Tank Waste and Waste Processing

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The Department has approximately 88 million gallons of liquid waste stored in underground tanks and approximately 4,000 cubic meters of solid waste derived from the liquids stored in bins. The current DOE estimated cost for retrieval, treatment and disposal of this waste exceeds $50 billion to be spent over several decades. The highly radioactive portion of this waste, located at the Hanford Site, Idaho National Laboratory, and Savannah River sites, must be treated and immobilized, and prepared for shipment to a waste repository. Efforts currently focus on improving pre-treatment process to reduce the amount of waste that must be disposed, retrieval technologies, vitrification performance, and breakthrough immobilization technologies.

 

The Defense Waste Processing Facility set a record by producing 267 canisters filled with glassified waste in a year. New bubbler technology and other enhancements will increase canister production in the future.

Currently projects are focusing on:

  • In-tank sludge washing at Hanford
  • Enhanced waste processing at Idaho, Hanford, and Savannah River
  • Disposition of salt waste at Savannah River
  • Low and Medium curie waste pretreatment at Hanford
  • Improved in-situ characterization/monitoring methods at Hanford, Idaho, and Savannah River, and sludge heel retrieval at Savannah River
  • Advanced melter technology at Savannah River and other melter studies

 

 

A Savannah River Remediation employee uses a manipulator located inside a shielded enclosure at the Defense Waste Processing Facility where the melter is pouring molten glass inside a canister.

New Projects will focus on addressing the recommendations from the National Research Council of the National Academies of Sciences Final Report (April 2006) “Tank Waste Retrieval Processing, and On-Site Disposal at Three Department of Energy Sites.” Projects will focus on (1) options for chemical cleaning of tanks; (2) emerging technologies to assist tank-waste removal, including robotic enhancements to current waste retrieval technologies, and (3) near- and long-term performance and monitoring of tank fill materials as they interact with the environment. New projects will also focus on addressing recommendations for improvements from the Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s Technical Evaluation Reports for Savannah River’s and Idaho’s waste determinations under Section 3116 of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2005.

Tank Waste & Waste Processing News

Hanford Completes First 2018 Tank Waste Reduction Campaign
EM’s Office of River Protection and tank operations contractor WRPS completed the first tank waste volume reduction campaign of the year.
May 22, 2018
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Tower Construction to Support Hanford Tank Waste Treatment Facility
Tower Construction to Support Hanford Tank Waste Treatment Facility
May 22, 2018
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Idaho Site Preparing New Demonstration of Waste Treatment Unit
Idaho Site Preparing New Demonstration of Waste Treatment Unit
May 15, 2018
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Hanford Crews Complete First Work Phase for Protective Barrier System
Hanford Crews Complete First Work Phase for Protective Barrier System
May 15, 2018
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Demobilization Activities Progress at Hanford’s C Farm
EM’s ORP and contractor Washington River Protection Solutions continue to make substantial progress demobilizing equipment from Hanford’s C Tank Farm.
May 8, 2018
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Hanford Waste Treatment Plant Hands Over First Facility for Commissioning
WTP passed a major landmark last month toward completion when the first building was transferred to plant management for commissioning.
May 1, 2018
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SRS Workers to Install Technology to Speed Tank Waste Removal
Crews are installing a new technology to remove radioactive waste from underground tanks at the Savannah River Site (SRS).
April 24, 2018
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Powering Up to Support Tank Waste Treatment at Hanford
Startup activities at ORP's WTP received a boost when permanent power was supplied to the Low-Activity Waste (LAW) Facility’s switchgear building.
April 24, 2018
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SRS Celebrates Ten Years of Interim Salt Waste Processing
This month marks the 10th anniversary of radioactive operations for Actinide Removal Process/Modular Caustic Side Solvent Extraction Unit facilities.
April 24, 2018
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Hanford Crews Complete Concrete Walls for WTP Support Building
Structural concrete foundation and wall placements are complete for the Effluent Management Facility (EMF) at Hanford’s WTP.
April 17, 2018
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Technology Readiness Assessments

Technology Readiness Assessment (TRA)/Technology Maturation Plan (TMP) Process Guide

This document is a guide for those involved in conducting TRAs and developing TMPs for DOE-EM.

August 1, 2013
Compilation of TRA Summaries

A compilation of all TRA Summaries

January 1, 2012

Technology Maturation Plans (TMPs)

Technology Maturation Plan (TMP) Wet Air Oxidation (WAO) Technology for Tank 48H Treatment Project (TTP)

This assessment determines the technology maturity level of the candidate Tank 48H treatment technologies that are being considered for...

November 1, 2007
Technology Maturation Plan (TMP) Fluidized Bed Steam Reforming (FBSR) Technology for Tank 48H Treatment Project (TTP)

This assessment determines the technology maturity level of the candidate Tank 48H treatment technologies that are being considered for...

November 1, 2007

External Technical Reviews

External Technical Review

This document has been developed to guide individuals and teams who will be involved in External Technical Reviews (ETR) of U.S. Department of...

November 15, 2012
Compilation of ETR Summaries

ETR Summaries from 2011

September 1, 2011
Peer Review of the ASCEM Program 2010

Full Document and Summary Versions are available for download

September 1, 2011
External Technical Review Report for Small Column Ion Exchange Technology at Savannah River Site

Full Document and Summary Versions are available for download

February 15, 2011

Analysis of Alternatives

Independent Analysis of Alternatives for Disposition of the Idaho Calcined High-Level Waste Inventory Volume 1 - Summary Report

The U.S. Department of Energy Idaho Field Office and the Office of Environmental Management (EM) chartered an independent Analysis of Alternatives...

April 13, 2016

Miscellaneous Supporting Information

Savannah River Site - Salt Waste Processing Facility: Briefing on the Salt Waste Processing Facility Independent Technical Review

This is a presentation outlining the Salt Waste Processing Facility process, major risks, approach for conducting reviews, discussion of the...

January 9, 2007
Savannah River Site - Tank 48 Briefing on SRS Tank 48 Independent Technical Review

This presentation outlines the SRS Tank 48 ITR listing observations, conclusions, and TPB processing.

August 10, 2006
Savannah River Site - Tank 48 Transmittal Letter of SRS Tank 48 Review

This letter reviews the Path Forward for Savannah River Site Tank 48 and outlines best judgment on all issues and recommendations on how to procede.

August 10, 2006