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Title: Contaminant Leaching From Intact Saltstone Monoliths - 17517

Abstract

At the Department of Energy's (DOE's) Savannah River Site (SRS) chemically reducing materials, such as blast furnace slag (BFS), are added to grout formulations mixed with low-level radioactive salt solution in order to enhance the attenuation of redox sensitive contaminants (e.g., technetium-99 (Tc-99)). The resulting cementitious material, known as saltstone, is deposited in a series of concrete vaults for permanent disposal at the Saltstone Disposal Facility (SDF). Under oxidizing conditions, Tc persists as an anion in the +7 oxidation state, i.e., pertechnetate (TcO{sub 4}{sup -}), with very limited retention generally associated with amphoteric soil oxides. However, Tc(VII) is subject to chemical reduction to the +4 oxidation state, which is less soluble and mobile in the environment. Thus, chemically reducing grouts provide both a physical (i.e., low saturated hydraulic conductivities (K{sub sat}) that limit H{sub 2}O turnover and O{sub 2} exposure) and chemical barrier (i.e., residual reductive capacity) to contaminant release. However, many of the previous experiments evaluating the ability of saltstone to chemically reduce and immobilize Tc have been conducted using ground saltstone materials as sorbents, a practice that is likely to reduce the moisture level in the material, enhance exposure to O{sub 2} and alter sorbent properties in anmore » unpredictable manner. Therefore, the objective of the current study was to evaluate contaminant leaching from intact monoliths that better represent the initial physical and chemical state of saltstone within the SDF disposal units. For the current study, saltstone simulants were produced utilizing SRR prescribed formulations: initial batches were spiked with rhenium (Re) to serve as nonradioactive analog for Tc-99, and subsequent batches were spiked with Tc-99 for comparison. The relative concentrations of I, Re and Tc-99 in the salt-waste simulants were consistent with the average concentrations of I-129 and Tc-99 in the low-level feed waste. In addition, SRR retrieved intact monoliths from Saltstone Disposal Unit (SDU) Cell 2A in 2015 for testing. Contaminant mass transfer rates for Tc-99 and other contaminants from spiked saltstone simulants and actual SDF saltstone samples were assessed using EPA Method 1315, Mass Transfer Rates of Constituents in Monolithic or Compacted Granular Materials Using a Semi-Dynamic Tank Leaching Procedure. This method was recently adopted for evaluating contaminant leaching from intact monolithic materials. Given the importance of redox speciation in controlling the mobility of Tc-99, the EPA mass transfer tests for the spiked simulants were initially conducted using leachates in equilibrium with three different test atmospheres: (1) oxic, (2) anoxic, and (3) anoxic reducing. Nitrate (NO{sub 3}{sup -}) leaching was evaluated as a poorly retained waste constituent. The leaching behavior of cesium-137 (Cs-137), representing about 98% of the initial radioactivity of the saltstone, was also evaluated for the SDU-extracted samples. Results from Method 1315 were also compared to a novel Dynamic Leaching Method (DLM) in which a flexible-wall permeameter was used to achieve saturated leaching under an elevated hydraulic gradient in an effort to evaluate the persistence of reductive capacity and subsequent changes in contaminant partitioning within intact saltstone monoliths. The composition of the chemical leachates from both tests was thoroughly analyzed in an effort to identify potential solid phases controlling contaminant partitioning through geochemical modeling. For the EPA 1315 tests using spiked simulants, Re leaching rates (and other poorly sorbing contaminants like NO{sub 3}{sup -} and iodine), as indicated by high effective diffusivities (D{sub e}) and low leachability indices (i.e. LI = - log[D{sub e}]), were much higher than Tc-99, which was attributed to poor initial reduction and/or rapid oxidation of Re, indicating that Re is a poor chemical analog for evaluating Tc partitioning under reducing conditions. Technetium-99 leaching rates for the spiked saltstone samples also appeared to be sensitive to the estimated reduction capacity of the dry feed materials used in making grout, a characteristic that can vary between different BFS sources. Technetium-99 leaching rates for the intact saltstone samples in the EPA 1315 test were quite similar, with less variability between the three test samples. This may be indicative of the longer curing time before the SDF samples were tested (∼3 years). Somewhat surprisingly, the leaching rates for Cs-137 from the SDF samples were generally lower than the poorly sorbing contaminants, NO{sub 3}{sup -} and iodine. For the DLM tests, Re leaching from spiked saltstone was much higher than observed for Tc-99, with rates similar to that of non-reactive grout constituents, consistent with EPA 1315 leaching rates. (authors)« less

Authors:
;  [1];  [2]
  1. Savannah River Ecology Laboratory, The University of Georgia (United States)
  2. Savannah River Remediation LLC (United States)
Publication Date:
Research Org.:
WM Symposia, Inc., PO Box 27646, 85285-7646 Tempe, AZ (United States)
OSTI Identifier:
22802489
Report Number(s):
INIS-US-19-WM-17517
TRN: US19V0502046883
Resource Type:
Conference
Resource Relation:
Conference: WM2017: 43. Annual Waste Management Symposium, Phoenix, AZ (United States), 5-9 Mar 2017; Other Information: Country of input: France; 22 refs.; available online at: http://archive.wmsym.org/2017/index.html
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
12 MANAGEMENT OF RADIOACTIVE WASTES, AND NON-RADIOACTIVE WASTES FROM NUCLEAR FACILITIES; CESIUM 137; IODINE 129; LEACHATES; LEACHING; OXIDATION; RADIOACTIVITY; REDUCTION; RHENIUM; TECHNETIUM 99

