Million-gallon double-shell tanks at Hanford are used to store transuranic, high-level, and low-level radioactive wastes. These wastes consist of a large volume of salt-laden solution covering a smaller volume of settled sludge primarily containing metal hydroxides. These wastes will be retrieved and processed into immobile waste forms suitable for permanent disposal. Retrieval is an important step in implementing these disposal scenarios. The retrieval concept evaluated is to use submerged dual-nozzle jet mixer pumps with horizontally oriented nozzles located near the tank floor that produce horizontal jets of fluid to mobilize the settled solids. The mixer pumps are oscillated through 180° about a vertical axis so the high velocity fluid jets sweep across the floor of the tank. After the solids are mobilized, the pumps will continue to operate at a reduced flow rate producing lower velocity jets sufficient to maintain the particles in a uniform suspension (concentration uniformity).

Several types of waste and tank configurations exist at Hanford. The jet mixer pump systems and operating conditions required to mobilize sludge and maintain slurry uniformity will be a function of the waste type and tank configuration. The focus of this work was to conduct a 1/12-scale experiment to develop an analytical model to relate slurry uniformity to tank and mixer pump configurations, operating conditions, and sludge properties.

This experimental study evaluated concentration uniformity in a 1/12-scale experiment varying the Reynolds number (Re), Froude number (Fr), and gravitational settling parameter (Gs) space. Simulant physical properties were chosen to obtain the required Re and Gs where Re and Gs were varied by adjusting the kinematic viscosity and mean particle diameter, respectively. Test conditions were achieved by scaling the jet nozzle exit velocity in a 75-in. diameter tank using a mock-up of a centrally located dual-opposed jet mixer pump located just above the tank floor.

Concentration measurements at sampling locations throughout the tank were used to assess the degree of uniformity achieved during each test. Concentration data was obtained using a real time in-situ ultrasonic attenuation probe and post-test analysis of discrete batch samples. The undissolved solids concentration at these locations was analyzed to determine whether the tank contents were uniform (≤ ±10% variation about mean) or nonuniform (> ±10% variation about mean) in concentration. Concentration inhomogeneity was modeled as a function of dimensionless parameters. The parameters that best describe the maximum solids volume fraction that can be suspended were found to be 1) the Fr based on nozzle average discharge velocity and tank contents level and 2) the dimensionless particle size based on nozzle diameter. The dependence on the jet Re does not appear to be statistically significant.

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