skip to main content

Title: Estimating Residual Solids Volume In Underground Storage Tanks

The Savannah River Site liquid waste system consists of multiple facilities to safely receive and store legacy radioactive waste, treat, and permanently dispose waste. The large underground storage tanks and associated equipment, known as the 'tank farms', include a complex interconnected transfer system which includes underground transfer pipelines and ancillary equipment to direct the flow of waste. The waste in the tanks is present in three forms: supernatant, sludge, and salt. The supernatant is a multi-component aqueous mixture, while sludge is a gel-like substance which consists of insoluble solids and entrapped supernatant. The waste from these tanks is retrieved and treated as sludge or salt. The high level (radioactive) fraction of the waste is vitrified into a glass waste form, while the low-level waste is immobilized in a cementitious grout waste form called saltstone. Once the waste is retrieved and processed, the tanks are closed via removing the bulk of the waste, chemical cleaning, heel removal, stabilizing remaining residuals with tailored grout formulations and severing/sealing external penetrations. The comprehensive liquid waste disposition system, currently managed by Savannah River Remediation, consists of 1) safe storage and retrieval of the waste as it is prepared for permanent disposition; (2) definition of themore » waste processing techniques utilized to separate the high-level waste fraction/low-level waste fraction; (3) disposition of LLW in saltstone; (4) disposition of the HLW in glass; and (5) closure state of the facilities, including tanks. This paper focuses on determining the effectiveness of waste removal campaigns through monitoring the volume of residual solids in the waste tanks. Volume estimates of the residual solids are performed by creating a map of the residual solids on the waste tank bottom using video and still digital images. The map is then used to calculate the volume of solids remaining in the waste tank. The ability to accurately determine a volume is a function of the quantity and quality of the waste tank images. Currently, mapping is performed remotely with closed circuit video cameras and still photograph cameras due to the hazardous environment. There are two methods that can be used to create a solids volume map. These methods are: liquid transfer mapping / post transfer mapping and final residual solids mapping. The task is performed during a transfer because the liquid level (which is a known value determined by a level measurement device) is used as a landmark to indicate solids accumulation heights. The post transfer method is primarily utilized after the majority of waste has been removed. This method relies on video and still digital images of the waste tank after the liquid transfer is complete to obtain the relative height of solids across a waste tank in relation to known and usable landmarks within the waste tank (cooling coils, column base plates, etc.). In order to accurately monitor solids over time across various cleaning campaigns, and provide a technical basis to support final waste tank closure, a consistent methodology for volume determination has been developed and implemented at SRS.« less
; ; ;
Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
Report Number(s):
TRN: US1400300
DOE Contract Number:
Resource Type:
Resource Relation:
Conference: WM2014 Conference, Phoenix, Arizona (United States), 2-6 Mar 2014
Research Org:
Savannah River Site (SRS), Aiken, SC (United States)
Sponsoring Org:
USDOE (United States)
Country of Publication:
United States