COMPARISON OF OXALIC ACID CLEANING RESULTS AT SRS AND HANFORD AND THE IMPACT ON ENHANCED CHEMICAL CLEANING DEPLOYMENT Page: 2 of 13
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WM2010 Conference, March 7-11, 2010, Phoenix, AZ
January 5, 2010 SRR-LWE-2010-00002
Comparison of Oxalic Acid Cleaning Results at SRS and Hanford and the Impact on
Enhanced Chemical Cleaning Deployment
Renee H. Spires
Savannah River Remediation
Washington River Protection Solutions
Waste tanks must be rendered clean enough to satisfy very rigorous tank closure requirements.
During bulk waste removal, most of the radioactive sludge and salt waste is removed from the
waste tank. The waste residue on the tank walls and interior components and the waste heel at
the bottom of the tank must be removed prior to tank closure to render the tank clean enough to
meet the regulatory requirement for tank closure.
Oxalic acid has been used within the DOE complex to clean residual materials from carbon steel
tanks with varying degrees of success. Oxalic acid cleaning will be implemented at both the
Savannah River Site and Hanford to clean tanks and serves as the core cleaning technology in the
process known as Enhanced Chemical Cleaning. Enhanced Chemical Cleaning also employs a
process that decomposes the spent oxalic acid solutions.
The oxalic acid cleaning campaigns that have been performed at the two sites dating back to the
1980's are compared. The differences in the waste characteristics, oxalic acid concentrations,
flushing, available infrastructure and execution of the campaigns are discussed along with the
impact on the effectiveness of the process. The lessons learned from these campaigns that are
being incorporated into the project for Enhanced Chemical Cleaning are also explored.
SRS stores waste in 49 High Level Waste (HLW) tanks. The old style waste tanks, those
without full secondary containment, must be closed by 2022 per the Federal Facilities Agreement
(FFA) and the waste dispositioned by 2028. The strategy for preparing tanks for closure at SRS
currently consists of two mechanical cleaning methods and one oxalic acid chemical cleaning
Oxalic acid cleaning of tanks was successfully demonstrated through the cleaning of Tank 16 in
the early 1980's. Tanks 5 and 6 were cleaned using large batches of concentrated oxalic acid
similar to the Tank 16 cleaning campaign. This method is also planned for Tank 7. This process
is referred to as bulk oxalic acid cleaning. Although the application of this process has been
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Spires, R. & Ketusky, E. COMPARISON OF OXALIC ACID CLEANING RESULTS AT SRS AND HANFORD AND THE IMPACT ON ENHANCED CHEMICAL CLEANING DEPLOYMENT, article, January 5, 2010; South Carolina. (https://digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc931665/m1/2/: accessed April 22, 2019), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, https://digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.