450029 Implementation of Flowsheet Change to Minimize Hydrogen and Ammonia Generation during Chemical Processing of High Level Waste in the Defense Waste Processing Facility

Tuesday, November 15, 2016: 12:55 PM
Sutter (Hilton San Francisco Union Square)
Dan P. Lambert1, J. R. Zamecnik2 and Wesley H. Woodham1, (1)Savannah River National Laboratory, Aiken, SC, (2)Engineering Process Development, Savannah River National Laboratory, Aiken, SC

Testing was completed to develop a chemical processing flowsheet for the Defense Waste Processing Facility (DWPF), designed to vitrify and stabilize high level radioactive waste. DWPF processing uses a reducing acid (formic acid) and an oxidizing acid (nitric acid) to rheologically thin the slurry and complete the necessary acid base and reduction reactions (primarily mercury and manganese). Formic acid reduces mercuric oxide to elemental mercury, allowing the mercury to be removed during the boiling phase of processing through steam stripping. In runs with active catalysts, formic acid can decompose to hydrogen and nitrate can be reduced to ammonia, both flammable gases, due to rhodium and ruthenium catalysis. Replacement of formic acid with glycolic acid eliminates the generation of rhodium- and ruthenium-catalyzed hydrogen and ammonia. In addition, mercury reduction is still effective with glycolic acid. Hydrogen, ammonia and mercury are discussed in the body of the report.

Ten abbreviated tests were completed to develop the operating window for implementation of the flowsheet and determine the impact of changes in acid stoichiometry and the blend of nitric and glycolic acid as it impacts various processing variables over a wide processing region. Three full-length 4-L lab-scale simulations demonstrated the viability of the flowsheet under planned operating conditions. The flowsheet is planned for implementation in early 2017.

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