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Title: Crystallization In High Level Waste (HLW) Glass Melters: Operational Experience From The Savannah River Site

processing strategy for the Hanford Tank Waste Treatment and Immobilization Plant (WTP). The basis of this alternative approach is an empirical model predicting the crystal accumulation in the WTP glass discharge riser and melter bottom as a function of glass composition, time, and temperature. When coupled with an associated operating limit (e.g., the maximum tolerable thickness of an accumulated layer of crystals), this model could then be integrated into the process control algorithms to formulate crystal tolerant high level waste (HLW) glasses targeting higher waste loadings while still meeting process related limits and melter lifetime expectancies. This report provides a review of the scaled melter testing that was completed in support of the Defense Waste Processing Facility (DWPF) melter. Testing with scaled melters provided the data to define the DWPF operating limits to avoid bulk (volume) crystallization in the un-agitated DWPF melter and provided the data to distinguish between spinels generated by K-3 refractory corrosion versus spinels that precipitated from the HLW glass melt pool. This report includes a review of the crystallization observed with the scaled melters and the full scale DWPF melters (DWPF Melter 1 and DWPF Melter 2). Examples of actual DWPF melter attainment with Melter 2more » are given. The intent is to provide an overview of lessons learned, including some example data, that can be used to advance the development and implementation of an empirical model and operating limit for crystal accumulation for WTP. Operation of the first and second (current) DWPF melters has demonstrated that the strategy of using a liquidus temperature predictive model combined with a 100 °C offset from the normal melter operating temperature of 1150 °C (i.e., the predicted liquidus temperature (TL) of the glass must be 1050 °C or less) has been successful in preventing any detrimental accumulation of spinel in the DWPF melt pool, and spinel has not been observed in any of the pour stream glass samples. Spinel was observed at the bottom of DWPF Melter 1 as a result of K-3 refractory corrosion. Issues have occurred with accumulation of spinel in the pour spout during periods of operation at higher waste loadings. Given that both DWPF melters were or have been in operation for greater than 8 years, the service life of the melters has far exceeded design expectations. It is possible that the DWPF liquidus temperature approach is conservative, in that it may be possible to successfully operate the melter with a small degree of allowable crystallization in the glass. This could be a viable approach to increasing waste loading in the glass assuming that the crystals are suspended in the melt and swept out through the riser and pour spout. Additional study is needed, and development work for WTP might be leveraged to support a different operating limit for the DWPF. Several recommendations are made regarding considerations that need to be included as part of the WTP crystal tolerant strategy based on the DWPF development work and operational data reviewed here. These include: Identify and consider the impacts of potential heat sinks in the WTP melter and glass pouring system; Consider the contributions of refractory corrosion products, which may serve to nucleate additional crystals leading to further accumulation; Consider volatilization of components from the melt (e.g., boron, alkali, halides, etc.) and determine their impacts on glass crystallization behavior; Evaluate the impacts of glass REDuction/OXidation (REDOX) conditions and the distribution of temperature within the WTP melt pool and melter pour chamber on crystal accumulation rate; Consider the impact of precipitated crystals on glass viscosity; Consider the impact of an accumulated crystalline layer on thermal convection currents and bubbler effectiveness within the melt pool; Evaluate the impact of spinel accumulation on Joule heating of the WTP melt pool; and Include noble metals in glass melt experiments because of their potential to act as nucleation sites for spinel crystallization.« less
Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
Report Number(s):
TRN: US1400293
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