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Title: Waste Treatment Technology Process Development Plan For Hanford Waste Treatment Plant Low Activity Waste Recycle

The purpose of this Process Development Plan is to summarize the objectives and plans for the technology development activities for an alternative path for disposition of the recycle stream that will be generated in the Hanford Waste Treatment Plant Low Activity Waste (LAW) vitrification facility (LAW Recycle). This plan covers the first phase of the development activities. The baseline plan for disposition of this stream is to recycle it to the WTP Pretreatment Facility, where it will be concentrated by evaporation and returned to the LAW vitrification facility. Because this stream contains components that are volatile at melter temperatures and are also problematic for the glass waste form, they accumulate in the Recycle stream, exacerbating their impact on the number of LAW glass containers. Approximately 32% of the sodium in Supplemental LAW comes from glass formers used to make the extra glass to dilute the halides to acceptable concentrations in the LAW glass, and reducing the halides in the Recycle is a key component of this work. Additionally, under possible scenarios where the LAW vitrification facility commences operation prior to the WTP Pretreatment facility, this stream does not have a proven disposition path, and resolving this gap becomes vitally important.more » This task seeks to examine the impact of potential future disposition of this stream in the Hanford tank farms, and to develop a process that will remove radionuclides from this stream and allow its diversion to another disposition path, greatly decreasing the LAW vitrification mission duration and quantity of glass waste. The origin of this LAW Recycle stream will be from the Submerged Bed Scrubber (SBS) and the Wet Electrostatic Precipitator (WESP) from the LAW melter off-gas system. The stream is expected to be a dilute salt solution with near neutral pH, and will likely contain some insoluble solids from melter carryover or precipitates of scrubbed components (e.g. carbonates). The soluble components are mostly sodium and ammonium salts of nitrate, chloride, and fluoride. This stream has not been generated yet, and will not be available until the WTP begins operation, causing uncertainty in its composition, particularly the radionuclide content. This plan will provide an estimate of the likely composition and the basis for it, assess likely treatment technologies, identify potential disposition paths, establish target treatment limits, and recommend the testing needed to show feasibility. Two primary disposition options are proposed for investigation, one is concentration for storage in the tank farms, and the other is treatment prior to disposition in the Effluent Treatment Facility. One of the radionuclides that is volatile and expected to be in high concentration in this LAW Recycle stream is Technetium-99 ({sup 99}Tc), a long-lived radionuclide with a half-life of 210,000 years. Technetium will not be removed from the aqueous waste in the Hanford Waste Treatment and Immobilization Plant (WTP), and will primarily end up immobilized in the LAW glass, which will be disposed in the Integrated Disposal Facility (IDF). Because {sup 99}Tc has a very long half-life and is highly mobile, it is the largest dose contributor to the Performance Assessment (PA) of the IDF. Other radionuclides that are also expected to be in appreciable concentration in the LAW Recycle are {sup 129}I, {sup 90}Sr, {sup 137}Cs, and {sup 241}Am. The concentrations of these radionuclides in this stream will be much lower than in the LAW, but they will still be higher than limits for some of the other disposition pathways currently available. Although the baseline process will recycle this stream to the Pretreatment Facility, if the LAW facility begins operation first, this stream will not have a disposition path internal to WTP. One potential solution is to return the stream to the tank farms where it can be evaporated in the 242-A evaporator, or perhaps deploy an auxiliary evaporator to concentrate it prior to return to the tank farms. In either case, testing is needed to evaluate if this stream is compatible with the evaporator and the other wastes in the tank farm. It should be noted that prior experience in evaporation of another melter off-gas stream, the Recycle Stream at the SRS Defense Waste Processing Facility, unexpectedly caused deleterious impacts on evaporator scaling and formation of aluminosilicate solids before controls were implemented. The compatibility of this stream with other wastes and components in the tank farms has not been fully investigated, whether it is sent for storage in AW-102 in preparation for evaporation in 242-A evaporator, or if it is pre-concentrated in an auxiliary evaporator. This stream is expected to be unusual because it will be very high in corrosive species that are volatile in the melter (chloride, fluoride, sulfur), will have high ammonia, and will contain carryover particulates of glass-former chemicals. These species have potential to cause corrosion, precipitation, flammable gases, and scale in the tank farm system. Testing is needed to demonstrate acceptable conditions and limits for these compounds in wastes sent to the tank farms. Alternate disposition of this LAW Recycle stream could beneficially impact WTP, and may also remove a sizeable fraction of the 99Tc from the source term at the IDF. The alternative radionuclide removal process envisioned for this stream parallels the Actinide Removal Process that has been successfully used at SRS for several years. In that process, Monosodium Titanate (MST) is added to the tank waste to adsorb 90Sr and actinides, and then the MST and radionuclides are removed by filtration. The process proposed for investigation for the Hanford WTP LAW Recycle stream would similarly add MST to remove 90Sr and actinides, along with other absorbents or precipitating agents for the remaining radionuclides. These include inorganic reducing agents for Tc, and zeolites for 137Cs. After treatment, disposition of the decontaminated Recycle stream may be suitable for the Effluent Treatment Facility, where it could be evaporated and solidified. The contaminated slurry stream containing the absorbents and radionuclides will be preliminarily characterized in this phase of the program to evaluate disposal options, and disposition routes will be tested in the next phase. The testing described herein will aid in selection of the best disposal pathway. Several research tasks have been identified that are needed for this initial phase: imulant formulation- Concentration of Recycle to reduce storage volume; Blending of concentrated Recycle with tank waste; Sorption of radionuclides; Precipitation of radionuclides. After this initial phase of testing, additional tasks are expected to be identified for development. These tasks likely include evaluation and testing of applicable solid-liquid separation technologies, slurry rheology measurements, composition variability testing and evaluations, corrosion and erosion testing, slurry storage and immobilization investigations, and decontaminated Recycle evaporation and solidification. Although there are a number of unknown parameters listed in the technical details of the concepts described here, many of these parameters have precedence and do not generally require fundamental new scientific breakthroughs. Many of the materials and processes described are already used in radioactive applications in the DOE complex, or have been tested previously in comparable conditions. Some of these materials and equipment are already used in High Level Waste applications, which are much more complex and aggressive conditions than the LAW Recycle stream. In some cases, the unknown parameters are simply extensions of already studied conditions, such as tank waste corrosion chemistry. The list of testing needs at first appears daunting, but virtually all have been done before, although there are potential issues with compatibility with this unique waste stream. It is anticipated that the challenge will be more in integrating the system and complying with process limitations than in developing entirely new technologies. Several assumptions have been made in this document about the acceptability of radionuclide decontamination and potential waste forms for disposal. These assumptions have been used to define acceptability criteria for feasibility studies on removal. These limits are not intended to define regulatory or facility limits, but rather provide a starting point for evaluating various technologies.« less
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Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
Report Number(s):
TRN: US1400075
DOE Contract Number:
Resource Type:
Technical Report
Research Org:
Savannah River Site (SRS), Aiken, SC (United States)
Sponsoring Org:
USDOE (United States)
Country of Publication:
United States