May 24, 2023

Vitrification of Hanford Tank 241-AP-101 Waste and Simulant


Hanford tank 241-AP-101 (referred to herein as AP-101) is the second Hanford radioactive tank waste planned to be processed and vitrified. A simulant version of AP 101 waste was formulated from the best-basis inventory (BBI) for the Hanford Tank 241-AP-101 liquid with an assumed target dilution of the waste from the BBI sodium molarity of 8.61 M to the desired 5.5 M Na. After the addition of glass-forming chemicals (GFCs), the simulant melter feed was processed in a non-radioactive, continuous laboratory-scale melter (CLSM) system. The AP-101 simulant melter feed was charged into the CLSM for 6.11 h of processing, which produced 6.55 kg of glass, for an average glass production rate of 2275 kg m¬2 d 1. Since there were no processing issues with the AP-101 simulant melter feed, AP-101 melter feed made with actual waste was then processed in a CLSM system built into a contamination area in a radioactive environment. The melting behavior characteristics appeared similar for both the simulant and waste melter feeds. The AP-101 waste melter feed was charged into the CLSM for 12.14 h of processing, which produced 8.75 kg of glass, for an average glass production rate of 1530 kg m¬2 d 1. During the AP-101 waste melter feed charging, the pump used to move the feed reached a maximum and it is believed that if the pump had a greater capacity, a greater average glass production rate could have been achieved. A constituent of interest present in low quantities in the AP-101 waste is 99Tc or its non-radioactive surrogate, Re, added to the AP-101 simulant. Analysis for the quantities of 99Tc and Re in the AP-101 glass product resulted in an average single-pass retention from the melter feed during relative chemical steady state of 55 ± 2 % for 99Tc and 45 ± 2 % for Re. Compared to the processing of other melter feeds, the retention of 99Tc in the AP-101 glass was greater than in both AP-107 and AP-105 glass, while the retention of Re in the AP-101 was less than in the AP-107 glass, but greater than in the AP-105 glass. A spike of I was added into the AP-101 melter feed that could be detected above the analysis detection limits. However, the iodine was only detectable above the ~6 ppm limit in one glass pour: the pour immediately following the burn off of the cold cap, where the I level reached ~30 ppm. This event was significant because the glass was poured immediately after burn off and thus it is presumed that the iodine had yet to volatilize from the glass melt while idling. It is recommended to perform future tests with I spikes at greater levels so that it can be detected in additional glass pours to determine if the expected 50 % retention of I used in the Kim et al. glass models can be confirmed. Offgas liquid samples were analyzed for acetonitrile, which was present at greater concentrations in CLSM liquids than in other scaled melter systems. This result was expected based on unique conditions with the CLSM system including a small plenum space leading to low residence time for offgas and the rapidity of offgas cooling upon exiting the CLSM vessel due to the location and environment. About 90 % of the total acetonitrile captured during both the AP-101 simulant and waste CLSM runs was found in the offgas condensate and demister liquids, thus it is recommended that only those liquids be sent for analysis if future testing to study the presence of acetonitrile in offgas products is desired.

Published: May 24, 2023


Dixon D.R., J.B. Lang, M.A. Hall, C.M. Stewart, D.A. Cutforth, W.C. Eaton, and J. Marcial, et al. 2022. Vitrification of Hanford Tank 241-AP-101 Waste and Simulant Richland, WA: Pacific Northwest National Laboratory.