Electron Beam Technology

China treating wastewater using Electron Beam Technology

Asia’s first pilot plant for medical wastewater treatment using electron beam (EB) technology went live in China this year. “This study is the first demonstration of EB for the experimental treatment of medical wastewater (400 cubic meters per day),” said Professor Xi Jun Ho of Tsinghua University’s Institute of Nuclear Technology (INET). The Hubei facility disinfects medical wastewater and removes antibiotics, but no further disinfection or secondary contamination. This milestone builds on a research and technical collaboration with the International Atomic Energy Agency that began nearlya decade ago.”The International Atomic Energy Agency has played a very important role in strengtheningthe Chinese administration,” he said. The facility started in May 2021.

This technology accelerates the interaction of electrons with underwater DNA and RNA molecules, killing microorganisms and viruses, including the coronavirus that causes COVID-19. It also breaks down antibiotics in water. This is not possible with traditional sterilization methods.

Since 2010, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has supported joint research and technical cooperation projects focusing on EB technology inthe industrial wastewater treatment field. “The continueduse of EB technology for wastewater treatment reflects the specific social, economic and environmental impacts of the International Atomic Energy Agency’s (IAEA) nuclear technology transfer to meet China’s sustainable development and development priorities,” said Department Head Gashaw Wolde.

The self-shielding electron beam medical wastewater treatment unit (Image: CGN)


Due to the different types of wastewater from different sectors, there is not one treatment method for everyone. Traditional water treatment methods include chemical and biological treatment and purification. Nuclear technologies based on advanced oxidationand oxidation processes such as electron beam and free radical gamma rays have shown promising solutions to combat microbial contamination.

The main goal of radiation therapy (refining or modifying plastics using ionizing radiation) is to convert biodegradable contaminants into biodegradable particles.”E-beam radiation can break down large amounts of pollutants in wastewater and remove these complex pollutants,” Prof. Han from International Atomic Energy Agency told the news agency. In radiation therapy, an accelerator creates an electron beam that ionizes water molecules.

The energy of the electronic system dispersesthe water. It breaks molecular and nuclear bonds. The highly reactive products of the radiolysis of water molecules react with harmful organic contaminants. The advantage of e-beam technology is that reactive components are created at the pointof radioactive decay without adding chemicals. Hydrogen peroxide, the hydroxyl radical and the hydroxyl radical are oxidized species and the hydrogen atom and the hydrogen atom are electrically reduced.ancient.

‘The coexistence of strong oxidizing agents and strong reducing agents in purified wastewater is impressive and an important feature of radiation therapy,’ said Professor Han. Hydroxyl radicals are the predominant species due to their high oxidation potential and high radioactive chemistryduring formation. The oxidizing power of hydroxyl radicals is much higher than that of conventional industrial oxidizing agents such as chlorine.

Pollutants degradatio occurs in less than a second andis faster than conventional methods.Thismay take several days. “Typically, these products take less than a microsecond to react with contaminants in the water to break down or transform them,” says Han.

The IAEA has highlightedChina’sachievements in research and technologycooperation,funded since 2010, to study how radiation technology can reduce unwanted organic molecules in the world’s water supply. In 2012, Chinese scientists developed a wastewater treatment program under this technical cooperation project.China’s first electron beam industrial wastewater treatmentplant openedin 2017 and theworld’s largest in 2020, treating up to 30 million liters of water per day.


  1. https://www.iaea.org/newscenter/news/china-opens-asias-first-facility-to-treat-medical-wastewater-using-electron-beam-technology
  2. https://world-nuclear-news.org/Articles/China-begins-nuclear-treatment-for-contaminated-wa
  3. https://www.devdiscourse.com/article/technology/1689873-indias-space-agency-suffers-setback-in-satellite-mission-after-the-technical-anomaly
  4. https://www.ans.org/news/article-3073/chinas-electron-beam-technology-for-treating-industrial-wastewater/

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