PROGRESS IN TREATMENT OF A RADIOACTIVE CONDENSATE WASTE Page: 6 of 80
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sufficient size or the experiments were not conducted on a scale large
enough to evaluate potential processes. To provide this information a pro-
gram was considered necessary in which a condensate stream from a reproc-
essing plant would be used as feed for process studies.
A waste stream decontamination process based on ion-exchange was
selected for development. The process is centered on ion-exchange tech-
nology developed during recent years in the Hanford Laboratories and other
atomic energy research centers. Early attempts at small engineering scale
application of ion-exchange technology resulted in less than satisfactory
results when compared to laboratory data. The difficulties were traced to
nonradioactive impurities in the wastes. Steam stripping and filtering suc-
cessfully removed these impurities, and excellent decontamination of all
significant isotopes except ruthenium was achieved by ion-exchange. Satis-
factory ruthenium decontamination was demonstrated on waste volumes up
to about 1000 column volumes, and the capacity for other isotopes ranged
from 10, 000 to 20, 000 column volumes. Improvement in ruthenium decon-
tamination is needed to simplify operations and to improve economics.
Although a large scale integrated process is yet to be demonstrated,
a cost estimate of an ion-exchange process was made. The estimate of
$7. 50/1000 gal was based on a 2 ton/day fuels reprocessing plant which pro-
duces about 30, 000 gal/day of condensate requiring treatment. The estimate
was based on a process for alkaline condensate and it was assumed a pro-
cess for acid condensate would cost about the same. This estimate is about
$10/1000 gal less than the estimated cost for reevaporation.
Purpose of Study
Figure 1 illustrates a nuclear process waste stream flow plan and
highlights the fact that two waste treatment processes are required-one for
the high-level wastes and one for the low-level wastes. The high-level
waste is characterized by a high radionuclide content, a high salt content,
and a relatively small volume.
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Skarpelos, J.M. PROGRESS IN TREATMENT OF A RADIOACTIVE CONDENSATE WASTE, report, October 1, 1963; Richland, Washington. (https://digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc866645/m1/6/: accessed March 22, 2019), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, https://digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.