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Title: Mitigation of Hydrogen Gas Generation from the Reaction of Water with Uranium Metal in K Basins Sludge

Means to decrease the rate of hydrogen gas generation from the chemical reaction of uranium metal with water were identified by surveying the technical literature. The underlying chemistry and potential side reactions were explored by conducting 61 principal experiments. Several methods achieved significant hydrogen gas generation rate mitigation. Gas-generating side reactions from interactions of organics or sludge constituents with mitigating agents were observed. Further testing is recommended to develop deeper knowledge of the underlying chemistry and to advance the technology aturation level. Uranium metal reacts with water in K Basin sludge to form uranium hydride (UH3), uranium dioxide or uraninite (UO2), and diatomic hydrogen (H2). Mechanistic studies show that hydrogen radicals (H·) and UH3 serve as intermediates in the reaction of uranium metal with water to produce H2 and UO2. Because H2 is flammable, its release into the gas phase above K Basin sludge during sludge storage, processing, immobilization, shipment, and disposal is a concern to the safety of those operations. Findings from the technical literature and from experimental investigations with simple chemical systems (including uranium metal in water), in the presence of individual sludge simulant components, with complete sludge simulants, and with actual K Basin sludge are presented inmore » this report. Based on the literature review and intermediate lab test results, sodium nitrate, sodium nitrite, Nochar Acid Bond N960, disodium hydrogen phosphate, and hexavalent uranium [U(VI)] were tested for their effects in decreasing the rate of hydrogen generation from the reaction of uranium metal with water. Nitrate and nitrite each were effective, decreasing hydrogen generation rates in actual sludge by factors of about 100 to 1000 when used at 0.5 molar (M) concentrations. Higher attenuation factors were achieved in tests with aqueous solutions alone. Nochar N960, a water sorbent, decreased hydrogen generation by no more than a factor of three while disodium phosphate increased the corrosion and hydrogen generation rates slightly. U(VI) showed some promise in attenuating hydrogen but only initial testing was completed. Uranium metal corrosion rates also were measured. Under many conditions showing high hydrogen gas attenuation, uranium metal continued to corrode at rates approaching those observed without additives. This combination of high hydrogen attenuation with relatively unabated uranium metal corrosion is significant as it provides a means to eliminate uranium metal by its corrosion in water without the accompanying hazards otherwise presented by hydrogen generation.« less
Authors:
; ;
Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
973413
Report Number(s):
PNNL-19135
830403000; TRN: US1001917
DOE Contract Number:
AC05-76RL01830
Resource Type:
Technical Report
Research Org:
Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL), Richland, WA (US)
Sponsoring Org:
USDOE
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
08 HYDROGEN; 11 NUCLEAR FUEL CYCLE AND FUEL MATERIALS; ADDITIVES; AQUEOUS SOLUTIONS; ATTENUATION; CHEMICAL REACTIONS; CHEMISTRY; CORROSION; HYDROGEN; MITIGATION; NITRATES; NITRITES; PHOSPHATES; PHOSPHORIC ACID; SAFETY; SLUDGES; SODIUM; SODIUM NITRATES; URANINITES; URANIUM; URANIUM DIOXIDE; URANIUM HYDRIDES uranium metal; corrosion; aqueous; nitrate; nitrite; inhibition; hydrogen gas; hydrogen radical