Atmospheric pressure plasma cleaning of contamination surfaces. 1997 mid-year progress report

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'Goals of the project are to (1) identify the key physics and chemistry underlying the use of high pressure plasmas for etching removal of actinides and actinide surrogates; and (2) identify key surface reactions and plasma physics necessary for optimization of the atmospheric pressure plasma jet. Technical description of the work decommissioning of transuranic waste (TRU) into low-level radioactive waste (LLW) represents the largest cleanup cost associated with the nuclear weapons complex. This work is directed towards developing a low-cost plasma technology capable of converting TRU into LLW, based upon highly selective plasma etching of plutonium and other actinides from ... continued below

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7 pages

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Selwyn, G.S. & Hicks, R. June 1, 1997.

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'Goals of the project are to (1) identify the key physics and chemistry underlying the use of high pressure plasmas for etching removal of actinides and actinide surrogates; and (2) identify key surface reactions and plasma physics necessary for optimization of the atmospheric pressure plasma jet. Technical description of the work decommissioning of transuranic waste (TRU) into low-level radioactive waste (LLW) represents the largest cleanup cost associated with the nuclear weapons complex. This work is directed towards developing a low-cost plasma technology capable of converting TRU into LLW, based upon highly selective plasma etching of plutonium and other actinides from contaminated surfaces. In this way, only the actinide material is removed, leaving the surface less contaminated. The plasma etches actinide material by producing a volatile halide compound, which may be efficiently trapped using filters. To achieve practical, low-cost operation of a plasma capable of etching actinide materials, the authors have developed a y-mode, resonant-cavity, atmospheric pressure plasma jet (APPJ). In contrast to conventional, low pressure plasmas, the APPJ produces a purely-chemical effluent free of ions, and so achieves very high selectivity and produces negligible damage to the surface. Since the jet operates outside a chamber, many nuclear wastes may be treated including machinery, duct-work, concrete and other building materials. In some cases, it may be necessary to first remove paint from contaminated surfaces using a plasma selective for that surface, then to switch to the actinide etching chemistry for removal of actinide contamination. The goal of this work is to develop the underlying science required for maturation of this technology and to establish early version engineering prototypes. Accomplishments to Date The authors have made significant progress in this program. The work conducted jointly at Los Alamos and at UCLA. This has been facilitated by exchange of people, equipment and designs between the two locations. The study can be divided into three (3) components: (1) source design, operation and physics, (2) effluent characterization and analysis, (3) surface reactions and decontamination. Some of the key accomplishments in each area are noted.'

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7 pages

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  • Other: DE00013661
  • Report No.: EMSP-54914--97
  • Grant Number: NONE
  • DOI: 10.2172/13661 | External Link
  • Office of Scientific & Technical Information Report Number: 13661
  • Archival Resource Key: ark:/67531/metadc624304

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Creation Date

  • June 1, 1997

Added to The UNT Digital Library

  • June 16, 2015, 7:43 a.m.

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  • June 13, 2016, 4:23 p.m.

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Selwyn, G.S. & Hicks, R. Atmospheric pressure plasma cleaning of contamination surfaces. 1997 mid-year progress report, report, June 1, 1997; United States. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc624304/: accessed October 15, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.