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Treatment of Spent Acidic Decontaminants With a High-Efficiency Cementation Method

[+] Author Affiliations
Kou-Ming Lin, Ching-Tu Chang, Ming-Shin Wu, Wen-Chen Lee, Jen-Chieh Chung, Tsong-Yang Wei

Institute of Nuclear Energy Research, Lungtan, Taoyuan, Taiwan

Paper No. ICEM2011-59063, pp. 1521-1524; 4 pages
doi:10.1115/ICEM2011-59063
From:
  • ASME 2011 14th International Conference on Environmental Remediation and Radioactive Waste Management
  • ASME 2011 14th International Conference on Environmental Remediation and Radioactive Waste Management, Parts A and B
  • Reims, France, September 25–29, 2011
  • Conference Sponsors: Nuclear Engineering Division and Environmental Engineering Division
  • ISBN: 978-0-7918-5498-3
  • Copyright © 2011 by ASME

abstract

Metal scrap is a major waste generated from the decommissioning of nuclear facilities. Through a decontamination process, most of the metal scraps can be cleaned to meet the clearance levels, which can then be reused or released according to the regulatory procedure. Usually, chemical processes will be used in the cleaning step. Phosphoric acid and fluoroboric acid are the typical chemicals used for decontamination. Although the decontaminant could be reused multiple times after regeneration, its decontamination efficiency would decrease after 3 to 5 cycles. In addition, the radioactive nuclides such as Cs-137 are not easily removed during the regeneration process; it tends to accumulate slowly in the decontaminant. According to the ALARA principle, decontaminant must be replaced if its radioactive activity exceeds the regulatory levels. As a result, a significant amount of spent strong acid solution would be generated. The conventional way of treatment is to neutralize the acid solution with an alkaline solution. However, such method will produce a large amount of sludge that requires further stabilization, which offsets the advantages of metal decontamination by use of the decontaminant. A high-efficiency solidification method has been developed and used to treat the spent phosphoric acid and fluoroboric acid solution in Institute of Nuclear Energy Research (INER). The self-polymerization nature of highly concentrated phosphoric acid is adopted to immobilize the radioactive nuclides. The volume of solidified form is almost equal to that of the treated acid solution. The waste form demonstrates its quality by compression test and leaching test. This cementation process is an excellent method to minimize the secondary waste, which is generated from chemical decontamination for treating metal waste.

Copyright © 2011 by ASME

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