Description: This study assessed chemical treatment options for decomposing the tetraphenylborate in High Level Waste (HLW) Tank 48H. Tank 48H, located at the Savannah River Site in Aiken, SC, contains approximately one million liters of HLW. The tetraphenylborate slurry represents legacy material from commissioning of an In Tank Precipitation process to separate radioactive cesium and actinides from the nonradioactive chemicals. During early operations, the process encountered an unplanned chemical reaction that catalytically decomposed the excess tetraphenylborate producing benzene. Subsequent research indicated that personnel could not control the operations within the existing equipment to both meet the desired treatment rate for the waste and maintain the benzene concentration within allowable concentrations. Since then, the Department of Energy selected an alternate treatment process for handling high-level waste at the site. However, the site must destroy the tetraphenylborate before returning the tank to HLW service. The research focuses on identifying treatments to decompose tetraphenylborate to the maximum extent feasible, with a preference for decomposition methods that produce carbon dioxide rather than benzene. A number of experiments examined whether the use of oxidants, catalysts or acids proved effective in decomposing the tetraphenylborate. Additional experiments developed an understanding of the solid, liquid and gas decomposition products.
Date: March 11, 2003
Creator: Lambert, D.P.
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