The invention is a process for the in-situ destruction of polychlorinated biphenyl (PCB) compounds in transformer oils and transformers. These compounds are broken down selectively by irradiation of the object or mixture using spent nuclear fuel or any isotopic source of high energy gamma radiation. For example, the level of applied dose required to decompose 400 ppm of polychlorinated biphenyl in transformer oil to less than 50 ppm is 500 kilogray. Destruction of polychlorinated biphenyls to levels of less than 50 ppm renders the transformer oil or transformer non-PCB contaminated under current regulations. Therefore, this process can be used to treat PCB contaminated oil and equipment to minimize or eliminate the generation of PCB hazardous waste.
The United States Government has rights in this invention pursuant to Contract No. DE-AC07-76ID01570 between the U.S. Department of Energy and EG&G Idaho, Inc. now Contract No. DE-AC07-94ID13223 between the U.S. Department of Energy and Lockheed Idaho Technologies Company.