Within the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Office of Technology Innovation and Development, the Office of Waste Processing manages a research and development program related to the treatment and disposition of radioactive waste. At the Savannah River (South Carolina) and Hanford (Washington) Sites, approximately 90 million gallons of waste are distributed among 226 storage tanks (grouped or collocated in “tank farms”). This waste may be considered to contain mixed and stratified high activity and low activity constituent waste liquids, salts and sludges that are collectively managed as high level waste (HLW). A large majority of these wastes and associated facilities are unique to the DOE, meaning many of the programs to treat these materials are “first-of-a-kind” and unprecedented in scope and complexity. As a result, the technologies required to disposition these wastes must be developed from basic principles, or require significant reengineering to adapt to DOE’s specific applications. Of particular interest recently, the development of In-tank or At-Tank separation processes have the potential to treat waste with high returns on financial investment. The primary objective associated with In-Tank or At-Tank separation processes is to accelerate waste processing. Insertion of the technologies will (1) maximize available tank space to efficiently support permanent waste disposition including vitrification; (2) treat problematic waste prior to transfer to the primary processing facilities at either site (i.e., Hanford’s Waste Treatment and Immobilization Plant (WTP) or Savannah River’s Salt Waste Processing Facility (SWPF)); and (3) create a parallel treatment process to shorten the overall treatment duration. This paper will review the status of several of the R&D projects being developed by the U.S. DOE including insertion of the ion exchange (IX) technologies, such as Small Column Ion Exchange (SCIX) at Savannah River. This has the potential to align the salt and sludge processing life cycle, thereby reducing the Defense Waste Processing Facility (DWPF) mission by 7 years. Additionally at the Hanford site, problematic waste streams, such as high boehmite and phosphate wastes, could be treated prior to receipt by WTP and thus dramatically improve the capacity of the facility to process HLW. Treatment of boehmite by continuous sludge leaching (CSL) before receipt by WTP will dramatically reduce the process cycle time for the WTP pretreatment facility, wile treatment of posphate will significantly reduce the number of HLW borosilicate glass canisters produced at the WTP. These and other promising technologies will be discussed.
- Nuclear Engineering Division and Environmental Engineering Division
Status of the Development of In-Tank/At-Tank Separations Technologies for High-Level Waste Processing for the U.S. Department of Energy
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Wilmarth, WR, Machara, NP, Peterson, RA, & Bush, SR. "Status of the Development of In-Tank/At-Tank Separations Technologies for High-Level Waste Processing for the U.S. Department of Energy." Proceedings of the ASME 2011 14th International Conference on Environmental Remediation and Radioactive Waste Management. ASME 2011 14th International Conference on Environmental Remediation and Radioactive Waste Management, Parts A and B. Reims, France. September 25–29, 2011. pp. 1145-1150. ASME. https://doi.org/10.1115/ICEM2011-59109
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