Vol.9 No.3 2017
Research paper : Radioactive cesium decontamination technology for ash (T. Kawamoto et al.)−146−Synthesiology - English edition Vol.9 No.3 (2017) is noteworthy that the actual thinking process functions in reverse. In the following section, the procedures for setting the strategy will be described according to the order in which they were formulated.3.1 Strategy for technology transferAs a strategy for transfering technology to companies, we decided to use four methods so that the appropriate person might work for each mission. These are (1) retaining the intellectual property by AIST + technology transfer, (2) publication of our technology with appropriate retention of intellectual property, (3) research by companies, and (4) utilization of conventional technology. In a usual case of technology transfer by a research institute, it is considered that the institute obtains intellectual property rights. Then this technology is transferred to a company, as incase (1). However, when conducting R&D for the total integration of issues as in this case, the development rate will be slowed if all the intellectual property is retained, which is unrealistic for companies to derive some benets. Therefore, the R&D strategy should be determined through comparison of technology maps of AIST and those of the companies.A requirement for pursuing our strategy is to enable collaboration simultaneously with various companies. For this R&D, coherent development is necessary for materials, plant design, and waste storage, as described earlier. It is unrealistic to address such a wide scope of issues through collaboration with only one company. Even if there were a company that could accommodate all the technologies, much time would be necessary to find such a partner company: the plan might become deadlocked. Therefore, we chose to conduct simultaneous collaborations with various companies to increase the R&D speed and raise the technology to a practical level. This was the main reason to choose a method for each issue in our technology transfer from (1)–(4), as shown below.The following is a description of the outline of methods of technology transfer.(1) Retaining intellectual property + technology transferThis is the main method of technology transfer by R&D institutes. The invention is patented or transformed into know-how. Then the technology is transferred to a company under an appropriate contract. The contract includes joint research agreements, information disclosure agreements, licensing, and other matters. We use this scheme for a technology in which the core technology is held by AIST, and for which AIST would have an advantage in competition against other companies. The technology of PB nanoparticles fits the scheme. The PB nanoparticles have been studied by AIST for a long time, giving AIST advantages in potential R&D development over other companies. Additionally, we also have unreleased technologies. Under such circumstances, if the technology is disclosed without patenting, then some companies might monopolize the technology by patenting the peripheral technology. If such a limitation of access occurs, then it will be difficult to conduct simultaneous collaboration with multiple companies.Given such circumstances, we chose to patent the intellectual property for PB nanoparticles to manage through licensing by AIST. We also chose to preserve intellectual property for basic methods for ash decontamination and post-treatment processes for adsorbents after use.(2) Technology disclosureAlthough it is ideal for AIST to manage all related intellectual properties, it is unrealistic because AIST has no superior standing against companies in all technological fields and because time and different costs must be incurred to retain and maintain intellectual property rights. If there is a low risk of exclusion by a company through patenting peripheral technologies, then we were willing to disclose the technology to accelerate the technology transfer.For example, we distributed knowledge related to the properties of ash obtained from each part of the incineration furnace, the washing method to extract radioactive cesium from the ash, and the technology for the treatment of clumped ash, through press releases or other means. A wastewater management method for cyanide was also distributed through publication of papers because PB nanoparticles contain the cyano group in their structures. Therefore, the elution of cyanide should be a concern.(3) Research by companiesAny technology must be passed to companies for commercialization. Therefore, it is preferred that the companies engage in R&D for technologies if they have some advantage for the technologies. As examples, the method of fabricating adsorbents, methods of preparing compounds with the adsorbent into a usable form, obtaining local agreement to pilot plant construction, on-site plant construction, and plant operation and management have proceeded with this scheme.For the compound preparation, granulation and immobilization onto nonwoven fabric were considered. In fact, AIST conducted joint research with about 10 companies, including Kanto Chemical, Japan Vilene, and Unitika Trading Co., Ltd. In many cases, the preparation technology was established by the companies, although AIST was in charge of evaluating the performance of the developed adsorbents.