The Processing of Simulated High-Level Radioactive Waste Sludges Containing Nitrites and Mercury

by J. R. Zamecnik, Westinghouse Savannah River Co, Aiken, United States,
N. D. Hutson, Westinghouse Savannah River Co, Aiken, United States,
J. A. Ritter, Westinghouse Savannah River Co, Aiken, United States,
J. T. Carter, Westinghouse Savannah River Co, Aiken, United States,



Document Type: Proceeding Paper

Part of: High Level Radioactive Waste Management 1991

Abstract: The reaction of formic acid with simulated alkaline sludge containing mercury and nitrite was studied in an engineering-scale facility. Quantification of offgas production was performed, with the major offgases being CO2 and NOx. A small amount of CO was also found. The NOx was scrubbed in the offgas condenser and formed very acidic solutions of nitrous and nitric acids. These acids dissolved mercury that was stripped from the sludge. However, the overall efficiency of mercury stripping was greater than expected, and the final mercury concentration in the sludge was lower than expected. The NOx in the offgas also caused large temperature rises in the offgas system due to the exothermic reaction of NO with O2. This temperature rise had a detrimental effect on the performance of the Formic Acid Vent Condenser, such that redesign is being contemplated.

Subject Headings: Sludge | Mercury (chemical) | Radioactive wastes | Nitrites | Acids | Industrial wastes | Ventilation | Temperature effects | Alkalinity | North America | Colorado | United States

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