THREE-DIMENSIONAL THERMAL MODELING ANALYSIS OF CST MEDIA FOR THE SMALL ION EXCHANGE PROJECT

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The Small Column Ion Exchange (SCIX) project is designed to accelerate closure of High Level Waste (HLW) tanks at the Savannah River Site (SRS). The SRS tanks store HLW in three forms: sludge, saltcake, and supernate. An in-tank ion exchange process is being designed to treat supernate and dissolved saltcake waste. Through this process, radioactive cesium from the salt solution is adsorbed into Crystalline Silicotitanate (CST) ion exchange media packed within a flow-through column. A packed column loaded with radioactive cesium generates significant heat from radiolytic decay. The waste supernate solution within the ion exchange bed will boil around 120 ... continued below

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Lee, S. & King, W. September 12, 2011.

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The Small Column Ion Exchange (SCIX) project is designed to accelerate closure of High Level Waste (HLW) tanks at the Savannah River Site (SRS). The SRS tanks store HLW in three forms: sludge, saltcake, and supernate. An in-tank ion exchange process is being designed to treat supernate and dissolved saltcake waste. Through this process, radioactive cesium from the salt solution is adsorbed into Crystalline Silicotitanate (CST) ion exchange media packed within a flow-through column. A packed column loaded with radioactive cesium generates significant heat from radiolytic decay. The waste supernate solution within the ion exchange bed will boil around 120 C. Solution superheating above the boiling point within the column could lead to violent hazardous energy releases. System heating from loaded CST is also of concern in other process modules, such as the waste tank. Due to tank structural integrity concerns, the wall temperature limit for the SRS waste tanks is 100 C. The transfer of cesium-loaded CST to the tank could result in localized hot spots on the tank floor and walls which may exceed this limit. As a result, thermal modeling calculations have been conducted to predict the maximum temperatures achievable both in the column and in the waste tank. As specified in the associated Technical Task Plan, one objective of the present work was to compute temperature distributions within the ion exchange column module under accident scenarios including loss of salt solution flow through the bed and loss of coolant system flow. The column modeling domain and the scope of the calculations in this case were broadened relative to previous two-dimensional calculations to include vertical temperature distributions within the packed bed of ion exchange media as well as the upper column plenum region containing only fluid. The baseline design conditions and in-column modeling domain for the ion-exchange column module are shown in Figure 1. These evaluations assumed the maximum bounding cesium loading considered possible based on current knowledge regarding CST media and the anticipated feed compositions. Since this cesium loading was considerably higher than the nominal loading conditions in SRS waste, cases with lower loading were also evaluated. Modeling parameters were the same as those used previously unless otherwise indicated. The current model does not capture multi-phase cooling mechanisms operative when solution boiling occurs. This feature is conservative in the sense that it does not account for the large cooling effects associated with phase transfer. However, the potential transfer of heat to the plenum region associated with vertical bubble ascension through the column during boiling is also neglected. Thermal modeling calculations were also performed for the entire waste storage tank for the case where loaded and ground CST was transferred to the tank. The modeling domain used for the in-tank calculations is provided in Figure 2. The in-tank domain is based on SRS Tank 41, which is a Type-IIIA tank. Temperature distributions were evaluated for cylindrical, ground CST mounds located on the tank floor. Media grinding is required prior to vitrification processing of the CST in the SRS Defense Waste Processing Facility (DWPF). The location of the heat source region on the tank floor due to the accumulation of CST material was assumed to be just under the grinder. The shape of the CST mound was assumed to be cylindrical. This shape is believed to be most representative of the actual mound shape formed in the tank, given that submersible mixing pumps will be available for media dispersion. Alternative configurations involving other geometrical shapes for the CST mound were evaluated in the previous work. Sensitivity analysis for the in-tank region was performed for different amounts of CST media. As was the case for the in-column model, the in-tank model does not include multi-phase cooling mechanisms operative when solution boiling occurs. The in-column and the in-tank evaluations incorporated recently updated maximum cesium loading levels calculated using the current SCIX feed compositions, which resulted in significantly higher cesium loading than previously calculated. The calculations were conducted to ensure conservative predictions for the maximum temperatures achievable using the current baseline design. The degree of conservatism was reduced for in-column calculations relative to the previous work by using a three-dimensional modeling approach and selecting parameters which were nearer to expected conditions. The degree of conservatism for the in-tank calculations was also reduced by lowering the soil penetration depth below the tank from 150 to 20 feet. The primary goals of the extended thermal modeling effort were to determine whether fluid boiling or superheating are possible within the column module and to determine the maximum floor temperatures within the tank loaded with spent CST.

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  • Report No.: SRNL-STI-2011-00502
  • Grant Number: DE-AC09-08SR22470
  • DOI: 10.2172/1024400 | External Link
  • Office of Scientific & Technical Information Report Number: 1024400
  • Archival Resource Key: ark:/67531/metadc841438

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  • September 12, 2011

Added to The UNT Digital Library

  • May 19, 2016, 3:16 p.m.

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  • Dec. 12, 2016, 6:48 p.m.

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Lee, S. & King, W. THREE-DIMENSIONAL THERMAL MODELING ANALYSIS OF CST MEDIA FOR THE SMALL ION EXCHANGE PROJECT, report, September 12, 2011; United States. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc841438/: accessed May 23, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.