become expensive, since new equipment must be acquired for anything out of scope. With budgets quickly consumed by other projects, the need for new equipment may mean significant delays and a reduced capability to take on emerging opportunities.

Application 1009
Multistep synthesis or simultaneous extraction simplified in a rotating bed reactor

The synthesis of products, such as active pharmaceutical ingredients (APIs), often involves multiple steps using heterogeneous catalysts or adsorbents. Thus, the simultaneous use of multiple solid phases either during synthesis or downstream processing is frequently highly advantageous.

Application 1043
Using a rotating bed reactor in different liquid volumes

Research and development quickly takes new directions, and the requirements on a laboratory may vary with every new project. Limiting yourself to equipment with a narrow scope of conditions and applications may become expensive in the long run. The need for new equipment may inflict delays and affect your capability to take on emerging opportunities.

Application 1051
How the loading of solids influences reaction speed

Sometimes you don’t want to pack the entire rotating bed reactor full with your solid-phase material. Fully loading might simply be wasteful, or you may want to experiment with your reaction conditions. But how does the amount of solids in the rotating bed reactor influence the reaction performance? Can you use only 10% of the full capacity?

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