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Title: An Order-of-Magnitude Estimation of Benzene Concentration in Saltstone Vault

Abstract

The contents of Tank 48H that include the tetraphenylborate (TPB) precipitates of potassium and cesium will be grouted and stored in the Saltstone vault. The grouting process is exothermic, which should accelerate the rate of decomposition of TPB precipitates eventually to benzene. Because the vault is not currently outfitted with an active ventilation system, there is a concern that a mixture of flammable gases may form in the vapor space of each cell filled with the curing grout. The purpose of this study was to determine if passive breathing induced by the diurnal fluctuations of barometric pressure would provide any mitigating measure against potential flammability in the cell vapor space. In Revision 0 of this document, a set of algorithms were presented that would predict the equilibrium concentration of benzene in the cell vapor space as a function of benzene generation rate, fill height, and passive breathing rate. The algorithms were derived based on several simplifying assumptions so that order of magnitude estimates could be made quickly for scoping purposes. In particular, it was assumed that passive breathing would occur solely due to barometric pressure fluctuations that were sinusoidal; the resulting algorithm for estimating the rate of passive breathing intomore » or out of each cell is given in Eq. (10). Since Revision 0 was issued, the validity of this critical assumption on the mode of passive breathing was checked against available passive ventilation data for the Hanford waste tanks. It was found that the passive breathing rates estimated from Eq. (10) were on average 50 to 90% lower than those measured for 5 out of 6 Hanford tanks considered in this study (see Table 1); for Tank U-106, the estimated passive breathing rates were on average 20% lower than the measured data. These results indicate that Eq. (10) would most likely under predict passive breathing rates of the Saltstone vault. At a given fill height and benzene generation rate, under predicted breathing rates would in turn make the benzene concentration projections in the cell vapor space conservatively high, thus rendering the overall flammability assessment conservative. The results of this validation effort are summarized in Section 2.4 of this revision. It is to be noted that all the algorithms, numerical results and conclusions made in Revision 0 remain valid. In this work, the algorithms for estimating the equilibrium benzene concentration for a given scenario were derived by combining the asymptotic solutions to the transient mass balance equations for the exhaling and inhaling modes in a 24-hour period. These algorithms were then applied to simulate several test cases, including the baseline case where the cell was filled to the maximum height of 25 ft at the bulk benzene generation rate of 3.4 g/hr.« less

Authors:
Publication Date:
Research Org.:
SRS
Sponsoring Org.:
USDOE
OSTI Identifier:
890166
Report Number(s):
WSRC-TR-2005-00071R1
TRN: US0604652
DOE Contract Number:
DE-AC09-96SR18500
Resource Type:
Technical Report
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
12 MANAGEMENT OF RADIOACTIVE WASTES, AND NON-RADIOACTIVE WASTES FROM NUCLEAR FACILITIES; ALGORITHMS; ASYMPTOTIC SOLUTIONS; BENZENE; CONCENTRATION RATIO; BORATES; DECOMPOSITION; CESIUM; FLAMMABILITY; MASS BALANCE; TANKS; NATURAL CONVECTION; VENTILATION; SAFETY

Citation Formats

CHOI, A. An Order-of-Magnitude Estimation of Benzene Concentration in Saltstone Vault. United States: N. p., 2006. Web. doi:10.2172/890166.
CHOI, A. An Order-of-Magnitude Estimation of Benzene Concentration in Saltstone Vault. United States. doi:10.2172/890166.
CHOI, A. Mon . "An Order-of-Magnitude Estimation of Benzene Concentration in Saltstone Vault". United States. doi:10.2172/890166. https://www.osti.gov/servlets/purl/890166.
@article{osti_890166,
title = {An Order-of-Magnitude Estimation of Benzene Concentration in Saltstone Vault},
author = {CHOI, A},
abstractNote = {The contents of Tank 48H that include the tetraphenylborate (TPB) precipitates of potassium and cesium will be grouted and stored in the Saltstone vault. The grouting process is exothermic, which should accelerate the rate of decomposition of TPB precipitates eventually to benzene. Because the vault is not currently outfitted with an active ventilation system, there is a concern that a mixture of flammable gases may form in the vapor space of each cell filled with the curing grout. The purpose of this study was to determine if passive breathing induced by the diurnal fluctuations of barometric pressure would provide any mitigating measure against potential flammability in the cell vapor space. In Revision 0 of this document, a set of algorithms were presented that would predict the equilibrium concentration of benzene in the cell vapor space as a function of benzene generation rate, fill height, and passive breathing rate. The algorithms were derived based on several simplifying assumptions so that order of magnitude estimates could be made quickly for scoping purposes. In particular, it was assumed that passive breathing would occur solely due to barometric pressure fluctuations that were sinusoidal; the resulting algorithm for estimating the rate of passive breathing into or out of each cell is given in Eq. (10). Since Revision 0 was issued, the validity of this critical assumption on the mode of passive breathing was checked against available passive ventilation data for the Hanford waste tanks. It was found that the passive breathing rates estimated from Eq. (10) were on average 50 to 90% lower than those measured for 5 out of 6 Hanford tanks considered in this study (see Table 1); for Tank U-106, the estimated passive breathing rates were on average 20% lower than the measured data. These results indicate that Eq. (10) would most likely under predict passive breathing rates of the Saltstone vault. At a given fill height and benzene generation rate, under predicted breathing rates would in turn make the benzene concentration projections in the cell vapor space conservatively high, thus rendering the overall flammability assessment conservative. The results of this validation effort are summarized in Section 2.4 of this revision. It is to be noted that all the algorithms, numerical results and conclusions made in Revision 0 remain valid. In this work, the algorithms for estimating the equilibrium benzene concentration for a given scenario were derived by combining the asymptotic solutions to the transient mass balance equations for the exhaling and inhaling modes in a 24-hour period. These algorithms were then applied to simulate several test cases, including the baseline case where the cell was filled to the maximum height of 25 ft at the bulk benzene generation rate of 3.4 g/hr.},
doi = {10.2172/890166},
journal = {},
number = ,
volume = ,
place = {United States},
year = {Mon Mar 20 00:00:00 EST 2006},
month = {Mon Mar 20 00:00:00 EST 2006}
}

