Dissolution of Simulated and Radioactive Savannah River Site High-Level Waste Sludges with Oxalic Acid & Citric Acid Solutions

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This report presents findings from tests investigating the dissolution of simulated and radioactive Savannah River Site sludges with 4 per cent oxalic acid and mixtures of oxalic and citric acid previously recommended by a Russian team from the Khlopin Radium Institute and the Mining and Chemical Combine (MCC). Testing also included characterization of the simulated and radioactive waste sludges. Testing results showed the following: Dissolution of simulated HM and PUREX sludges with oxalic and citric acid mixtures at SRTC confirmed general trends reported previously by Russian testing. Unlike the previous Russian testing six sequential contacts of a mixture of oxalic ... continued below

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STALLINGS, MARY July 8, 2004.

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This report presents findings from tests investigating the dissolution of simulated and radioactive Savannah River Site sludges with 4 per cent oxalic acid and mixtures of oxalic and citric acid previously recommended by a Russian team from the Khlopin Radium Institute and the Mining and Chemical Combine (MCC). Testing also included characterization of the simulated and radioactive waste sludges. Testing results showed the following: Dissolution of simulated HM and PUREX sludges with oxalic and citric acid mixtures at SRTC confirmed general trends reported previously by Russian testing. Unlike the previous Russian testing six sequential contacts of a mixture of oxalic acid citric acids at a 2:1 ratio (v/w) of acid to sludge did not produce complete dissolution of simulated HM and PUREX sludges. We observed that increased sludge dissolution occurred at a higher acid to sludge ratio, 50:1 (v/w), compared to the recommended ratio of 2:1 (v/w). We observed much lower dissolution of aluminum in a simulated HM sludge by sodium hydroxide leaching. We attribute the low aluminum dissolution in caustic to the high fraction of boehmite present in the simulated sludge. Dissolution of HLW sludges with 4 per cent oxalic acid and oxalic/citric acid followed general trends observed with simulated sludges. The limited testing suggests that a mixture of oxalic and citric acids is more efficient for dissolving HM and PUREX sludges and provides a more homogeneous dissolution of HM sludge than oxalic acid alone. Dissolution of HLW sludges in oxalic and oxalic/citric acid mixtures produced residual sludge solids that measured at higher neutron poison to equivalent 235U weight ratios than that in the untreated sludge solids. This finding suggests that residual solids do not present an increased nuclear criticality safety risk. Generally the neutron poison to equivalent 235U weight ratios of the acid solutions containing dissolved sludge components are lower than those in the untreated sludge solids. We recommend that these results be evaluated further to determine if these solutions contain sufficient neutron poisons. We observed low general corrosion rates in tests in which carbon steel coupons were contacted with solutions of oxalic acid, citric acid and mixtures of oxalic and citric acids. Wall thinning can be minimized by maintaining short contact times with these acid solutions. We recommend additional testing with oxalic and oxalic/citric acid mixtures to measure dissolution performance of sludges that have not been previously dried. This testing should include tests to clearly ascertain the effects of total acid strength and metal complexation on dissolution performance. Further work should also evaluate the downstream impacts of citric acid on the SRS High-Level Waste System (e.g., radiochemical separations in the Salt Waste Processing Facility and addition of organic carbon in the Saltstone and Defense Waste Processing facilities).

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  • Other Information: PBD: 8 Jul 2004

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  • Report No.: WSRC-TR-2004-00043
  • Grant Number: AC09-96SR18500
  • DOI: 10.2172/825806 | External Link
  • Office of Scientific & Technical Information Report Number: 825806
  • Archival Resource Key: ark:/67531/metadc784700

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  • July 8, 2004

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  • Dec. 3, 2015, 9:30 a.m.

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  • May 5, 2016, 5:42 p.m.

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STALLINGS, MARY. Dissolution of Simulated and Radioactive Savannah River Site High-Level Waste Sludges with Oxalic Acid & Citric Acid Solutions, report, July 8, 2004; South Carolina. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc784700/: accessed August 17, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.