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.
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.
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.
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
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.