Transportability Class of Americium in K Basin Sludge under Ambient and Hydrothermal Processing Conditions

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This report establishes the technical bases for using a ''slow uptake'' instead of a ''moderate uptake'' transportability class for americium-241 (241Am) for the K Basin Sludge Treatment Project (STP) dose consequence analysis. Slow uptake classes are used for most uranium and plutonium oxides. A moderate uptake class has been used in prior STP analyses for 241Am based on the properties of separated 241Am and its associated oxide. However, when 241Am exists as an ingrown progeny (and as a small mass fraction) within plutonium mixtures, it is appropriate to assign transportability factors of the predominant plutonium mixtures (typically slow) to the ... continued below

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Delegard, Calvin H.; Schmitt, Bruce E. & Schmidt, Andrew J. August 1, 2006.

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This report establishes the technical bases for using a ''slow uptake'' instead of a ''moderate uptake'' transportability class for americium-241 (241Am) for the K Basin Sludge Treatment Project (STP) dose consequence analysis. Slow uptake classes are used for most uranium and plutonium oxides. A moderate uptake class has been used in prior STP analyses for 241Am based on the properties of separated 241Am and its associated oxide. However, when 241Am exists as an ingrown progeny (and as a small mass fraction) within plutonium mixtures, it is appropriate to assign transportability factors of the predominant plutonium mixtures (typically slow) to the Am241. It is argued that the transportability factor for 241Am in sludge likewise should be slow because it exists as a small mass fraction as the ingrown progeny within the uranium oxide in sludge. In this report, the transportability class assignment for 241Am is underpinned with radiochemical characterization data on K Basin sludge and with studies conducted with other irradiated fuel exposed to elevated temperatures and conditions similar to the STP. Key findings and conclusions from evaluation of the characterization data and published literature are summarized here. Plutonium and 241Am make up very small fractions of the uranium within the K Basin sludge matrix. Plutonium is present at about 1 atom per 500 atoms of uranium and 241Am at about 1 atom per 19000 of uranium. Plutonium and americium are found to remain with uranium in the solid phase in all of the {approx}60 samples taken and analyzed from various sources of K Basin sludge. The uranium-specific concentrations of plutonium and americium also remain approximately constant over a uranium concentration range (in the dry sludge solids) from 0.2 to 94 wt%, a factor of {approx}460. This invariability demonstrates that 241Am does not partition from the uranium or plutonium fraction for any characterized sludge matrix. Most of the K Basin sludge characterization data is derived spent nuclear fuel corroded within the K Basins at 10-15?C. The STP process will place water-laden sludges from the K Basin in process vessels at {approx}150-180 C. Therefore, published studies with other irradiated (uranium oxide) fuel were examined. From these studies, the affinity of plutonium and americium for uranium in irradiated UO2 also was demonstrated at hydrothermal conditions (150 C anoxic liquid water) approaching those proposed for the STP process and even for hydrothermal conditions outside of the STP operating envelope (e.g., 150 C oxic and 100 C oxic and anoxic liquid water). In summary, by demonstrating that the chemical and physical behavior of 241Am in the sludge matrix is similar to that of the predominant species (uranium and for the plutonium from which it originates), a technical basis is provided for using the slow uptake transportability factor for 241Am that is currently used for plutonium and uranium oxides. The change from moderate to slow uptake for 241Am could reduce the overall analyzed dose consequences for the STP by more than 30%.

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  • Report No.: PNNL-16018
  • Grant Number: AC05-76RL01830
  • DOI: 10.2172/896346 | External Link
  • Office of Scientific & Technical Information Report Number: 896346
  • Archival Resource Key: ark:/67531/metadc881192

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  • August 1, 2006

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  • Sept. 22, 2016, 2:13 a.m.

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  • Dec. 7, 2016, 11:18 p.m.

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Delegard, Calvin H.; Schmitt, Bruce E. & Schmidt, Andrew J. Transportability Class of Americium in K Basin Sludge under Ambient and Hydrothermal Processing Conditions, report, August 1, 2006; Richland, Washington. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc881192/: accessed August 21, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.