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Recovery of the Complexing Agent from Radioactive Waste

#B-648


Researches of Methods and Development of the Technology for Recovery of the Complexing Agent – Oxalic Acid from Used Radioactive Decontamination Solutions

Tech Area / Field

  • ENV-RED/Remediation and Decontamination/Environment
  • ENV-RWT/Radioactive Waste Treatment/Environment
  • ENV-WDS/Waste Disposal/Environment

Status
3 Approved without Funding

Registration date
01.12.2000

Leading Institute
Belorussian State Polytechnic Academy, Belarus, Minsk

Collaborators

  • University of Cincinnati, USA, OH, Cincinnati\nRoskilde University, Denmark, Roskilde\nENVIROS Knowledge Innovation Solutions, UK, Leics, Melton Mowbray

Project summary

The purpose of the project is the development of technology for the reclamation of a complexing agent (oxalic acid) from radioactive waste decontamination solutions.

Decontamination solutions are applied to liquidate radioactive infection of the environment. At present the cementing of waste in blocks reclaims low and average active waste decontamination solutions. These cement blocks are subject to burial in repositories. However, after only 19 months of aging, the leaching of sour soils is 10-3 g/cm2 per day for 137Cs and 90Sr, which constitutes about 1% of the 90Sr and more than 3% of 137Cs.

The authors of the project offer another approach for the reuse of waste decontamination solutions. Since water constitutes about 80% of these solutions, it is deemed more expedient to clear the water of surface-active substances, complexing agents and radionuclides, thus allowing the water to be recovered for re-use.

This work is important and necessary not only for Belarus and the countries, whose territories have been subjected to radioactive contamination, but also for scientists and engineers of the countries where cheaper electric power is produced at atomic power stations. The problem of reliable, inexpensive, compact burial of radioactive wastes remains both vital and urgent. Minor breakdowns occur relatively frequently during maintenance of all Nuclear Power Plants and technologies should be in place to quickly, safely and cheaply eradicate the consequences of breakdowns and radioactive contamination leakage, and to reclaim dangerous wastes containing complexing agents with a minimum effect on the environment.

Project implementation will help to reduce the volume of liquid radioactive wastes by 80%. No more than 15-20% of the original amount of radioactive decontamination solutions is currently deemed suitable for direct burial in repositories. In addition, implementation of the proposed project will help to ensure a safer and cheaper storage procedure and more reliable fixing of radionuclides. The results will be patented.

The cost of compacting the radioactive decontamination solutions to 15-20% of their initial volume is much less than the cost of new repository construction. What is more, the number and capacity of the repositories cannot be increased ad infinitum. Other uses of the technology, proposed for development, are possible with only relatively minor modifications. For example, it is possible to modify the technology for reclamation of surface-active substances not only from radioactive wastes, but also for the reclamation of floatation solutions, used for mineral benefaction and also at surface-active substance reclamation from municipal waste sources.

In comparison with known methods of radioactive waste reclamation, the proposed technology will enable the reclamation of sufficiently large volumes of radioactive decontamination solutions. The proposed technology does not require special, particularly complex equipment, it is not as labor consuming as, for example, compacting wastes in ceramics, it enables the reduction of costs by up to 70 %, and it is relatively simple and accessible.

The Project will be performed by one institution - BSPA. Duration of the project is 24 months.


The Project includes the following stages:
· Analyses, comparison and testing for the development of possible combinations of proposed and potential methods, involving the use of complexing agents for the reclamation of radioactive decontamination solutions.
· Development of the optimal procedure for quantitative analysis of the complexing agents needed for the decontamination of radioactive wastes.
· Development of the technology for reclamation of complexing agent from radioactive decontamination wastes.
· Testing of the developed technology for actual radioactive decontamination solutions.

Project participants are scientists and specialists in fields connected with the production and development of weapons and in the environmentally-safe treatment of radioactive waste. They have considerable experience and very high qualifications. Many of them have doctoral degrees in chemical and technical sciences.


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