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Title: Radioactive Demonstration Of Mineralized Waste Forms Made From Hanford Low Activity Waste (Tank Farm Blend) By Fluidized Bed Steam Reformation (FBSR)

The U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of River Protection (ORP) is responsible for the retrieval, treatment, immobilization, and disposal of Hanford’s tank waste. A key aspect of the River Protection Project (RPP) cleanup mission is to construct and operate the Hanford Tank Waste Treatment and Immobilization Plant (WTP). The WTP will separate the tank waste into high-level and low-activity waste (LAW) fractions, both of which will subsequently be vitrified. The projected throughput capacity of the WTP LAW Vitrification Facility is insufficient to complete the RPP mission in the time frame required by the Hanford Federal Facility Agreement and Consent Order, also known as the Tri-Party Agreement (TPA), i.e. December 31, 2047. Supplemental Treatment is likely to be required both to meet the TPA treatment requirements as well as to more cost effectively complete the tank waste treatment mission. The Supplemental Treatment chosen will immobilize that portion of the retrieved LAW that is not sent to the WTP’s LAW Vitrification facility into a solidified waste form. The solidified waste will then be disposed on the Hanford site in the Integrated Disposal Facility (IDF). Fluidized Bed Steam Reforming (FBSR) offers a moderate temperature (700-750°C) continuous method by which LAW can be processedmore » irrespective of whether the waste contain organics, nitrates, sulfates/sulfides, chlorides, fluorides, volatile radionuclides or other aqueous components. The FBSR technology can process these wastes into a crystalline ceramic (mineral) waste form. The mineral waste form that is produced by co-processing waste with kaolin clay in an FBSR process has been shown to be comparable to LAW glass, i.e. leaches Tc-99, Re and Na at <2g/m2 during ASTM C1285 (Product Consistency) durability testing. Monolithing of the granular FBSR product was investigated to prevent dispersion during transport or burial/storage. Monolithing in an inorganic geopolymer binder, which is amorphous, macro-encapsulates the granules, and the monoliths pass ANSI/ANS 16.1 and ASTM C1308 durability testing with Re achieving a Leach Index (LI) of 9 (the Hanford Integrated Disposal Facility, IDF, criteria for Tc-99) after a few days and Na achieving an LI of >6 (the Hanford IDF criteria for Na) in the first few hours. The granular and monolithic waste forms also pass the EPA Toxicity Characteristic Leaching Procedure (TCLP) for all Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) components at the Universal Treatment Standards (UTS). Two identical Benchscale Steam Reformers (BSR) were designed and constructed at SRNL, one to treat non-radioactive simulants and the other to treat actual radioactive wastes. The results from the non-radioactive BSR were used to determine the parameters needed to operate the radioactive BSR in order to confirm the findings of non-radioactive FBSR pilot scale and engineering scale tests and to qualify an FBSR LAW waste form for applications at Hanford. Radioactive testing commenced using SRS LAW from Tank 50 chemically trimmed to look like Hanford’s blended LAW known as the Rassat simulant as this simulant composition had been tested in the non-radioactive BSR, the non-radioactive pilot scale FBSR at the Science Applications International Corporation-Science and Technology Applications Research (SAIC-STAR) facility in Idaho Falls, ID and in the TTT Engineering Scale Technology Demonstration (ESTD) at Hazen Research Inc. (HRI) in Denver, CO. This provided a “tie back” between radioactive BSR testing and non-radioactive BSR, pilot scale, and engineering scale testing. Approximately six hundred grams of non-radioactive and radioactive BSR product were made for extensive testing and comparison to the non-radioactive pilot scale tests performed in 2004 at SAIC-STAR and the engineering scale test performed in 2008 at HRI with the Rassat simulant. The same mineral phases and off-gas species were found in the radioactive and non-radioactive testing. The granular ESTD and BSR products (radioactive and non-radioactive) were analyzed for total constituents and durability tested as a granular waste form. A subset of the granular material was stabilized in a clay based geopolymer matrix at 42% and 65% FBSR loadings and durability tested as a monolith waste form. The 65 wt% FBSR loaded monolith made with clay (radioactive) was more durable than the 67-68 wt% FBSR loaded monoliths made from fly ash (non-radioactive) based on short term PCT testing. Long term, 90 to 107 day, ASTM C1308 testing (similar to ANSI/ANS 16.1 testing) was only performed on two fly ash geopolymer monoliths at 67-68 wt% FBSR loading and three clay geopolymer monoliths at 42 wt% FBSR loading. More clay geopolymers need to be made and tested at longer times at higher FBSR loadings for comparison to the fly ash monoliths. Monoliths made with metakaolin (heat treated) clay are of a more constant composition and are very reactive as the heat treated clay is amorphous and alkali activated. The monoliths made with fly ash are subject to the inherent compositional variation found in fly ash as it is a waste product from burning coal and it contains unreactive components such as mullite. However, both the fly ash and the clay based monoliths perform well in long term ASTM C1308 testing.« less
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  1. Savannah River Site (SRS), Aiken, SC (United States). Savannah River National Lab. (SRNL)
Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
Report Number(s):
TRN: US1400074
DOE Contract Number:
Resource Type:
Technical Report
Research Org:
Savannah River Site (SRS), Aiken, SC (United States)
Sponsoring Org:
Country of Publication:
United States