ADVANCED OXIDATION: OXALATE DECOMPOSITION TESTING WITH OZONE

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At the Savannah River Site (SRS), oxalic acid is currently considered the preferred agent for chemically cleaning the large underground Liquid Radioactive Waste Tanks. It is applied only in the final stages of emptying a tank when generally less than 5,000 kg of waste solids remain, and slurrying based removal methods are no-longer effective. The use of oxalic acid is preferred because of its combined dissolution and chelating properties, as well as the fact that corrosion to the carbon steel tank walls can be controlled. Although oxalic acid is the preferred agent, there are significant potential downstream impacts. Impacts include: ... continued below

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Ketusky, E. & Subramanian, K. February 29, 2012.

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At the Savannah River Site (SRS), oxalic acid is currently considered the preferred agent for chemically cleaning the large underground Liquid Radioactive Waste Tanks. It is applied only in the final stages of emptying a tank when generally less than 5,000 kg of waste solids remain, and slurrying based removal methods are no-longer effective. The use of oxalic acid is preferred because of its combined dissolution and chelating properties, as well as the fact that corrosion to the carbon steel tank walls can be controlled. Although oxalic acid is the preferred agent, there are significant potential downstream impacts. Impacts include: (1) Degraded evaporator operation; (2) Resultant oxalate precipitates taking away critically needed operating volume; and (3) Eventual creation of significant volumes of additional feed to salt processing. As an alternative to dealing with the downstream impacts, oxalate decomposition using variations of ozone based Advanced Oxidation Process (AOP) were investigated. In general AOPs use ozone or peroxide and a catalyst to create hydroxyl radicals. Hydroxyl radicals have among the highest oxidation potentials, and are commonly used to decompose organics. Although oxalate is considered among the most difficult organic to decompose, the ability of hydroxyl radicals to decompose oxalate is considered to be well demonstrated. In addition, as AOPs are considered to be 'green' their use enables any net chemical additions to the waste to be minimized. In order to test the ability to decompose the oxalate and determine the decomposition rates, a test rig was designed, where 10 vol% ozone would be educted into a spent oxalic acid decomposition loop, with the loop maintained at 70 C and recirculated at 40L/min. Each of the spent oxalic acid streams would be created from three oxalic acid strikes of an F-area simulant (i.e., Purex = high Fe/Al concentration) and H-area simulant (i.e., H area modified Purex = high Al/Fe concentration) after nearing dissolution equilibrium, and then decomposed to {le} 100 Parts per Million (ppm) oxalate. Since AOP technology largely originated on using ultraviolet (UV) light as a primary catalyst, decomposition of the spent oxalic acid, well exposed to a medium pressure mercury vapor light was considered the benchmark. However, with multi-valent metals already contained in the feed, and maintenance of the UV light a concern; testing was conducted to evaluate the impact from removing the UV light. Using current AOP terminology, the test without the UV light would likely be considered an ozone based, dark, ferrioxalate type, decomposition process. Specifically, as part of the testing, the impacts from the following were investigated: (1) Importance of the UV light on the decomposition rates when decomposing 1 wt% spent oxalic acid; (2) Impact of increasing the oxalic acid strength from 1 to 2.5 wt% on the decomposition rates; and (3) For F-area testing, the advantage of increasing the spent oxalic acid flowrate from 40 L/min (liters/minute) to 50 L/min during decomposition of the 2.5 wt% spent oxalic acid. The results showed that removal of the UV light (from 1 wt% testing) slowed the decomposition rates in both the F & H testing. Specifically, for F-Area Strike 1, the time increased from about 6 hours to 8 hours. In H-Area, the impact was not as significant, with the time required for Strike 1 to be decomposed to less than 100 ppm increasing slightly, from 5.4 to 6.4 hours. For the spent 2.5 wt% oxalic acid decomposition tests (all) without the UV light, the F-area decompositions required approx. 10 to 13 hours, while the corresponding required H-Area decompositions times ranged from 10 to 21 hours. For the 2.5 wt% F-Area sludge, the increased availability of iron likely caused the increased decomposition rates compared to the 1 wt% oxalic acid based tests. In addition, for the F-testing, increasing the recirculation flow rates from 40 liter/minute to 50 liter/minute resulted in an increased decomposition rate, suggesting a better use of ozone.

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  • Waste Managment 2012

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  • Report No.: SRR-LWE-2012-00006-2
  • Grant Number: DE-AC09-09SR22505
  • Office of Scientific & Technical Information Report Number: 1035776
  • Archival Resource Key: ark:/67531/metadc844989

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  • February 29, 2012

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  • May 19, 2016, 3:16 p.m.

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  • Dec. 9, 2016, 10:34 p.m.

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Ketusky, E. & Subramanian, K. ADVANCED OXIDATION: OXALATE DECOMPOSITION TESTING WITH OZONE, article, February 29, 2012; United States. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc844989/: accessed May 22, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.