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Title: Evaluation of Settler Tank Thermal Stability during Solidification and Disposition to ERDF

Ten 16-foot-long and 20-inch diameter horizontal tanks currently reside in a stacked 2×5 (high) array in the ~20,000-gallon water-filled Weasel Pit of the 105-KW Fuel Storage Basin on the US-DOE Hanford Site. These ten tanks are part of the Integrated Water Treatment System used to manage water quality in the KW Basin and are called “settler” tanks because of their application in removing particles from the KW Basin waters. Based on process knowledge, the settler tanks are estimated to contain about 124 kilograms of finely divided uranium metal, 22 kg of uranium dioxide, and another 55 kg of other radioactive sludge. The Sludge Treatment Project (STP), managed by CH2MHill Plateau Remediation Company (CHPRC) is charged with managing the settler tanks and arranging for their ultimate disposal by burial in ERDF. The presence of finely divided uranium metal in the sludge is of concern because of the potential for thermal runaway reaction of the uranium metal with water and the formation of flammable hydrogen gas as a product of the uranium-water reaction. Thermal runaway can be instigated by external heating. The STP commissioned a formal Decision Support Board (DSB) to consider options and provide recommendations to manage and dispose of themore » settler tanks and their contents. Decision criteria included consideration of the project schedule and longer-term deactivation, decontamination, decommissioning, and demolition (D4) of the KW Basin. The DSB compared the alternatives and recommended in-situ grouting, size-reduction, and ERDF disposal as the best of six candidate options for settler tank treatment and disposal. It is important to note that most grouts contain a complement of Portland cement as the binding agent and that Portland cement curing reactions generate heat. Therefore, concern is raised that the grouting of the settler tank contents may produce heating sufficient to instigate thermal runaway reactions in the contained uranium metal sludge.« less
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  1. Pacific Northwest National Lab. (PNNL), Richland, WA (United States)
Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
Report Number(s):
PNNL--24200; 53451--RPT21
DOE Contract Number:
Resource Type:
Technical Report
Research Org:
Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL), Richland, WA (United States)
Sponsoring Org:
Country of Publication:
United States