In the frame of the general clearing of CEA centres of sodium waste, a new Based Nuclear Installation (BNI) is being studied to collect all the active sodium wastes and to treat them in the same building. This BNI is called ATENA. (Atelier de Traitement et Entreposage des déchets Na)
In designing ATENA, CEA identified that there was a lack in the knowledge of techniques for the cutting of metallic sodium wastes. Therefore it was decided to test several cutting technologies on different sodium wastes to evaluate their performances in a specific situation.
These experiments started with a general review of all the cutting techniques used for decommissioning purposes to see if they could be compatible with sodium safety standards.
Several cutting techniques were dismissed and finally eight cutting techniques were selected to be tested with sodium. Four of them were considered to be the best. This paper describes these sodium-cutting trials and explains the reasons of the final selection.