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  • The contents of Tank 48 that include the tetraphenylborate (TPB) precipitates of potassium and cesium will be grouted and stored in the Saltstone vault. The grouting process is exothermic, which should accelerate the decomposition of TPB precipitates eventually to benzene. Because the vault is not currently outfitted with an active ventilation system, there is a concern that a mixture of flammable gases may form in the vapor space of each cell filled with the curing grout. The purpose of this study was to determine if passive breathing induced by the diurnal oscillations of atmospheric pressure would provide any mitigating measuremore » against potential flammability. Specifically, it was requested that a set of algorithms be developed that would predict the equilibrium concentration of benzene as a function of benzene generation rate, fill height, and the amplitude of the barometric pressure oscillations. These algorithms were to be derived based on several simplifying assumptions so that order of magnitude estimates could be made quickly for scoping purposes. This memo documents the resulting algorithms along with those key assumptions made. These algorithms were then applied to simulate several test cases, including the baseline case where the cell was filled to the maximum height of 25 ft at the bulk benzene generation rate of 3.4 g/hr.« less
  • The Engineering Process Development Group (EPD) of the Savannah River National Laboratory (SRNL) prepared simulated saltstone core samples to evaluate the effect of sample collection by coring on the permeability of saltstone. The Environmental Restoration Technology Section (ERTS) of the SRNL was given the task of measuring the permeability of cores of simulated saltstone. Saltstone samples collected from Vault 4 Cell E using both dry and wet coring methods were also submitted for permeability analysis. The cores from Vault 4 Cell E were in multiple pieces when they were recovered (Smith, 2008 Cheng et.al, 2009). Permeability testing was only performedmore » on the portions of the core sample that were intact, had no visible fractures or cracks, and met the specifications for 'undisturbed specimens' identified in Method ASTM D5084-03 Standard Test Methods for Measurement of Hydraulic Conductivity of Saturated Porous Materials Using a Flexible Wall Permeameter that was used for the testing. Permeability values for cores of simulated saltstone compared with values from permeability tests conducted on molded saltstone samples by an independent laboratory using the same method. All hydraulic conductivity results for Vault 4 samples exceeded results for both molded and cored saltstone simulant samples. The average hydraulic conductivity result for Vault 4 Cell E samples of 3.9 x 10{sup -7} cm/sec is approximately two orders of magnitude greater than that of the simulated saltstone with an average of 4.1 x 10{sup -9} cm/sec. Numerical flow and transport simulations of moisture movement through saltstone performed for the performance assessment of the Saltstone Disposal Facility (SDF) used 2.0 x 10{sup -9} cm/sec for the hydraulic conductivity of saltstone (Flach et al, 2009). The results for simulated versus actual saltstone were further compared using non-parametric statistics. The results from non-parametric statistical analysis of results indicate that there is at least a 98% probability that the hydraulic conductivity of saltstone samples collected from Vault 4 Cell E saltstone is greater than that of the baseline simulant mix.« less
  • As part of the current Saltstone Disposal Facility (SDF) Performance Assessment (PA) revision, the closure cap configuration was reevaluated and closure cap degradation mechanisms and their impact upon infiltration through the closure cap was evaluated for the existing SDF concrete vaults (i.e. vaults 1 and 4) for the base case land use scenario (i.e. institutional control to pine forest scenario) and documented in Phifer and Nelson (2003). The closure cap configuration was modified from a compacted kaolin barrier layer concept to a geosynthetic clay layer (GCL) barrier layer concept. The degradation mechanisms developed included pine forest succession, erosion, and colloidalmore » clay migration. These degradation mechanisms resulted in changes in the hydraulic properties of the closure cap layers and resulting increases in infiltration through the closure cap over time.« less
  • As part of the current Saltstone Disposal Facility (SDF) Performance Assessment (PA) revision, Mechanically Stabilized Earth (MSE) vault closure cap degradation mechanisms and their impact upon filtration through the MSE vault closure cap were evaluated for the base case land use scenario (i.e. institutional control to pine forest). The degradation mechanisms evaluated included pine forest succession, erosion, and colloidal clay migration (Phifer 2003). Infiltration through the upper hydraulic barrier layer of the closure cap as determined by this evaluation will be utilized as the infiltration input to subsequent PORFLOW vadose zone contaminant transport modeling, which will also be performed asmore » part of the PA revision.« less
  • A sequential screening process using a methodology developed by the National Council on Radiation Protection and Measurements, professional judgment and process knowledge has been used to produce a list of radionuclides requiring detailed analysis to derive disposal limits for the Saltstone Disposal Facility based on the atmospheric pathway.