Citation Formats

Seaman, John C., Coutelot, Fanny M., and Simner, Steven. Contaminant Leaching From Intact Saltstone Monoliths - 17517. United States: N. p., 2017. Web.
Seaman, John C., Coutelot, Fanny M., & Simner, Steven. Contaminant Leaching From Intact Saltstone Monoliths - 17517. United States.
Seaman, John C., Coutelot, Fanny M., and Simner, Steven. Sat . "Contaminant Leaching From Intact Saltstone Monoliths - 17517". United States.
@article{osti_22802489,
title = {Contaminant Leaching From Intact Saltstone Monoliths - 17517},
author = {Seaman, John C. and Coutelot, Fanny M. and Simner, Steven},
abstractNote = {At the Department of Energy's (DOE's) Savannah River Site (SRS) chemically reducing materials, such as blast furnace slag (BFS), are added to grout formulations mixed with low-level radioactive salt solution in order to enhance the attenuation of redox sensitive contaminants (e.g., technetium-99 (Tc-99)). The resulting cementitious material, known as saltstone, is deposited in a series of concrete vaults for permanent disposal at the Saltstone Disposal Facility (SDF). Under oxidizing conditions, Tc persists as an anion in the +7 oxidation state, i.e., pertechnetate (TcO{sub 4}{sup -}), with very limited retention generally associated with amphoteric soil oxides. However, Tc(VII) is subject to chemical reduction to the +4 oxidation state, which is less soluble and mobile in the environment. Thus, chemically reducing grouts provide both a physical (i.e., low saturated hydraulic conductivities (K{sub sat}) that limit H{sub 2}O turnover and O{sub 2} exposure) and chemical barrier (i.e., residual reductive capacity) to contaminant release. However, many of the previous experiments evaluating the ability of saltstone to chemically reduce and immobilize Tc have been conducted using ground saltstone materials as sorbents, a practice that is likely to reduce the moisture level in the material, enhance exposure to O{sub 2} and alter sorbent properties in an unpredictable manner. Therefore, the objective of the current study was to evaluate contaminant leaching from intact monoliths that better represent the initial physical and chemical state of saltstone within the SDF disposal units. For the current study, saltstone simulants were produced utilizing SRR prescribed formulations: initial batches were spiked with rhenium (Re) to serve as nonradioactive analog for Tc-99, and subsequent batches were spiked with Tc-99 for comparison. The relative concentrations of I, Re and Tc-99 in the salt-waste simulants were consistent with the average concentrations of I-129 and Tc-99 in the low-level feed waste. In addition, SRR retrieved intact monoliths from Saltstone Disposal Unit (SDU) Cell 2A in 2015 for testing. Contaminant mass transfer rates for Tc-99 and other contaminants from spiked saltstone simulants and actual SDF saltstone samples were assessed using EPA Method 1315, Mass Transfer Rates of Constituents in Monolithic or Compacted Granular Materials Using a Semi-Dynamic Tank Leaching Procedure. This method was recently adopted for evaluating contaminant leaching from intact monolithic materials. Given the importance of redox speciation in controlling the mobility of Tc-99, the EPA mass transfer tests for the spiked simulants were initially conducted using leachates in equilibrium with three different test atmospheres: (1) oxic, (2) anoxic, and (3) anoxic reducing. Nitrate (NO{sub 3}{sup -}) leaching was evaluated as a poorly retained waste constituent. The leaching behavior of cesium-137 (Cs-137), representing about 98% of the initial radioactivity of the saltstone, was also evaluated for the SDU-extracted samples. Results from Method 1315 were also compared to a novel Dynamic Leaching Method (DLM) in which a flexible-wall permeameter was used to achieve saturated leaching under an elevated hydraulic gradient in an effort to evaluate the persistence of reductive capacity and subsequent changes in contaminant partitioning within intact saltstone monoliths. The composition of the chemical leachates from both tests was thoroughly analyzed in an effort to identify potential solid phases controlling contaminant partitioning through geochemical modeling. For the EPA 1315 tests using spiked simulants, Re leaching rates (and other poorly sorbing contaminants like NO{sub 3}{sup -} and iodine), as indicated by high effective diffusivities (D{sub e}) and low leachability indices (i.e. LI = - log[D{sub e}]), were much higher than Tc-99, which was attributed to poor initial reduction and/or rapid oxidation of Re, indicating that Re is a poor chemical analog for evaluating Tc partitioning under reducing conditions. Technetium-99 leaching rates for the spiked saltstone samples also appeared to be sensitive to the estimated reduction capacity of the dry feed materials used in making grout, a characteristic that can vary between different BFS sources. Technetium-99 leaching rates for the intact saltstone samples in the EPA 1315 test were quite similar, with less variability between the three test samples. This may be indicative of the longer curing time before the SDF samples were tested (∼3 years). Somewhat surprisingly, the leaching rates for Cs-137 from the SDF samples were generally lower than the poorly sorbing contaminants, NO{sub 3}{sup -} and iodine. For the DLM tests, Re leaching from spiked saltstone was much higher than observed for Tc-99, with rates similar to that of non-reactive grout constituents, consistent with EPA 1315 leaching rates. (authors)},
doi = {},
journal = {},
number = ,
volume = ,
place = {United States},
year = {2017},
month = {7}
}

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