Biological treatment of concentrated hazardous, toxic, andradionuclide mixed wastes without dilution

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Approximately 10 percent of all radioactive wastes produced in the U. S. are mixed with hazardous or toxic chemicals and therefore can not be placed in secure land disposal facilities. Mixed wastes containing hazardous organic chemicals are often incinerated, but volatile radioactive elements are released directly into the biosphere. Some mixed wastes do not currently have any identified disposal option and are stored locally awaiting new developments. Biological treatment has been proposed as a potentially safer alternative to incineration for the treatment of hazardous organic mixed wastes, since biological treatment would not release volatile radioisotopes and the residual low-level radioactive ... continued below

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Stringfellow, William T.; Komada, Tatsuyuki & Chang, Li-Yang June 15, 2004.

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Approximately 10 percent of all radioactive wastes produced in the U. S. are mixed with hazardous or toxic chemicals and therefore can not be placed in secure land disposal facilities. Mixed wastes containing hazardous organic chemicals are often incinerated, but volatile radioactive elements are released directly into the biosphere. Some mixed wastes do not currently have any identified disposal option and are stored locally awaiting new developments. Biological treatment has been proposed as a potentially safer alternative to incineration for the treatment of hazardous organic mixed wastes, since biological treatment would not release volatile radioisotopes and the residual low-level radioactive waste would no longer be restricted from land disposal. Prior studies have shown that toxicity associated with acetonitrile is a significant limiting factor for the application of biotreatment to mixed wastes and excessive dilution was required to avoid inhibition of biological treatment. In this study, we demonstrate that a novel reactor configuration, where the concentrated toxic waste is drip-fed into a complete-mix bioreactor containing a pre-concentrated active microbial population, can be used to treat a surrogate acetonitrile mixed waste stream without excessive dilution. Using a drip-feed bioreactor, we were able to treat a 90,000 mg/L acetonitrile solution to less than 0.1 mg/L final concentration using a dilution factor of only 3.4. It was determined that the acetonitrile degradation reaction was inhibited at a pH above 7.2 and that the reactor could be modeled using conventional kinetic and mass balance approaches. Using a drip-feed reactor configuration addresses a major limiting factor (toxic inhibition) for the biological treatment of toxic, hazardous, or radioactive mixed wastes and suggests that drip-feed bioreactors could be used to treat other concentrated toxic waste streams, such as chemical warfare materiel.

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  • Report No.: LBNL--55928
  • Grant Number: DE-AC02-05CH11231
  • DOI: 10.2172/877613 | External Link
  • Office of Scientific & Technical Information Report Number: 877613
  • Archival Resource Key: ark:/67531/metadc879941

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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.

Office of Scientific and Technical Information (OSTI) is the Department of Energy (DOE) office that collects, preserves, and disseminates DOE-sponsored research and development (R&D) results that are the outcomes of R&D projects or other funded activities at DOE labs and facilities nationwide and grantees at universities and other institutions.

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Creation Date

  • June 15, 2004

Added to The UNT Digital Library

  • Sept. 21, 2016, 2:29 a.m.

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  • Sept. 29, 2016, 1:48 p.m.

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Stringfellow, William T.; Komada, Tatsuyuki & Chang, Li-Yang. Biological treatment of concentrated hazardous, toxic, andradionuclide mixed wastes without dilution, report, June 15, 2004; Berkeley, California. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc879941/: accessed October 18, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.