September 15, 2020

Mercury Speciation and Quantification of Hanford 241-AP-107 Tank Waste Feed and Treated Samples

Courtney Bottenus
Matthew Fountain
Shirmir Branch
Gary Gill
Jordana Wood


This report describes the second phase of a multi year project to adapt and develop an analytical technique for the low-level determination of total mercury (HgT), elemental mercury (Hg0), and monomethyl mercury (MeHg, hereafter referred to as methyl mercury) in Hanford tank waste. The focus of Phase II was to quantify the mercury (Hg) species total, elemental, and methyl mercury from a raw sample and treated (i.e., filtered and cesium-decontaminated) waste samples originating from Hanford waste tank 241-AP 107. The focus of Phase I work was to determine if mercury species can be preconcentrated from aqueous Hanford tank waste solution onto a solid adsorbent while simultaneously eliminating or very significantly reducing the parent radionuclide activity. This was demonstrated by developing protocols for the preparation, separation, and collection of total mercury and methyl mercury onto solid adsorbents, then measuring the adsorbents for radiological content at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory’s (PNNL’s) Radiochemical Processing Laboratory (RPL) on the Hanford Site. During Phase II, the Hanford tank waste material was preserved, separated (through distillation or digestion), then collected as either solid adsorbents or into liquid distillate form at the RPL and transferred to the PNNL Marine Sciences Laboratory (MSL) in Sequim, Washington, for analysis and quantification. Quantification of total, elemental, and methyl mercury was conducted under radiological control at the MSL using the ultra trace analytical capabilities available there.

Revised: September 15, 2020 | Published: December 30, 2019


Bottenus C., M.S. Fountain, S.D. Branch, G.A. Gill, and J.R. Wood. 2019. Mercury Speciation and Quantification of Hanford 241-AP-107 Tank Waste Feed and Treated Samples. PNNL-29555. Richland, WA: Pacific Northwest National Laboratory.