SAVANNAH RIVER SITE TANK CLEANING: CORROSION RATE FOR ONE VERSUS EIGHT PERCENT OXALIC ACID SOLUTION

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Until recently, the use of oxalic acid for chemically cleaning the Savannah River Site (SRS) radioactive waste tanks focused on using concentrated 4 and 8-wt% solutions. Recent testing and research on applicable dissolution mechanisms have concluded that under appropriate conditions, dilute solutions of oxalic acid (i.e., 1-wt%) may be more effective. Based on the need to maximize cleaning effectiveness, coupled with the need to minimize downstream impacts, SRS is now developing plans for using a 1-wt% oxalic acid solution. A technology gap associated with using a 1-wt% oxalic acid solution was a dearth of suitable corrosion data. Assuming oxalic acid's ... continued below

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Ketusky, E. & Subramanian, K. January 20, 2011.

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Until recently, the use of oxalic acid for chemically cleaning the Savannah River Site (SRS) radioactive waste tanks focused on using concentrated 4 and 8-wt% solutions. Recent testing and research on applicable dissolution mechanisms have concluded that under appropriate conditions, dilute solutions of oxalic acid (i.e., 1-wt%) may be more effective. Based on the need to maximize cleaning effectiveness, coupled with the need to minimize downstream impacts, SRS is now developing plans for using a 1-wt% oxalic acid solution. A technology gap associated with using a 1-wt% oxalic acid solution was a dearth of suitable corrosion data. Assuming oxalic acid's passivation of carbon steel was proportional to the free oxalate concentration, the general corrosion rate (CR) from a 1-wt% solution may not be bound by those from 8-wt%. Therefore, after developing the test strategy and plan, the corrosion testing was performed. Starting with the envisioned process specific baseline solvent, a 1-wt% oxalic acid solution, with sludge (limited to Purex type sludge-simulant for this initial effort) at 75 C and agitated, the corrosion rate (CR) was determined from the measured weight loss of the exposed coupon. Environmental variations tested were: (a) Inclusion of sludge in the test vessel or assuming a pure oxalic acid solution; (b) acid solution temperature maintained at 75 or 45 C; and (c) agitation of the acid solution or stagnant. Application of select electrochemical testing (EC) explored the impact of each variation on the passivation mechanisms and confirmed the CR. The 1-wt% results were then compared to those from the 8-wt%. The immersion coupons showed that the maximum time averaged CR for a 1-wt% solution with sludge was less than 25-mils/yr for all conditions. For an agitated 8-wt% solution with sludge, the maximum time averaged CR was about 30-mils/yr at 50 C, and 86-mils/yr at 75 C. Both the 1-wt% and the 8-wt% testing demonstrated that if the sludge was removed from the testing, there would be a significant increase in the CR. Specifically, the CR for an agitated 1-wt% pure oxalic acid solution at 45 or 75 C was about 4 to 10 times greater than those for a 1-wt% solution with sludge. For 8-wt% at 50 C, the effect was even larger. The lower CRs suggest that the cathodic reactions were altered by the sludge. For both the 1-wt% and 8-wt% solution, increasing the temperature did not result in an increased CR. Although the CR for a 1-wt% acid with sludge was considered to be non-temperature dependent, a stagnant solution with sludge resulted in a CR that was greater at 45 C than at 75 C, suggesting that the oxalate film formed at a higher temperature was better in mitigating corrosion. For both a 1 and an 8-wt% solution, agitation typically resulted in a higher CR. Overall, the testing showed that the general CR to the SRS carbon steel tanks from 1-wt% oxalic acid solution will remain bounded by those from an 8-wt% oxalic acid solution.

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  • Waste Management 2011

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  • Report No.: SRR-LWE-2011-00024
  • Grant Number: DE-AC09-09SR22505
  • Office of Scientific & Technical Information Report Number: 1003848
  • Archival Resource Key: ark:/67531/metadc836268

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  • January 20, 2011

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  • May 19, 2016, 3:16 p.m.

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  • Dec. 12, 2016, 6:15 p.m.

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Ketusky, E. & Subramanian, K. SAVANNAH RIVER SITE TANK CLEANING: CORROSION RATE FOR ONE VERSUS EIGHT PERCENT OXALIC ACID SOLUTION, article, January 20, 2011; United States. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc836268/: accessed October 15, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.