Impact of Alkali Source on Vitrification of SRS High Level Waste

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The Defense Waste Processing Facility (DWPF) Savannah River Site is currently immobilizing high level nuclear waste sludge by vitrification in borosilicate glass. The processing strategy involves blending a large batch of sludge into a feed tank, washing the sludge to reduce the amount of soluble species, then processing the large ''sludge batch'' through the DWPF. Each sludge batch is tested by the Savannah River National Laboratory (SRNL) using simulants and tests with samples of the radioactive waste to ''qualify'' the batch prior to processing in the DWPF. The DWPF pretreats the sludge by first acidifying the sludge with nitric and ... continued below

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LAMBERT, D. P.; MILLER, D. H.; PEELER, D. K.; SMITH, M. E. & STONE, M. E. September 8, 2005.

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The Defense Waste Processing Facility (DWPF) Savannah River Site is currently immobilizing high level nuclear waste sludge by vitrification in borosilicate glass. The processing strategy involves blending a large batch of sludge into a feed tank, washing the sludge to reduce the amount of soluble species, then processing the large ''sludge batch'' through the DWPF. Each sludge batch is tested by the Savannah River National Laboratory (SRNL) using simulants and tests with samples of the radioactive waste to ''qualify'' the batch prior to processing in the DWPF. The DWPF pretreats the sludge by first acidifying the sludge with nitric and formic acid. The ratio of nitric to formic acid is adjusted as required to target a final glass composition that is slightly reducing (the target is for {approx}20% of the iron to have a valence of two in the glass). The formic acid reduces the mercury in the feed to elemental mercury which is steam stripped from the feed. After a concentration step, the glass former (glass frit) is added as a 50 wt% slurry and the batch is concentrated to approximately 50 wt% solids. The feed slurry is then fed to a joule heated melter maintained at 1150 C. The glass must meet both processing (e.g., viscosity and liquidus temperature) and product performance (e.g., durability) constraints The alkali content of the final waste glass is a critical parameter that affects key glass properties (such as durability) as well as the processing characteristics of the waste sludge during the pretreatment and vitrification processes. Increasing the alkali content of the glass has been shown to improve the production rate of the DWPF, but the total alkali in the final glass is limited by constraints on glass durability and viscosity. Two sources of alkali contribute to the final alkali content of the glass: sodium salts in the waste supernate and sodium and lithium oxides in the glass frit added during pretreatment processes. Sodium salts in the waste supernate can be reduced significantly by washing the solids to remove soluble species. The ''washing strategy'' for future sludge batches can be controlled to limit the soluble sodium remaining in the waste stream while balancing the alkali content of the frit to maintain acceptable glass properties as well as improve melter processing characteristics.

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  • Report No.: WSRC-MS-2005-00319
  • Grant Number: DE-AC09-96SR18500
  • Office of Scientific & Technical Information Report Number: 881359
  • Archival Resource Key: ark:/67531/metadc873394

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Office of Scientific & Technical Information Technical Reports

Reports, articles and other documents harvested from the Office of Scientific and Technical Information.

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  • September 8, 2005

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  • Sept. 21, 2016, 2:29 a.m.

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  • Dec. 7, 2016, 3:24 p.m.

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LAMBERT, D. P.; MILLER, D. H.; PEELER, D. K.; SMITH, M. E. & STONE, M. E. Impact of Alkali Source on Vitrification of SRS High Level Waste, article, September 8, 2005; Aiken, South Carolina. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc873394/: accessed December 15, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.