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Russia

Background

In 1990, the DOE and the Ministry of Atomic Energy for the Russian Federation (MINATOM) signed a [ Memorandum of Cooperation (MOC) in the area of Environmental Restoration and Waste Management ]. The MOC is managed by the Joint Coordinating Committee for Environmental Restoration and Waste Management (JCCEM), which meets annually to determine projects of mutual interest and benefit. Through direct technical exchange with MINATOM institutes, DOE benefits from the expertise of the Russian scientific community at a dramatic cost-saving U.S. labor investment ratio of 20 to 1. Under the auspices of theJCCEM, the best scientists in both countries have come together to share experiences and develop innovative technologies in seven areas: Separations, Characterization, High-Level Waste (HLW) Tanks, Mixed Waste, Decontamination and Decommissioning (D&D), Transuranic (TRU) Stabilization, and Scientist Exchange.

The 8th JCCEM met in Denver, Colorado in September 1998. Recent program successes include deployment of a Russian-developed high capacity pulsating pump in the Oak Ridge Gunite And Associated Tanks. The Federal Energy Technology Center issued a procurement order for two equipment systems in December 1999. In addition, the jointly developed Cobalt Dicarbollide Separations technology is currently under consideration for inclusion in the Idaho Environmental Impact Statement as an alternative to baseline technologies.

The 9th meeting of the JCCEM is scheduled for September 1999.

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Projects Under the JCCEM

Separations

Cobalt Dicarbollide Solvent Extraction

Since 1992, Environmental Management (EM) has contracted with the Khlopin Radium Institute (KRI) to perform an experimental research program on the applicability of a Russian Separations technology, cobalt dicarbollide, to the processing of HLW in the U.S. It has been successfully demonstrated to remove cesium, strontium, and the actinides uranium, plutonium (Pu), americium, and neptunium. Current testing in May 1999 will analyze the waste components to develop a disposal path for the process. The chlorinated solvent extraction process is being evaluated for Idaho sodium-bearing waste, and is being considered for inclusion in the Idaho Environmental Impact Statement as an alternative to baseline technologies. Due to this cooperative technology development program, this technology has been deployed in Russia, and an industrial scale at the Mayak Production Association in Ozersk, Russia. Potential U.S. end-users from the Idaho site plan to visit this facility during a trip to Russia in Spring 1999 to take advantage of the Russian industrial lessons learned.

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Universal Extraction Process

A universal solvent extraction process (UNEX), for the removal of Cs, Sr, and actinides was successfully demonstrated at the Idaho National Engineering and Environmental Laboratory (INEEL) using actual acidic tank waste. The countercurrent flowsheet testing was performed using 24 stages of 2 centimeter diameter centrifugal contactors installed in a shielded hot cell facility. The UNEX process, which is based on a tertiary solvent containing chlorinated cobalt dicarbollide, CMPO, and polyethylene glycol successfully decontaminated the actual tank waste to below NRC Class A LLW criteria. Removal efficiencies obtained for Cs-137, Sr-90, and total alpha were 99.5%, 99.995% and 99.6% respectively. Operational problems, such as precipitate formation or flooding, were not observed during testing. This demonstration is significant in that the acidic tank waste at INTEC could be treated in a single process to remove the major radionuclides as opposed to several separate processes for the removal of cesium, strontium, and the actinides. The demonstration was completed with the participation of five scientists from the Khlopin Radium Institute of St. Petersburg, Russia and one from the Mayak production association in Ozersk, Russia.

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Copper Ferrocyanide Sorbent

Copper Ferrocyanide Sorbent technology has been developed in cooperation with the Institute of Physical Chemistry over the last four years. Since 1995, demonstrations in Idaho have shown its ability to remove cesium and strontium from actual Idaho tank waste. Hot cell tests on Idaho waste were conducted in Spring 1998 at Idaho National Engineering and Environmental Laboratory (INEEL). This project was completed in 1998.

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Actinides in Alkaline Solution

The Institute of Physical Chemistry has been studying actinides in alkaline solution for over 30 years. To increase U.S. expertise on this topic, a senior specialist from the Institute of Physical Chemistry conducted a course at Washington State University in the spring of 1998. Past cooperative work has been related to criticality safety and segregation of low and high-level waste in the disposition of Pu in Hanford tanks. FY1999 projects include the study of chromium in Hanford tank waste, and an additional study of the presence of Technicium in Savannah River tank sludge is planned.

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Crown Ethers Extraction

In 1995, a project was initiated with the Institute of Chemical Technology to study Crown Ethers extraction technology for removal of radionuclides and toxic metals from low and high-level waste, as well as to control the chemical (redox potential) conditions in both alkaline and acidic waste and process solution. It is currently being evaluated to identify potential U.S. site users.

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Contact: Kurt Gerdes, EM-53, 301/903-7289

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Contaminant Transport Migration and Characterization

Chelyabinsk Field Studies

One of the highlights of the work conducted under the JCCEM has been the joint Chelyabinsk field tests on the shores of the Mishelyak river system near Lake Karachai. Lake Karachai was used as an unlined surface repository for liquid radioactive waste from Mayak. Since 1994, teams of EM scientists and engineers have joined their Russian team members in the field to conduct sampling. During the most recent expedition in July 1997, the 3rd Chelyabinsk Field Study, depth discreet samplers were installed to study the discharge of the aqueous contaminant plume into the river system. The data will be analyzed for use in constructing the regional model and will also be published under joint authorship in peer-reviewed scientific and technical journals.

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Tomsk Regional Model in Deep Well Injection Area

Similar to the modeling work at Mayak, a study of contaminant transport migration is being conducted which uses existing data from the Tomsk site to construct a computer model of contaminant migration from deep well injections. The goal of this effort is to test and build confidence in DOE site models to provide risk-based standards for site closure decisions.

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Mayak Regional Model of Contaminant Migration in Fractured Rock

A cooperative project was initiated in 1995 to use contaminant migration data from a Russian site, along with recently collected samples, to construct a three-dimensional regional model of contaminant migration through the fractured rock at Chelyabinsk, near the Mayak Production Association, a former weapons production site. A three-dimensional model was completed in 1998 by Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) in cooperation with Hydrospetzgeologiya in Moscow, Russia.

The knowledge and expertise gained by PNNL modelers while working on the JCCEM project has contributed to the Applied Science and Technology Plan for the Integrated Vadose Zone, Ground Water and River System at the Hanford Site, as well as the Hanford Sitewide Modeling Program. Key processes that have been applied to Hanford modeling include task differentiation, automation of model development from numerical data, and development of software which can quickly evaluate the changes to the conceptual model that occur as changes are made to the input characterization data.

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Contact: Adam Hutter, EML, 212/620-3576

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