Closure of the condensed-phase organic-nitrate reaction USQ at hanford

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A discovery Unreviewed Safety Question (USQ) was declared on the underground waste storage tanks at the Hanford Site in May 1996. The USQ was for condensed-phase organic-nitrate reactions (sometimes called organic complexant reactions) in the tanks. This paper outlines the steps taken to close the USQ, and resolve the related safety issue. Several processes were used at the Hanford Site to extract and/or process plutonium. These processes resulted in organic complexants (for chelating multivalent cations) and organic extraction solvents being sent to the underground waste storage tanks. This paper addresses the organic complexant hazard. The organic complexants are in waste ... continued below

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26 pages

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COWLEY, W.L. June 24, 1999.

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  • Hanford Site (Wash.)
    Publisher Info: HNF Hanford Site (United States)
    Place of Publication: United States

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Description

A discovery Unreviewed Safety Question (USQ) was declared on the underground waste storage tanks at the Hanford Site in May 1996. The USQ was for condensed-phase organic-nitrate reactions (sometimes called organic complexant reactions) in the tanks. This paper outlines the steps taken to close the USQ, and resolve the related safety issue. Several processes were used at the Hanford Site to extract and/or process plutonium. These processes resulted in organic complexants (for chelating multivalent cations) and organic extraction solvents being sent to the underground waste storage tanks. This paper addresses the organic complexant hazard. The organic complexants are in waste matrices that include inert material, diluents, and potential oxidizers. In the presence of oxidizing material, the complexant salts can be made to react exothermically by heating to high temperatures or by applying an external ignition source of sufficient energy. The first organic complexant hazard assessments focused on determining whether a hulk runaway reaction could occur, similar to the 1957 accident at Kyshtm (a reprocessing plant in the former U.S.S.R.). Early analyses (1977 through 1994) examined organic-nitrate reaction onset temperatures and concluded that a bulk runaway reaction could not occur at the Hanford Site because tank temperatures were well below that necessary for bulk runaway. Therefore, it was believed that organic-nitrate reactions were adequately described in the then current Authorization Basis (AB). Subsequent studies examined a different accident scenario, propagation resulting from an external ignition source (e.g., lightning or welding slag) that initiates a combustion front that propagates through the organic waste. A USQ evaluation determined that localized high energy ignition sources were credible, and that point source ignition of organic complexant waste was not adequately addressed i n the then existing AB. Consequently, the USQ was declared on the underground storage tanks in May 1996 for condensed-phase organic-nitrate reactions. At the same time that the operating contractor recommended that the U. S. Department of Energy (DOE) declare a USQ. preventative coiitrols were implemented to minimize potential ignition sources and prevent a possible accident.

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26 pages

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INIS; OSTI as DE00782407

Source

  • Safety Analysis 99, Portland, OR (US), 06/13/1999

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  • Report No.: HNF--4250--FP
  • Grant Number: AC06-96RL13200
  • Office of Scientific & Technical Information Report Number: 782407
  • Archival Resource Key: ark:/67531/metadc724042

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  • June 24, 1999

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  • Sept. 29, 2015, 5:31 a.m.

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  • April 27, 2016, 4:01 p.m.

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COWLEY, W.L. Closure of the condensed-phase organic-nitrate reaction USQ at hanford, article, June 24, 1999; United States. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc724042/: accessed August 19, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.