HIGH ASPECT RATIO ION EXCHANGE RESIN BED - HYDRAULIC RESULTS FOR SPERICAL RESIN BEADS Page: 1 of 30
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High Aspect Ratio Ion Exchange Resin Bed - Hydraulic Results
for Spherical Resin Beads
Mark R. Duignan, Charles A. Nash, Timothy M. Punch
Savannah River National Laboratory, Aiken, SC, USA
Abstract: A principal role of the DOE Savannah River Site is to safely dispose of a large
volume of liquid nuclear waste held in many storage tanks. An in-tank ion exchange unit is
being considered for cesium removal to accelerate waste processing. This unit is planned to have
a relatively high bed height to diameter ratio (10:1). Complicating the design is the need to cool
the ion exchange media; therefore, the ion exchange column will have a central cooling core
making the flow path annular. To separate cesium from waste the media being considered is
made of resorcinol formaldehyde resin deposited on spherical plastic beads and is a substitute for
a previously tested resin made of crystalline silicotitanate. This spherical media not only has an
advantage of being mechanically robust, but, unlike its predecessor, it is also reusable, that is,
loaded cesium can be removed through elution and regeneration. Resin regeneration leads to
more efficient operation and less spent resin waste, but its hydraulic performance in the planned
ion exchange column was unknown. Moreover, the recycling process of this spherical resorcinol
formaldehyde causes its volume to significantly shrink and swell. To determine the spherical
media's hydraulic demand a linearly scaled column was designed and tested. The waste
simulant used was prototypic of the wastes' viscosity and density. This paper discusses the
hydraulic performance of the media that will be used to assist in the design of a full-scale unit.
Keywords: Small Column Ion Exchange, Resorcinol Formaldehyde, Spherical Resin, Cesium
The Savannah River National Laboratory (SRNL) assisted the Savannah River Site (SRS) Tank
Farm to determine the pressure drop that can be expected in a high aspect ratio ion exchange
(IX) column (1). This process unit will be used to remove cesium from alkaline high-sodium
wastes, referred to as waste feed or simply feed, in several SRS tanks. The IX column is called
the Small Column IX (SCIX), and was originally designed to use a resin made of crystalline
silicotitanate (CST) (2). The SCIX is now being evaluated for another type of resin made of
resorcinol formaldehyde that is deposited on spherical plastic beads (spherical RF or SRF).
Much of the past IX work done at SRNL has been limited to aspect ratios (bed height to bed
diameter) of about one (3). However, the current plan is to remove cesium from several SRS
waste tanks with an IX column in-situ that needs a tall column and to use of SRF resin instead of
CST. The column will have an inside diameter of 0.69 m and the needed height is being
investigated with computer modeling and this hydraulic test. In theory, the column could be
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Duignan, M; Charles Nash, C & Timothy Punch, T. HIGH ASPECT RATIO ION EXCHANGE RESIN BED - HYDRAULIC RESULTS FOR SPERICAL RESIN BEADS, article, September 27, 2007; [Aiken, South Carolina]. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc884417/m1/1/: accessed December 11, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.