(18j) Defense Waste Processing Facility Recycle Stream Evaporation
AIChE Spring Meeting and Global Congress on Process Safety
Monday, April 24, 2006 - 10:15am to 10:30am
The Defense Waste Processing Facility (DWPF) at the Savannah River Site (SRS) stabilizes high level radioactive waste (HLW) by vitrification of the waste slurries. DWPF currently produces approximately five gallons of dilute recycle for each gallon of waste vitrified. This recycle stream is currently sent to the HLW tank farm at SRS where it is processed through the HLW evaporators with the concentrate eventually sent back to the DWPF for stabilization. Limitations of the HLW evaporators and storage space constraints in the tank farm have the potential to impact the operation of the DWPF and could limit the rate that HLW is stabilized. After an evaluation of various alternatives, installation of a dedicated evaporator for the DWPF recycle stream was selected for further evaluation.
The recycle stream consists primarily of process condensates from the pretreatment and vitrification processes. Other recycle streams consist of process samples, sample line flushes, sump flushes, and cleaning solutions from the decontamination and filter dissolution processes. The condensate from the vitrification process contains some species, such as sulfate, that are not appreciably volatile at low temperature and could accumulate in the system if 100% of the evaporator concentrate was returned to DWPF. These species are currently removed as required by solids washing in the tank farm. The cleaning solutions are much higher in solids content than the other streams and are generated 5-6 times per year.
The proposed evaporator would be required to concentrate the recycle stream by a factor of 30 to allow the concentrate to be recycled directly to the DWPF process, with a purge stream sent to the tank farm as required to prevent buildup of sulfate and similar species in the process. The overheads are required to meet stringent constraints to allow the condensate to be sent directly to an effluent treatment plant. The proposed evaporator would nearly de-couple the DWPF process from the tank farm by eliminating all recycle transfers to the tank farm except a small purge stream.
Non-radioactive simulant testing, computer modeling, and radioactive tests with samples of the DWPF recycle streams were conducted to evaluate the feasibility evaporation of the recycle stream and to identify issues with operation of the evaporator. The evaluation determined that the operation of a dedicated recycle evaporator is feasible, but some technical and operational issues must be resolved. These issues are incorporation of the higher solids from the cleaning solution, foaming during the evaporation process, and higher than acceptable levels of mercury, nitrate, I-129, and organic carbon in the condensate for some of the potential recycle streams.
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