February 15, 2024

Sludge Processing Options for early HLW Treatment at Hanford


The U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Hanford Site has 177 underground storage tanks that contain wastes from past nuclear fuel reprocessing and waste-management operations. Over 20% of this waste is in the form of an insoluble sludge that will require solids concentration and washing prior to vitrification for long-term disposal. An assessment of potential flowsheet operations to support feed preparation activities prior to high level waste (HLW) vitrification has been conducted to better evaluate pretreatment processing options. Settling studies assessing the baseline approach of a settle-decant method were explored as well as a crossflow filtration system to be used alternatively for concentrating and washing HLW sludge. Significant variations in behavior of settling rates and sludge characteristics give reason to evaluate alternative pretreatment options for the HLW. Non-radioactive sludge containing iron oxide, boehmite, and gibbsite were evaluated via gravity settling and crossflow filtration to determine the behavior of these compounds in various tank waste matrices. Understanding the predictive capabilities of HLW solids settling as well as sludge concentration via crossflow filtration can help provide technical guidance during flowsheet planning.

Published: February 15, 2024


Westesen A.M., A.N. Williams, R.A. Peterson, and C. Burns. 2022. Sludge Processing Options for early HLW Treatment at Hanford Richland, WA: Pacific Northwest National Laboratory.

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