Description: Archimedes Technology Group, Inc., is developing a plasma mass separator called the Archimedes Filter that separates waste oxide mixtures ion by ion into two mass groups: light and heavy. For the first time, it is feasible to separate large amounts of material atom by atom in a single pass device. Although vacuum ion based electromagnetic separations have been around for many decades, they have traditionally depended on ion beam manipulation. Neutral plasma devices, on the other hand, are much easier, less costly, and permit several orders of magnitude greater throughput. The Filter has many potential applications in areas where separation of species is otherwise difficult or expensive. In particular, radioactive waste sludges at Hanford have been a particularly difficult issue for pretreatment and immobilization. Over 75% of Hanford HLW oxide mass (excluding water, carbon, and nitrogen) has mass less than 59 g/mol. On the other hand, 99.9% of radionuclide activity has mass greater than 89 g/mol. Therefore, Filter mass separation tuned to this cutoff would have a dramatic effect on the amount of IHLW produced--in fact IHLW would be reduced by a factor of at least four. The Archimedes Filter is a brand new tool for the separations specialist's toolbox. In this paper, we show results that describe the extent to which the Filter separates ionized material. Such results provide estimates for the potential advantages of Filter tunability, both in cutoff mass (electric and magnetic fields) and in degree of ionization (plasma power). Archimedes is now engaged in design and fabrication of its Demonstration Filter separator and intends on performing a full-scale treatment of Hanford high-level waste surrogates. The status of the Demo project will be described.
Date: February 26, 2002
Creator: Gilleland, J.; Agnew, S.; Cluggish, B.; Freeman, R.; Miller, R.; Putvinski, S. et al.
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