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Title: Laboratory Evaporation Testing Of Hanford Waste Treatment Plant Low Activity Waste Off-Gas Condensate Simulant

The Hanford Waste Treatment and Immobilization Plant (WTP) Low Activity Waste (LAW) vitrification facility will generate an aqueous condensate recycle stream, LAW Off-Gas Condensate, from the off-gas system. The baseline plan for disposition of this stream is to send it to the WTP Pretreatment Facility, where it will be blended with LAW, concentrated by evaporation and recycled to the LAW vitrification facility again. Alternate disposition of this stream would eliminate recycling of problematic components, and would enable de-coupled operation of the LAW melter and the Pretreatment Facilities. Eliminating this stream from recycling within WTP would also decrease the LAW vitrification mission duration and quantity of canistered glass waste forms. This LAW Off-Gas Condensate stream contains components that are volatile at melter temperatures and are problematic for the glass waste form. Because this stream recycles within WTP, these components accumulate in the Condensate stream, exacerbating their impact on the number of LAW glass containers that must be produced. Approximately 32% of the sodium in Supplemental LAW comes from glass formers used to make the extra glass to dilute the halides to be within acceptable concentration ranges in the LAW glass. Diverting the stream reduces the halides in the recycled Condensate andmore » is a key outcome of this work. Additionally, under possible scenarios where the LAW vitrification facility commences operation prior to the WTP Pretreatment facility, identifying a disposition path becomes vitally important. This task examines the impact of potential future disposition of this stream in the Hanford tank farms, and investigates auxiliary evaporation to enable another disposition path. Unless an auxiliary evaporator is used, returning the stream to the tank farms would require evaporation in the 242-A 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 of tanks and equipment, precipitation of solids, release of ammonia gas vapors, and scale in the tank farm evaporator. Routing this stream to the tank farms does not permanently divert it from recycling into the WTP, only temporarily stores it prior to reprocessing. Testing is normally performed to demonstrate acceptable conditions and limits for these compounds in wastes sent to the tank farms. The primary parameter of this phase of the test program was measuring the formation of solids during evaporation in order to assess the compatibility of the stream with the evaporator and transfer and storage equipment. The origin of this LAW Off-Gas Condensate stream will be the liquids from the Submerged Bed Scrubber (SBS) and the Wet Electrostatic Precipitator (WESP) from the LAW facility melter offgas 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. The soluble components are expected to be mostly sodium and ammonium salts of nitrate, chloride, and fluoride. This stream has not been generated yet, and, thus, the composition will not be available until the WTP begins operation, but a simulant has been produced based on models, calculations, and comparison with pilot-scale tests. This report discusses results of evaporation testing of the simulant. Two conditions were tested, one with the simulant at near neutral pH, and a second at alkaline pH. The neutral pH test is comparable to the conditions in the Hanford Effluent Treatment Facility (ETF) evaporator, although that evaporator operates at near atmospheric pressure and tests were done under vacuum. For the alkaline test, the target pH was based on the tank farm corrosion control program requirements, and the test protocol and equipment was comparable to that used for routine evaluation of feed compatibility studies for the 242-A evaporator. One of the radionuclides that is volatile in the melter and expected to be in high concentration in this LAW Off-Gas Condensate stream is Technetium-99 (99Tc). Technetium will not be removed from the aqueous waste in the Hanford WTP, and will primarily end up immobilized in the LAW glass by repeated recycle of the off-gas condensate into the LAW melter. Other radionuclides that are also expected to be in appreciable concentrations in the LAW Off-Gas Condensate are 129I, 90Sr, 137Cs, and 241Am. 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. At this time, these scoping tests did not evaluate the partitioning of the radionuclides to the evaporator condensate, since ample data are available separately from other experience in the DOE complex. Results from the evaporation testing show that the neutral SBS simulant first forms turbidity at ~7.5X concentration, while the alkaline-adjusted simulant became turbid at ~3X concentration. The major solid in both cases was Kogarkoite, Na3FSO4. Sodium and lithium fluorides were also detected. Minimal solids were formed in the evaporator bottoms until a substantial fraction of liquid was removed, indicating that evaporation could minimize storage volume issues. Achievable concentration factors without significant insoluble solids were 17X at alkaline pH, and 23X at neutral pH. In both runs, significant ammonia carried over and was captured in the condenser with the water condensate. Results also indicate that with low insoluble solids formation in the initial testing at neutral pH, the use of Reverse Osmosis is a potential alternate method for concentrating the solution, although an evaluation is needed to identify equipment that can tolerate insoluble solids. Most of the ammonia remains in the evaporator bottoms during the neutral pH evaporation, but partitions to the condensate during alkaline evaporation. Disposition of both streams needs to consider the management of ammonia vapor and its release. Since this is an initial phase of testing, additional tasks related to evaporation methods are expected to be identified for development. These tasks likely include evaluation and testing of composition variability testing and evaluations, corrosion and erosion testing, slurry storage and immobilization investigations, and evaporator condensate disposition.« less
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  1. Savannah River Site (SRS), Aiken, SC (United States). Savannah River National Lab. (SRNL)
Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
Report Number(s):
TRN: US1400289
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