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Pollution Prevention Through Recycling at the SNL/NM Classified Waste Landfill Project

Description: Typical Laboratory testing of Polycrystalline Diamond Compact (PDC) bits is performed on relatively rigid setups. Even in hard rock, PDC bits exhibit reasonable life using such testing schemes. Unfortunately, field experience indicates otherwise. In this paper, they show that introducing compliance in testing setups, provides better simulation of actual field conditions. Using such a scheme, they show that chatter can be severe even in softer rock, such as sandstone, and very destructive to the cutters in hard rock, such as sierra white granite.
Date: November 9, 1999
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Process Knowledge Characterization of Radioactive Waste at the Classified Waste Landfill Remediation Project Sandia National Laboratories, Albuquerque, New Mexico

Description: This paper discusses the development and application of process knowledge (PK) to the characterization of radioactive wastes generated during the excavation of buried materials at the Sandia National Laboratories/New Mexico (SNL/NM) Classified Waste Landfill (CWLF). The CWLF, located in SNL/NM Technical Area II, is a 1.5-acre site that received nuclear weapon components and related materials from about 1950 through 1987. These materials were used in the development and testing of nuclear weapon designs. The CWLF is being remediated by the SNL/NM Environmental Restoration (ER) Project pursuant to regulations of the New Mexico Environment Department. A goal of the CWLF project is to maximize the amount of excavated materials that can be demilitarized and recycled. However, some of these materials are radioactively contaminated and, if they cannot be decontaminated, are destined to require disposal as radioactive waste. Five major radioactive waste streams have been designated on the CWLF project, including: unclassified soft radioactive waste--consists of soft, compatible trash such as paper, plastic, and plywood; unclassified solid radioactive waste--includes scrap metal, other unclassified hardware items, and soil; unclassified mixed waste--contains the same materials as unclassified soft or solid radioactive waste, but also contains one or more Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) constituents; classified radioactive waste--consists of classified artifacts, usually weapons components, that contain only radioactive contaminants; and classified mixed waste--comprises radioactive classified material that also contains RCRA constituents. These waste streams contain a variety of radionuclides that exist both as surface contamination and as sealed sources. To characterize these wastes, the CWLF project's waste management team is relying on data obtained from direct measurement of radionuclide activity content to the maximum extent possible and, in cases where direct measurement is not technically feasible, from accumulated PK of the excavated materials.
Date: November 3, 1999
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Cost-Effective Remediation of Depleted Uranium (DU) at Environmental Restoration Sites

Description: Numerous sites in the United States and around the world are contaminated with depleted uranium (DU) in various forms. A prevalent form is fragmented DU originating from various scientific tests involving high explosives and DU during weapon-development programs, at firing practice ranges, or in war theaters where DU was used in armor-piercing projectiles. The contamination at these sites is typically very heterogeneous, with discrete, visually identifiable DU fragments mixed with native soil. The bulk-averaged DU activity is quite low, whereas DU fragments, which are distinct from the soil matrix, have much higher specific activity. DU is best known as a dark metal that is nearly twice as dense as lead, but DU in the environment readily weathers (oxidizes) to a distinctive bright yellow color that is quite visible. While the specific activity (amount of radioactivity per mass of soil) of DU is relatively low and presents only a minor radiological hazard, the fact that DU is radioactive and visually identifiable makes it desirable to remove the DU ''contamination'' from the environment. The typical approach to conducting this DU remediation is to use radiation-detection instruments to identify the contaminant and then to separate it from the adjacent soil, packaging it for disposal as radioactive waste. This process can be performed manually or by specialized, automated equipment. Alternatively, a more cost-effective approach might be simple mechanical or gravimetric separation of the DU fragments from the host soil matrix. At SNL/NM, both the automated and simple mechanical approaches have recently been employed. This paper discusses the pros/cons of the two approaches.
Date: November 3, 1999
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department