Strength Measurements of Archive K Basin Sludge Using a Soil Penetrometer

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Spent fuel radioactive sludge present in the K East and K West spent nuclear fuel storage basins now resides in the KW Basin in six large underwater engineered containers. The sludge will be dispositioned in two phases under the Sludge Treatment Project: (1) hydraulic retrieval into sludge transport and storage containers (STSCs) and transport to interim storage in Central Plateau and (2) retrieval from the STSCs, treatment, and packaging for shipment to the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant. In the years the STSCs are stored, sludge strength is expected to increase through chemical reaction, intergrowth of sludge crystals, and compaction and ... continued below

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Delegard, Calvin H.; Schmidt, Andrew J. & Chenault, Jeffrey W. December 6, 2011.

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Spent fuel radioactive sludge present in the K East and K West spent nuclear fuel storage basins now resides in the KW Basin in six large underwater engineered containers. The sludge will be dispositioned in two phases under the Sludge Treatment Project: (1) hydraulic retrieval into sludge transport and storage containers (STSCs) and transport to interim storage in Central Plateau and (2) retrieval from the STSCs, treatment, and packaging for shipment to the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant. In the years the STSCs are stored, sludge strength is expected to increase through chemical reaction, intergrowth of sludge crystals, and compaction and dewatering by settling. Increased sludge strength can impact the type and operation of the retrieval equipment needed prior to final sludge treatment and packaging. It is important to determine whether water jetting, planned for sludge retrieval from STSCs, will be effective. Shear strength is a property known to correlate with the effectiveness of water jetting. Accordingly, the unconfined compressive strengths (UCS) of archive K Basin sludge samples and sludge blends were measured using a pocket penetrometer modified for hot cell use. Based on known correlations, UCS values can be converted to shear strengths. Twenty-six sludge samples, stored in hot cells for a number of years since last being disturbed, were identified as potential candidates for UCS measurement and valid UCS measurements were made for twelve, each of which was found as moist or water-immersed solids at least 1/2-inch deep. Ten of the twelve samples were relatively weak, having consistencies described as 'very soft' to 'soft'. Two of the twelve samples, KE Pit and KC-4 P250, were strong with 'very stiff' and 'stiff' consistencies described, respectively, as 'can be indented by a thumb nail' or 'can be indented by thumb'. Both of these sludge samples are composites collected from KE Basin floor and Weasel Pit locations. Despite both strong sludges having relatively high iron concentrations, attribution of their high strengths to this factor could not be made with confidence as other measured sludge samples, also from the KE Basin floor and of high iron concentration, were relatively weak. The observed UCS and shear strengths for the two strong sludges were greater than observed in any prior testing of K Basin sludge except for sludge processed at 185 C under hydrothermal conditions.

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  • Report No.: PNNL-20977
  • Grant Number: AC05-76RL01830
  • DOI: 10.2172/1034993 | External Link
  • Office of Scientific & Technical Information Report Number: 1034993
  • Archival Resource Key: ark:/67531/metadc843397

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  • December 6, 2011

Added to The UNT Digital Library

  • May 19, 2016, 3:16 p.m.

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  • Dec. 9, 2016, 10:28 p.m.

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Delegard, Calvin H.; Schmidt, Andrew J. & Chenault, Jeffrey W. Strength Measurements of Archive K Basin Sludge Using a Soil Penetrometer, report, December 6, 2011; Richland, Washington. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc843397/: accessed September 19, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.