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Title: Waste Isolation Pilot Plant Salt Decontamination Testing

On February 14, 2014, americium and plutonium contamination was released in the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP) salt caverns. At the request of WIPP’s operations contractor, Idaho National Laboratory (INL) personnel developed several methods of decontaminating WIPP salt, using surrogate contaminants and also americium (241Am). The effectiveness of the methods is evaluated qualitatively, and to the extent possible, quantitatively. One of the requirements of this effort was delivering initial results and recommendations within a few weeks. That requirement, in combination with the limited scope of the project, made in-depth analysis impractical in some instances. Of the methods tested (dry brushing, vacuum cleaning, water washing, strippable coatings, and mechanical grinding), the most practical seems to be water washing. Effectiveness is very high, and it is very easy and rapid to deploy. The amount of wastewater produced (2 L/m2) would be substantial and may not be easy to manage, but the method is the clear winner from a usability perspective. Removable surface contamination levels (smear results) from the strippable coating and water washing coupons found no residual removable contamination. Thus, whatever is left is likely adhered to (or trapped within) the salt. The other option that shows promise is the use ofmore » a fixative barrier. Bartlett Nuclear, Inc.’s Polymeric Barrier System (PBS) proved the most durable of the coatings tested. The coatings were not tested for contaminant entrapment, only for coating integrity and durability.« less
Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
Report Number(s):
DOE Contract Number:
Resource Type:
Technical Report
Research Org:
Idaho National Laboratory (INL)
Sponsoring Org:
Country of Publication:
United States
12 MGMT OF RADIOACTIVE AND NON-RADIOACTIVE WASTES FROM NUCLEAR FACILITIES Halite decontamination; Radiological contamination; Salt decontamination; WIPP