LABORATORY OPTIMIZATION TESTS OF TECHNETIUM DECONTAMINATION OF HANFORD WASTE TREATMENT PLANT LOW ACTIVITY WASTE OFF-GAS CONDENSATE SIMULANT
The Hanford Waste Treatment and Immobilization Plant (WTP) Low Activity Waste (LAW) vitrification facility w ill generate an aqueous condensate recycle stream (LAW Off-Gas Condensate) from the off-gas system. The baseline plan for disposition of this stream is to send it to the WTP Pretreatment Facility, where it will be blended with LAW, concentrated by evaporation and recycled to the LAW vitrification facility again. Alternate disposition of this stream would eliminate recycling of
... cling of problematic components, and would enable de-coupled operation of the LAW melter and the Pretreatment Facilities. Eliminating this stream from recycling within WTP would also decrease the LAW vitrification mission duration and quantity of glass waste. This LAW Off-Gas Condensate stream contains components that are volatile at melter temperatures and are problematic for the glass waste form. Because this stream recycles within WTP, these components accumulate in the Condensate stream, exacerbating their impact on the number of LAW glass containers that must be produced. Approximately 32% of the sodium in Supplemental LAW comes from glass formers used to make the extra glass to dilute the halides to acceptable concentrations in the LAW glass, and diverting the stream reduces the halides in the recycled Condensate and is a key outcome of this work. Additionally, under possible scenarios where the LAW vitrification facility commences operation prior to the WTP Pretreatment facility, identifying a disposition path becomes vitally important. T his task examines the potential treatment of this stream to remove radionuclides and subsequently disposition the decontaminated stream elsewhere, such as the Effluent Treatment Facility (ETF), for example. The treatment process envisioned is very similar to that used for the Actinide Removal Process (ARP) that has been operating for years at the Savannah River Site (SRS), and focuses on using mature radionuclide removal technologies that are also compatible with longterm tank storage and immobilization methods. For this new application, testing is needed to demonstrate acceptable treatment sorbents and precipitating agents and measure decontamination factors for additional radionuclides in this unique waste stream. The origin of this LAW Off-Gas Condensate stream will be the liquids from the Submerged Bed Scrubber (SBS) and the Wet Electrostatic Precipitator (WESP) from the LAW melter off-gas system. The stream is expected to be a dilute salt solution with near neutral pH, and will likely contain some insoluble solids from melter carryover. The soluble components are expected to be mostly sodium and ammonium salts of nitrate, chloride, and fluoride. This stream has not been generated yet and will not be available until the WTP begins operation, but a simulant has been produced based on models, calculations, and comparison with pilot-scale tests. One of the radionuclides that is volatile and expected to be in greatest abundance in this LAW Off-Gas Condensate stream is Technetium-99 ( 99 Tc). Technetium will not be removed from the aqueous waste in the Hanford WTP, and will primarily end up immobilized in the LAW glass by repeated recycle of the off-gas condensate into the LAW melter. Other radionuclides that are low but are also expected to be in measurable concentration in the LAW Off-Gas Condensate are 129 I, 90 Sr, 137 Cs, 241 Pu, and 241 Am. These are present due to their partial volatility and some entrainment in the off-gas system. This report discusses results of optimized 99 Tc SRNL-STI-2014-00436 Revision 0 vi decontamination testing of the simulant. Testing examined use of inorganic reducing agents for 99 Tc. Testing focused on minimizing the quantity of sorbents/reactants added, and minimizing mixing time to reach the decontamination targets in this simulant formulation. Stannous chloride and ferrous sulfate were tested as reducing agents to determine the minimum needed to convert soluble pertechnetate to the insoluble technetium dioxide. The reducing agents were tried with and without sorbents. The sorbents, hydroxyapatite and sodium oxalate, were expected to sorb the precipitated technetium dioxide and facilitate removal. The Phase 1 tests examined a broad range of conditions and used the initial baseline simulant (Table ES -1). The Phase 2 tests narrowed the conditions based on Phase 1 results, and used a slightly modified simulant (Table ES -2). Test results indicate that excellent removal of 99 Tc was achieved using SnCl 2 as a reductant, and was effective with or without sorption onto hydroxyapatite. This reaction worked even in the presence of air (which could oxidize the stannous ion) and at room temperature. This process was very effective at neutral pH, with a Decontamination Factor (DF) >199 in one hour with only 1 g/L of SnCl 2 . Prior work had shown that it was much less effective at alkaline pH. The only deleterious effect observed was that the chromium co-precipitates with the 99 Tc during the SnCl 2 reduction. This effect was anticipated, and would have to be considered when managing disposition paths of this stream. Reduction using FeSO 4 was not effective at removing 99 Tc, but did remove the Cr. Chromium is present due to partial volatility and entrainment in the off-gas, and is highly oxidizing, so would be expected to react with reducing agents more quickly than pertechnetate. Testing showed that sufficient reducing agent must be added to completely reduce the chromium before the technetium is reduced and removed. Other radionuclides are also present in this off-gas condensate stream. To enable sending this stream to the Hanford ETF, and thereby divert it from the recycle where it impacts the LAW glass volume, several of these also need to be removed. Samples from optimized conditions were also measured for actinide removal in order to examine the effect of the Tc-removal process on the actinides. Plutonium was also removed by the SnCl 2 precipitation process. Results of this separation testing indicate that sorption/precipitation is a viable concept and has the potential to decontaminate the 99 Tc from the stream, allowing it to be diverted away from WTP and thus eliminating the impact of the recycled halides and sulfate on the LAW glass volume. Based on the results, a possible treatment scenario could involve the use of a reductive precipitation agent (SnCl 2 ) with or without sorbent at neutral pH to remove the Tc. Although hydroxyapatite was not necessary to effect the 99 Tc removal, it may be beneficial in solid-liquid separations. Other testing will examine removal of the other radionuclides. This testing was the second phase of testing, which aimed at optimizing the process by examining the minimum amount of reductant needed and the minimum reaction time. Although results indicated that SnCl 2 was effective, further work on a pH-adjusted Fe(SO 4 ) mixture are needed. Additional tasks are needed to examine removal of the other radionuclides, solid-liquid separation technologies, slurry r heology m easurements, composition variability i mpacts, corrosion and erosion, and slurry storage and immobilization.