SUMMARY OF FY11 SULFATE RETENTION STUDIES FOR DEFENSE WASTE PROCESSING FACILITY GLASS

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This report describes the results of studies related to the incorporation of sulfate in high level waste (HLW) borosilicate glass produced at the Savannah River Site (SRS) Defense Waste Processing Facility (DWPF). A group of simulated HLW glasses produced for earlier sulfate retention studies was selected for full chemical composition measurements to determine whether there is any clear link between composition and sulfate retention over the compositional region evaluated. In addition, the viscosity of several glasses was measured to support future efforts in modeling sulfate solubility as a function of predicted viscosity. The intent of these studies was to develop ... continued below

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Fox, K. & Edwards, T. May 8, 2012.

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This report describes the results of studies related to the incorporation of sulfate in high level waste (HLW) borosilicate glass produced at the Savannah River Site (SRS) Defense Waste Processing Facility (DWPF). A group of simulated HLW glasses produced for earlier sulfate retention studies was selected for full chemical composition measurements to determine whether there is any clear link between composition and sulfate retention over the compositional region evaluated. In addition, the viscosity of several glasses was measured to support future efforts in modeling sulfate solubility as a function of predicted viscosity. The intent of these studies was to develop a better understanding of sulfate retention in borosilicate HLW glass to allow for higher loadings of sulfate containing waste. Based on the results of these and other studies, the ability to improve sulfate solubility in DWPF borosilicate glasses lies in reducing the connectivity of the glass network structure. This can be achieved, as an example, by increasing the concentration of alkali species in the glass. However, this must be balanced with other effects of reduced network connectivity, such as reduced viscosity, potentially lower chemical durability, and in the case of higher sodium and aluminum concentrations, the propensity for nepheline crystallization. Future DWPF processing is likely to target higher waste loadings and higher sludge sodium concentrations, meaning that alkali concentrations in the glass will already be relatively high. It is therefore unlikely that there will be the ability to target significantly higher total alkali concentrations in the glass solely to support increased sulfate solubility without the increased alkali concentration causing failure of other Product Composition Control System (PCCS) constraints, such as low viscosity and durability. No individual components were found to provide a significant improvement in sulfate retention (i.e., an increase of the magnitude necessary to have a dramatic impact on blending, washing, or waste loading strategies for DWPF) for the glasses studied here. In general, the concentrations of those species that significantly improve sulfate solubility in a borosilicate glass must be added in relatively large concentrations (e.g., 13 to 38 wt % or more of the frit) in order to have a substantial impact. For DWPF, these concentrations would constitute too large of a portion of the frit to be practical. Therefore, it is unlikely that specific additives may be introduced into the DWPF glass via the frit to significantly improve sulfate solubility. The results presented here continue to show that sulfate solubility or retention is a function of individual glass compositions, rather than a property of a broad glass composition region. It would therefore be inappropriate to set a single sulfate concentration limit for a range of DWPF glass compositions. Sulfate concentration limits should continue to be identified and implemented for each sludge batch. The current PCCS limit is 0.4 wt % SO{sub 4}{sup 2-} in glass, although frit development efforts have led to an increased limit of 0.6 wt % for recent sludge batches. Slightly higher limits (perhaps 0.7-0.8 wt %) may be possible for future sludge batches. An opportunity for allowing a higher sulfate concentration limit at DWPF may lay lie in improving the laboratory experiments used to set this limit. That is, there are several differences between the crucible-scale testing currently used to define a limit for DWPF operation and the actual conditions within the DWPF melter. In particular, no allowance is currently made for sulfur partitioning (volatility versus retention) during melter processing as the sulfate limit is set for a specific sludge batch. A better understanding of the partitioning of sulfur in a bubbled melter operating with a cold cap as well as the impacts of sulfur on the off-gas system may allow a higher sulfate concentration limit to be established for the melter feed. This approach would have to be taken carefully to ensure that a sulfur salt layer is not formed on top of the melt pool while allowing higher sulfur based feeds to be processed through DWPF.

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  • Report No.: SRNL-STI-2012-00152
  • Grant Number: DE-AC09-08SR22470
  • DOI: 10.2172/1039996 | External Link
  • Office of Scientific & Technical Information Report Number: 1039996
  • Archival Resource Key: ark:/67531/metadc841996

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  • May 8, 2012

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  • May 19, 2016, 3:16 p.m.

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  • Dec. 12, 2016, 6:41 p.m.

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Fox, K. & Edwards, T. SUMMARY OF FY11 SULFATE RETENTION STUDIES FOR DEFENSE WASTE PROCESSING FACILITY GLASS, report, May 8, 2012; United States. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc841996/: accessed November 19, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.