Goethite Bench-scale and Large-scale Preparation Tests

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The Hanford Waste Treatment and Immobilization Plant (WTP) is the keystone for cleanup of high-level radioactive waste from our nation's nuclear defense program. The WTP will process high-level waste from the Hanford tanks and produce immobilized high-level waste glass for disposal at a national repository, low activity waste (LAW) glass, and liquid effluent from the vitrification off-gas scrubbers. The liquid effluent will be stabilized into a secondary waste form (e.g. grout-like material) and disposed on the Hanford site in the Integrated Disposal Facility (IDF) along with the low-activity waste glass. The major long-term environmental impact at Hanford results from technetium ... continued below

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Josephson, Gary B. & Westsik, Joseph H. October 23, 2011.

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Description

The Hanford Waste Treatment and Immobilization Plant (WTP) is the keystone for cleanup of high-level radioactive waste from our nation's nuclear defense program. The WTP will process high-level waste from the Hanford tanks and produce immobilized high-level waste glass for disposal at a national repository, low activity waste (LAW) glass, and liquid effluent from the vitrification off-gas scrubbers. The liquid effluent will be stabilized into a secondary waste form (e.g. grout-like material) and disposed on the Hanford site in the Integrated Disposal Facility (IDF) along with the low-activity waste glass. The major long-term environmental impact at Hanford results from technetium that volatilizes from the WTP melters and finally resides in the secondary waste. Laboratory studies have indicated that pertechnetate ({sup 99}TcO{sub 4}{sup -}) can be reduced and captured into a solid solution of {alpha}-FeOOH, goethite (Um 2010). Goethite is a stable mineral and can significantly retard the release of technetium to the environment from the IDF. The laboratory studies were conducted using reaction times of many days, which is typical of environmental subsurface reactions that were the genesis of this new process. This study was the first step in considering adaptation of the slow laboratory steps to a larger-scale and faster process that could be conducted either within the WTP or within the effluent treatment facility (ETF). Two levels of scale-up tests were conducted (25x and 400x). The largest scale-up produced slurries of Fe-rich precipitates that contained rhenium as a nonradioactive surrogate for {sup 99}Tc. The slurries were used in melter tests at Vitreous State Laboratory (VSL) to determine whether captured rhenium was less volatile in the vitrification process than rhenium in an unmodified feed. A critical step in the technetium immobilization process is to chemically reduce Tc(VII) in the pertechnetate (TcO{sub 4}{sup -}) to Tc(Iv)by reaction with the ferrous ion, Fe{sup 2+}-Fe{sup 2+} is oxidized to Fe{sup 3+} - in the presence of goethite seed particles. Rhenium does not mimic that process; it is not a strong enough reducing agent to duplicate the TcO{sub 4}{sup -}/Fe{sup 2+} redox reactions. Laboratory tests conducted in parallel with these scaled tests identified modifications to the liquid chemistry necessary to reduce ReO{sub 4}{sup -} and capture rhenium in the solids at levels similar to those achieved by Um (2010) for inclusion of Tc into goethite. By implementing these changes, Re was incorporated into Fe-rich solids for testing at VSL. The changes also changed the phase of iron that was in the slurry product: rather than forming goethite ({alpha}-FeOOH), the process produced magnetite (Fe{sub 3}O{sub 4}). Magnetite was considered by Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) and VSL to probably be a better product to improve Re retention in the melter because it decomposes at a higher temperature than goethite (1538 C vs. 136 C). The feasibility tests at VSL were conducted using Re-rich magnetite. The tests did not indicate an improved retention of Re in the glass during vitrification, but they did indicate an improved melting rate (+60%), which could have significant impact on HLW processing. It is still to be shown whether the Re is a solid solution in the magnetite as {sup 99}Tc was determined to be in goethite.

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  • Report No.: PNNL-20860
  • Report No.: EMSP-RPT-011
  • Grant Number: AC05-76RL01830
  • DOI: 10.2172/1029091 | External Link
  • Office of Scientific & Technical Information Report Number: 1029091
  • Archival Resource Key: ark:/67531/metadc833801

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  • October 23, 2011

Added to The UNT Digital Library

  • May 19, 2016, 3:16 p.m.

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  • Nov. 28, 2016, 6:55 p.m.

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Josephson, Gary B. & Westsik, Joseph H. Goethite Bench-scale and Large-scale Preparation Tests, report, October 23, 2011; Richland, Washington. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc833801/: accessed October 17, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.