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Title: Sample Results from MCU Solids Outage

Savannah River National Laboratory (SRNL) has received several solid and liquid samples from MCU in an effort to understand and recover from the system outage starting on April 6, 2014. SRNL concludes that the presence of solids in the Salt Solution Feed Tank (SSFT) is the likely root cause for the outage, based upon the following discoveries: A solids sample from the extraction contactor #1 proved to be mostly sodium oxalate; A solids sample from the scrub contactor#1 proved to be mostly sodium oxalate; A solids sample from the Salt Solution Feed Tank (SSFT) proved to be mostly sodium oxalate; An archived sample from Tank 49H taken last year was shown to contain a fine precipitate of sodium oxalate; A solids sample from ; A liquid sample from the SSFT was shown to have elevated levels of oxalate anion compared to the expected concentration in the feed. Visual inspection of the SSFT indicated the presence of precipitated or transferred solids, which were likely also in the Salt Solution Receipt Tank (SSRT). The presence of the solids coupled with agitation performed to maintain feed temperature resulted in oxalate solids migration through the MCU system and caused hydraulic issues that resulted inmore » unplanned phase carryover from the extraction into the scrub, and ultimately the strip contactors. Not only did this carryover result in the Strip Effluent (SE) being pushed out of waste acceptance specification, but it resulted in the deposition of solids into several of the contactors. At the same time, extensive deposits of aluminosilicates were found in the drain tube in the extraction contactor #1. However it is not known at this time how the aluminosilicate solids are related to the oxalate solids. The solids were successfully cleaned out of the MCU system. However, future consideration must be given to the exclusion of oxalate solids into the MCU system. There were 53 recommendations for improving operations recently identified. Some additional considerations or additional details are provided below as recommendations. From this point on, IC-Anions analyses of the DSSHT should be part of the monthly routine analysis in order to spot negative trends in the oxalate leaving the MCU system. Care must be taken to monitor the oxalate content to watch for sudden precipitation of oxalate salts in the system; Conduct a study to optimize the cleaning strategy at ARP-MCU through decreasing the concentration or entirely eliminating the oxalic acid; The contents of the SSFT should remain unagitated. Routine visual observation should be maintained to ensure there is not a large buildup of solids. As water with agitation provided sufficient removal of the solids in the feed tank, it should be considered as a good means for dissolving oxalate solids if they are found in the future; Conduct a study to improve prediction of oxalate solubility in salt batch feed materials. As titanium and mercury have been found in various solids in this report, evaluate if either element plays a role in oxalate solubility during processing; Salt batch characterization focuses primarily on characterization and testing of unaltered Tank 21H material; however, non-typical feeds are developed through cleaning, washing, and/or sump transfers. As these solutions are processed through MCU, they may precipitate solids or reduce performance. Salt batch characterization and testing should be expanded to encompass a broader range of feeds that may be processed through ARPMCU.« less
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Technical Report
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United States