PROGRESS IN TREATMENT OF A RADIOACTIVE CONDENSATE WASTE Page: 9 of 80
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certain minerals can selectively remove radioisotopes from wastes. (1, 2)
Laboratory work was initiated to evaluate one of the minerals, clinoptilo-
lite, for removing radiostrontium and radiocesium from condensate wastes. (3)
At the same time, the need to study a treatment process on a small engi-
neering scale was recognized and the design and installation of appropriate
equipment was started.
Organic matter in the waste, especially in emulsified form, tends
to be mechanically removed by the ion-exchange beds. The emulsion glob-
ules fill the void spaces in the bed and cause excessive pressure drop after
only a fraction of the adsorption capacity of the bed is used. Plugging of
the bed by organic material is characterized by the formation of a distinct
layer of an orange colored, wax-like material in the top inch of the bed.
Significant quantities of NH4 reduce the efficiency of cesium re-
moval because Cs+ is similar to NH+. Early during the waste treatment
experiments, the presence of NH4 had not been recognized; consequently,
much work was done on removing only the organic matter. Two methods
were tried: activated carbon adsorption and membrane separation. (4)
The first method successfully removed both soluble and emulsified organic,
although there were several limitations to its use. Membrane separation
was expected to remove only emulsified organic. The method worked with
synthetic or simulated waste, but the emulsion in the actual waste was too
stable for separation. When it was determined that NH4 was also a con-
stituent of the condensate waste, it was realized that a method for remov-
ing both organic matter and NH+ was necessary to increase the life of
ion-exchange beds. Steam stripping had been used for removing organic
material from plutonium and uranium stream, (5, 6) but only with concen-
trations where large evaporation factors were used. NH+ removal has
been demonstrated with conventional deaerators from boiler feed waters
using a similar technique.(7
* It is recognized that either NH or NH+ will exist in the waste system
depending on the pH and the stoichiome4try of the stream. NH4 has
been used throughout this report for consistency.
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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/m1/9/: accessed April 18, 2019), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, https://digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.