Molten Salt Processing of Radioactive Waste

Mishra, B. ; Olson, D. L. ; Moore, J. J.
Organization: Society for Mining, Metallurgy & Exploration
Pages: 6
Publication Date: Jan 1, 1995
The production of radioactive and reactive metals, such as plutonium, uses various pyrometallurgical techniques that generate significant quantities of waste salts contaminated with hazardous, reactive or radioactive materials. Health concerns, environmental regulations and economic considerations require proper mitigation processes to recover the valuable components and for recycling or unrestricted release of these salts. The Oxygen Sparging Process converts soluble metal halides, such as chromium-, plutonium-, cerium chlorides, into insoluble oxides and/or oxychlorides which can be consolidated and separated for long-term storage or further processing. The matrix salt phase, viz. calcium and/or alkali chlorides, are clean after oxygen sparging and fit for recycling. This method has been described and its optimized parameters discussed to show that RCRA regulated elements, such as, chromium, lead, cadmium, etc. report to the consolidated phase making the salt recyclable. Salt Scrub Reduction Process for the recovery of radioactive and RCRA metals from the waste salts has been developed. The process uses a Ca-Ga intermetallic alloy which recovers over 98 percent of the reactive metals. The matrix salt phase in this process, viz. calcium or alkali metal chlorides, are clean after salt scrub reduction.
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