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Western Europe

Germany

Both the U.S. and Germany have active research and development programs underway in the field of radioactive waste management. Under a Project Agreement signed between the U.S. DOE’s National Transportation Program and the Federal Institute for Material Research and Testing of the Federal Republic of Germany on May 12, 1998, the National Transportation Program, EM-76 engaged in a cooperation and technical information exchange to evaluate the safety and efficiency of radioactive materials transport. The objective of this Project Agreement is to establish a framework for cooperation and technical assistance related to activities on transportation requirements in the field of management of radioactive waste. The successful implementation of this Project Agreement will result in furtherance of both countries’ mutual interest in increasing the effectiveness of their respective packaging and transportation research and development programs in the field of management of radioactive waste. The Project Agreement focuses on fracture mechanics design methodology, seals and other closure mechanisms, risk assessment, Decontamination and Decommissioning of nuclear facilities, and thermal and structural analyses.

Contact: K. Kelkenberg, EM-76, 301/903-8113 or Ashok Kapoor, NTPA, 505/845-4574

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United Kingdom

EM-50 has contracted through the United Kingdom Atomic Energy Authority (UKAEA), with AEA Technology, Inc. to jointly identify, modify, and demonstrate technology and processes in the U.S. AEA Technology has been tasked with evaluating their operating program for applicability to the U.S. waste cleanup program. Utilizing their broad experience in nuclear waste programs, AEA Technology and EM-50 Focus Areas have successfully identified and deployed several technologies supporting high-level waste tanks and D&D. Projects of special note include:

  • Fluidic Pulse Jet Mixer
    Successful modification of the AEA Technology Pulse Jet Mixer has allowed the Oak Ridge site to empty the tanks described above in preparation for closure. The first closure demonstration at Oak Ridge will be conducted in 2000.

    In 1997, AEA Technology's fluidic pulse jet mixer pump was installed in Bethel Valley Evaporator Service Tanks (BVESTS) W-21, W-22, and W-23 at the Oak Ridge Reservation. By modifying the industrial mixing pump to use the BVESTs existing tank infrastructure, money did not need to be spent on building new tank infrastructure. Also, no moving parts were introduced into the tank, reducing the amount of required maintenance. Once the waste was mixed, it was pumped to the Melton Valley Storage Tanks, to be stored until it is treated and disposed. Overall, about 32,000 gallons of sludge were mobilized and pumped from these BVESTs.

    In February 1999, the Pulse Jet Mixer was deployed in BVEST C-1, and removed all but about 150 gallons of sludge. The mixer's charge vessels were then moved to BVEST C-2 and the system completed mobilization and retrieval activities there in March 1999. In each case, the waste was mobilized and pumped to W-23, where the original mixing system kept the waste agitated for retrieval and transfer to the Melton Valley storage tanks for storage/disposal. The mixer's air control system and external are being moved to the new Melton Valley Capacity Increase Tanks, where a new charge system will be installed to assist in future retrieval of those tanks.

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  • Salt Kinetics
    AEA Technology is doing salt precipitation laboratory studies and modeling to allow us to understand how and why solids form during processing. This is important in understanding why the drain line for the Savannah River Site (SRS) evaporator plugged, and to understand the line pluggage at Hanford. The Tanks Focus Area Technical Advisory Group (TAG) recommended the AEA Technology work be rescoped from dissolving the sludge to precipitation from the liquid, and the resulting studies have been quite useful. AEA Technology is writing a report currently, due the end of April, of the work to date, where they are applying the FACSIMILE model to the data to understand the precipitation kinetics. TFA is conducting a gate review of this work at a review at Oak Ridge May 19, 1999. For FY2000, we plan to use AEA Technology to assist in modeling the line plug at SRS, and to model the phosphate system at Hanford.

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  • SRS Pump Tank Mixer
    EM-50’s Tanks Focus Area has teamed with the Accelerated Site Technology Deployment Program to deploy an AEA Technology pneumatic mixer into "small" pump tanks at the Savannah River Site in 1999. The pump tanks are an intermediate stage in the waste transfer process – waste is pumped out of the large storage tanks and into the smaller tanks (hence, "small pump tanks") before being transferred again for treatment and disposal. The site's baseline mixers for the pump tanks used propellers, which were not keeping the waste mixed as thoroughly as desired. This resulted in a layer of heavy sludge buildup on the bottom of the tank. Through the AEA Technology support in 1998, a prototype mixer was demonstrated to keep the waste agitated prior to transfer. An AEA Technology full-scale pump tank mixer has now been delivered to the site and is undergoing operational testing.

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  • Immobilization Options
    AEA Technology is investigating immobilization options used in the UK for application to U.S. waste disposal requirements. The goal of this work is to demonstrate a preferred immobilization option for a specific radioactive waste stream. AEA Technology is conducting initial formulation trials with Idaho wastes to examine the viability of cement solidification as an alternative to vitrification, especially where radionuclides with long half-lives are not an issue. The information derived from these trials will demonstrate technical feasibility and will allow preliminary process flowsheets to be developed.

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  • Nested Fluidic Sampler
    A feasibility demonstration is planned for AEA Technology's Nested Fixed Depth Fluidic Sampler to determine its potential application to the Hanford Site's double-shell tanks. The nested sampler is being developed in 1999 to support feed staging and waste treatment activities at the Hanford Site. The nested sampler predecessor, the single point sampler, was successfully deployed in a Savannah River Site tank in September 1998. The nested fluidic sampler design reduces maintenance concerns, and allows remote transfer of waste samples, protecting operators from receiving little, if any, dose. A 30% design review of the fluidic sampler is a TFA FY1999 key deliverable. Planned for deployment in 2003, the AEA Technology's nested sampler is in integral part of a planned waste sampling, at-tank analysis, and transfer system at the Hanford Site.

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

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Work for Others Projects with the United Kingdom

Background

The United Kingdom Atomic Energy Authority (UKAEA) is responsible for the management and operation of the United Kingdom’s nuclear research facilities. As a result of its research efforts, the UKAEA has identified numerous sites with radiological contamination. The UKAEA is interested in better understanding the type, concentration and distribution of this contamination.

The Idaho National Engineering and Environmental Laboratory (INEEL) has developed the capability and state-of-the-art equipment to obtain real-time, densely spaced, in situ characterization data of various radionuclides and contaminants. INEEL’s Remedial

Action Monitoring System (RAMS) consists of enhanced sensor technology, measurement modeling and interpretation techniques, and a suite of deployment platforms.

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UKAEA RAMS Demonstration

The UKAEA has requested a demonstration of the INEEL RAMS at the UKAEA Dounreay and Harwell sites. The INEEL team will conduct four individual field radiation surveys involving two unique sites at each facility. Each survey will involve an area encompassing approximately 100 X 100 meters. INEEL will operate its RAMS on-site with the most appropriate radiological sensor(s) for the selected sites. While the RAMS is performing its non-intrusive, in situ mapping routine, UKAEA representatives will be able to view, real-time, the data collected in the area of investigation on a monitor at the remote workstation. The INEEL will generate post-processed distribution maps within minutes after the data collection process is complete.

Contact: Elizabeth O’Malley, EM-54, 202/586-0175

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