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Title: Chemical Disposition of Plutonium in Hanford Site Tank Wastes

This report examines the chemical disposition of plutonium (Pu) in Hanford Site tank wastes, by itself and in its observed and potential interactions with the neutron absorbers aluminum (Al), cadmium (Cd), chromium (Cr), iron (Fe), manganese (Mn), nickel (Ni), and sodium (Na). Consideration also is given to the interactions of plutonium with uranium (U). No consideration of the disposition of uranium itself as an element with fissile isotopes is considered except tangentially with respect to its interaction as an absorber for plutonium. The report begins with a brief review of Hanford Site plutonium processes, examining the various means used to recover plutonium from irradiated fuel and from scrap, and also examines the intermediate processing of plutonium to prepare useful chemical forms. The paper provides an overview of Hanford tank defined-waste–type compositions and some calculations of the ratios of plutonium to absorber elements in these waste types and in individual waste analyses. These assessments are based on Hanford tank waste inventory data derived from separately published, expert assessments of tank disposal records, process flowsheets, and chemical/radiochemical analyses. This work also investigates the distribution and expected speciation of plutonium in tank waste solution and solid phases. For the solid phases, both puremore » plutonium compounds and plutonium interactions with absorber elements are considered. These assessments of plutonium chemistry are based largely on analyses of idealized or simulated tank waste or strongly alkaline systems. The very limited information available on plutonium behavior, disposition, and speciation in genuine tank waste also is discussed. The assessments show that plutonium coprecipitates strongly with chromium, iron, manganese and uranium absorbers. Plutonium’s chemical interactions with aluminum, nickel, and sodium are minimal to non-existent. Credit for neutronic interaction of plutonium with these absorbers occurs only if they are physically proximal in solution or the plutonium present in the solid phase is intimately mixed with compounds or solutions of these absorbers. No information on the potential chemical interaction of plutonium with cadmium was found in the technical literature. Definitive evidence of sorption or adsorption of plutonium onto various solid phases from strongly alkaline media is less clear-cut, perhaps owing to fewer studies and to some well-attributed tests run under conditions exceeding the very low solubility of plutonium. The several studies that are well-founded show that only about half of the plutonium is adsorbed from waste solutions onto sludge solid phases. The organic complexants found in many Hanford tank waste solutions seem to decrease plutonium uptake onto solids. A number of studies show plutonium sorbs effectively onto sodium titanate. Finally, this report presents findings describing the behavior of plutonium vis-à-vis other elements during sludge dissolution in nitric acid based on Hanford tank waste experience gained by lab-scale tests, chemical and radiochemical sample characterization, and full-scale processing in preparation for strontium-90 recovery from PUREX sludges.« less
Authors:
 [1] ;  [1]
  1. Pacific Northwest National Lab. (PNNL), Richland, WA (United States)
Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
1233488
Report Number(s):
PNNL--23468-Rev.1
830403000; TRN: US1600197
DOE Contract Number:
AC05-76RL01830
Resource Type:
Technical Report
Research Org:
Pacific Northwest National Lab. (PNNL), Richland, WA (United States)
Sponsoring Org:
USDOE
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
12 MANAGEMENT OF RADIOACTIVE AND NON-RADIOACTIVE WASTES FROM NUCLEAR FACILITIES; 37 INORGANIC, ORGANIC, PHYSICAL, AND ANALYTICAL CHEMISTRY; HANFORD RESERVATION; PLUTONIUM; SCRAP; LIQUID WASTES; STRONTIUM 90; MATERIALS RECOVERY; TANKS; SODIUM; CHROMIUM; IRON; MANGANESE; NICKEL; SOLUTIONS; URANIUM; ADSORPTION; RADIOCHEMISTRY; CHEMICAL REACTIONS; ALUMINIUM; CADMIUM; SOLIDS; SPENT FUELS; NITRIC ACID; RADIOCHEMICAL ANALYSIS; SLUDGES; TITANATES; PLUTONIUM COMPOUNDS; PRECIPITATION; DISSOLUTION; DISTRIBUTION; INVENTORIES; SIMULATION; UPTAKE