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First Results of In-Can Microwave Processing Experiments for Radioactive Liquid Wastes at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory*

  • T. L. White (a1), E. L. Youngblood (a1), J. B. Berry (a1) and A. J. Mattus (a1)


The Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) Waste Handling and Packaging Plant is developing a microwave process to reduce and solidify remote-handled transuranic (RH-TRU) liquids and sludges presently stored in large tanks at ORNL. Testing has recently begun on an in-drum microwave process using nonradioactive RH-TRU surrogates. The microwave process development effort has focused on an in-drum process to dry the RH-TRU liquids and sludges in the final storage container and then melt the salt residues to form a solid monolith. A 1/3-scale proprietary microwave applicator was designed, fabricated, and tested to demonstrate the essential features of the microwave design and to provide input into the design of the fullscale applicator. Conductivity cell measurements suggest that the microwave energy heats near the surface of the surrogate over a wide range of temperatures. The final wasteform meets the waste acceptance criteria for the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant, a federal repository for defense transuranic wastes near Carlsbad, New Mexico.



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Research sponsored by the Office of Defense Waste and Transportation Management, U.S. Department of Energy, under contract DE-AC05-84OR21400 with Martin Marietta Energy Systems Inc.



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1. TURNER, D. W., BERRY, J. B., MOORE, J. W., and LENNON, D. L., “An Overview of the ORNL Waste Handling and Packaging Plant,” Waste Management '90, Tucson, Arizona, February 25-March 1, 1990, Arizona Board of Regents (1990).
2. TILLMAN, J. B., “Meeting the Challenge of Radioactive Waste Disposal at the WIPP,” Waste Management '89, Tucson, Arizona, February 26-March 1, 1989, Vol. 1, p. 209, Arizona Boards of Regents (1989).
3. “TRU Waste Certification Compliance Requirements for Remote-Handled Wastes for Shipment to the WIPP,” WIPP-DOE-158, UC-70, September 1985.
4. BERRY, J. B., BLOOD, E. L. YOUNG-, SHOR, J. T., WALKER, J. F., WHITE, T. L., and MA'ITUS, A. J., “Engineering Development of Processing Methods for Remotely-Handled Transuranic Sludge at Oak Ridge National Laboratory,” Waste Management '90, Tucson, Arizona, February 25-March 1, 1990, Arizona Board of Regents (1990).
5. WHITE, T. L., PETERSON, R. D., and JOHNSON, A. J., “Microwave Processing of Remote-Handled Transuranic Wastes at Oak Ridge National Laboratory,” Waste Management '89, Tucson, Arizona, February 25-March 1, 1989, Vol. 1, p. 263, Arizona Board of Regents (1989).
6. SUTTON, W. H., ed., Microwave Processing of Materials. Proceedings of the 124th Symposium of the Materials Research Society. p. 33, Publishers Choice, Mars, Pennsylvania (1988).
7. Ref. 5, op. cit.


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