A Strategy to Conduct an Analysis of the Long-Term Performance of Low-Activity Waste Glass in a Shallow Subsurface Disposal System at Hanford

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Privatized services are being procured to vitrify low-activity tank wastes for eventual disposal in a shallow subsurface facility at the Hanford Site. Over 500,000 metric tons of low-activity waste glass will be generated, which is among the largest volumes of waste within the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) complex and is one of the largest inventories of long-lived radionuclides planned for disposal in a low-level waste facility. Before immobilized waste can be disposed, DOE must approve a "performance assessment," which is a document that describes the impacts of the disposal facility on public health and environmental resources. Because the release ... continued below

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McGrail, B. P.; Ebert, W. L.; Bacon, D. H. & Strachan, D. M. February 1998.

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Privatized services are being procured to vitrify low-activity tank wastes for eventual disposal in a shallow subsurface facility at the Hanford Site. Over 500,000 metric tons of low-activity waste glass will be generated, which is among the largest volumes of waste within the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) complex and is one of the largest inventories of long-lived radionuclides planned for disposal in a low-level waste facility. Before immobilized waste can be disposed, DOE must approve a "performance assessment," which is a document that describes the impacts of the disposal facility on public health and environmental resources. Because the release rate of radionuclides from the glass waste form is a key factor determining these impacts, a sound scientific basis for determining their long-term release rates must be developed if this disposal action is to be accepted by regulatory agencies, stakeholders, and the public. In part, the scientific basis is determined from a sound testing strategy. The foundation of the proposed testing strategy is a well accepted mechanistic model that is being used to calculate the glass corrosion behavior over the geologic time scales required for performance assessment. This model requires that six parameters be determined, and the testing program is defined by an appropriate set of laboratory experiments to determine these parameters, and is combined with a set of field experiments to validate the model as a whole. Three general classes of laboratory tests are proposed in this strategy: 1) characterization, 2) accelerated, and 3) service condition. Characterization tests isolate and provide specific information about processes or parameters in theoretical models. Accelerated tests investigate corrosion behavior that will be important over the regulated service life of a disposal system within a laboratory time frame of a few years or less. Service condition tests verify that the techniques used in accelerated tests do not change the alteration mechanisms. The recommended characterization tests are single-pass flow-through tests using a batch reactor design, Accelerated and service conditions tests include product consistency and pressurized unsaturated flow (PUF) tests. Nonradioactive glasses will be used for the majority of the laboratory testing (-80%), with the remainder performed with glasses containing a selected set of key radionuclides. Additionally, a series of PUF experiments with a natural analog of basaltic glass is recommended to confirm that the alteration products observed under accelerated conditions in the PUF tests are similar to those found associated with the natural analog. This will provide additional confidence in using the PUF test results to infer long-term corrosion behavior. Field tests are proposed as a unique way to validate the glass corrosion and contaminant transport models being used in the performance assessment. To better control the test conditions, the field tests are to be performed in lysimeters (corrugated steel containers buried flush with the ground surface). Lysimeters provide a way to combine a glass, Hanford soil, and perhaps other engineered materials in a well-controlled test, but on a scale that is not practicable in the laboratory. The recommended field tests include some experiments where a steady flow rate of water is artificially applied. These tests use a glass designed to have a high corrosion rate so that it is easier to monitor contaminant release and transport. Existing lysimeters at the Hanford Site can be used for these experiments or new lysimeters that have been equipped with the latest in monitoring equipment and located near the proposed disposal site.

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  • Other: DE00000727
  • Report No.: PNNL-11834
  • Grant Number: AC06-76RL01830
  • DOI: 10.2172/727 | External Link
  • Office of Scientific & Technical Information Report Number: 727
  • Archival Resource Key: ark:/67531/metadc710363

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Office of Scientific & Technical Information Technical Reports

Reports, articles and other documents harvested from the Office of Scientific and Technical Information.

Office of Scientific and Technical Information (OSTI) is the Department of Energy (DOE) office that collects, preserves, and disseminates DOE-sponsored research and development (R&D) results that are the outcomes of R&D projects or other funded activities at DOE labs and facilities nationwide and grantees at universities and other institutions.

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  • February 1998

Added to The UNT Digital Library

  • Sept. 12, 2015, 6:31 a.m.

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  • June 20, 2016, 6:06 p.m.

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McGrail, B. P.; Ebert, W. L.; Bacon, D. H. & Strachan, D. M. A Strategy to Conduct an Analysis of the Long-Term Performance of Low-Activity Waste Glass in a Shallow Subsurface Disposal System at Hanford, report, February 1998; Richland, Washington. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc710363/: accessed November 14, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.