AIKEN, S.C. – EM has developed a new electronic application capable of reducing by up to 75 percent the time needed to qualify large quantities of radioactive liquid salt waste for decontamination processes.
The application is designed to ensure salt batches meet specific criteria for transfer to the Savannah River Site’s (SRS) Salt Waste Processing Facility (SWPF) when it comes online.
Savannah River Remediation (SRR), EM’s liquid waste contractor at SRS, has been qualifying salt waste batches for future processing. However, that work has been a four-to-six-month process for each batch, which includes creation of a report requiring numerous time-consuming calculations. The new application will be able to reduce the total batch qualification time to approximately one-and-a-half months.
Salt waste processing will significantly increase when SWPF starts up. SRR had been processing about 1 million gallons of salt waste per year with pilot technologies for SWPF. That number is expected to climb to between 6 and 9 million gallons per year when SWPF becomes operational.
Reducing the time needed for qualifying salt waste batches is critical to feeding waste to SWPF. The newly developed application performs those calculations electronically to determine if the waste being analyzed for qualification meets SWPF’s waste acceptance criteria. The application is named eWAC, referencing the acronym for waste acceptance criteria.
SRR Flowsheet and Integration Manager Ryan McNew said the application is another innovation to support SWPF.
“SRR staff will enter the waste batch’s sampling results into eWAC, which will evaluate those results and determine the acceptability of the material to feed to SWPF based on established criteria,” McNew said. “The software will produce a salt batch acceptance report for each set of data entered.”
That report will go to site officials for review and approval before the waste can be transferred.
DOE-Savannah River Assistant Manager for Waste Disposition Jim Folk said that qualification time will be critical to the overall decontamination process.
“When the SWPF begins radioactive operations, it is expected to process much greater quantities of salt waste, which means more batches will be prepared,” Folk said. “Shortening the total qualification time for each batch will help provide a more constant flow through the highly integrated processing system.”
The eWAC application has been tested for readiness and is fully operational. It is expected to be used to qualify the next salt batch that must be evaluated for feed to SWPF by March 2021.