Evaluation of a Mobile Hot Cell Technology for Processing Idaho National Laboratory Remote-Handled Wastes

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The Idaho National Laboratory (INL) currently does not have the necessary capabilities to process all remote-handled wastes resulting from the Laboratory’s nuclear-related missions. Over the years, various U.S. Department of Energy (DOE)-sponsored programs undertaken at the INL have produced radioactive wastes and other materials that are categorized as remote-handled (contact radiological dose rate > 200 mR/hr). These materials include Spent Nuclear Fuel (SNF), transuranic (TRU) waste, waste requiring geological disposal, low-level waste (LLW), mixed waste (both radioactive and hazardous per the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act [RCRA]), and activated and/or radioactively-contaminated reactor components. The waste consists primarily of uranium, plutonium, ... continued below

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Orchard, B.J.; Harvego, L.A.; Miklos, R.P.; Yapuncich, F. & Care, L. March 1, 2009.

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The Idaho National Laboratory (INL) currently does not have the necessary capabilities to process all remote-handled wastes resulting from the Laboratory’s nuclear-related missions. Over the years, various U.S. Department of Energy (DOE)-sponsored programs undertaken at the INL have produced radioactive wastes and other materials that are categorized as remote-handled (contact radiological dose rate > 200 mR/hr). These materials include Spent Nuclear Fuel (SNF), transuranic (TRU) waste, waste requiring geological disposal, low-level waste (LLW), mixed waste (both radioactive and hazardous per the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act [RCRA]), and activated and/or radioactively-contaminated reactor components. The waste consists primarily of uranium, plutonium, other TRU isotopes, and shorter-lived isotopes such as cesium and cobalt with radiological dose rates up to 20,000 R/hr. The hazardous constituents in the waste consist primarily of reactive metals (i.e., sodium and sodium-potassium alloy [NaK]), which are reactive and ignitable per RCRA, making the waste difficult to handle and treat. A smaller portion of the waste is contaminated with other hazardous components (i.e., RCRA toxicity characteristic metals). Several analyses of alternatives to provide the required remote-handling and treatment capability to manage INL’s remote-handled waste have been conducted over the years and have included various options ranging from modification of existing hot cells to construction of new hot cells. Previous analyses have identified a mobile processing unit as an alternative for providing the required remote-handled waste processing capability; however, it was summarily dismissed as being a potentially viable alternative based on limitations of a specific design considered. In 2008 INL solicited expressions of interest from Vendors who could provide existing, demonstrated technology that could be applied to the retrieval, sorting, treatment (as required), and repackaging of INL remote-handled wastes. Based on review of the responses and the potential viability of a mobile hot cell technology, INL subsequently conducted a technology evaluation, including proof-of-process validation, to assess the feasibility of utilizing such a technology for processing INL’s remote-handled wastes to meet established regulatory milestones. The technology evaluation focused on specific application of a mobile hot cell technology to the conditions to be encountered at the INL and addressed details of previous technology deployment, required modifications to accommodate INL’s remote-handled waste, ability to meet DOE safety requirements, requirements for fabrication/construction/decontamination and dismantling, and risks and uncertainties associated with application of the technology to INL’s remote-handled waste. The large capital costs associated with establishing a fixed asset to process INL’s remote-handled waste, the relatively small total volume of waste to be processed when compared to other waste streams through the complex, and competing mission-related needs has made it extremely difficult to secure the necessary support to advance the project. Because of this constraint, alternative contract structures were also explored as part of the technology evaluation wherein the impact of a large capital investment could be lessened.

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  • Waste Management 2009,Phoenix, AZ,03/01/2009,03/05/2009

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  • Report No.: INL/CON-08-15093
  • Grant Number: DE-AC07-99ID-13727
  • Office of Scientific & Technical Information Report Number: 961914
  • Archival Resource Key: ark:/67531/metadc927785

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  • March 1, 2009

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  • Nov. 13, 2016, 7:26 p.m.

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  • Jan. 4, 2017, 2:20 p.m.

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Orchard, B.J.; Harvego, L.A.; Miklos, R.P.; Yapuncich, F. & Care, L. Evaluation of a Mobile Hot Cell Technology for Processing Idaho National Laboratory Remote-Handled Wastes, article, March 1, 2009; [Idaho]. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc927785/: accessed November 18, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.