Status of the High Level Waste (HLW) Calcine Disposition Project
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Status of the High Level Waste (HLW) Calcine Disposition Project at the Idaho National Laboratory (INL) Site Description, Challenges, Technology, Issues, and Needs. April 14, 2009. 1. Calcine Specifics. Calcine is high level waste (HLW) by definition

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Status of the High Level Waste (HLW) Calcine Disposition Project

at the

Idaho National Laboratory (INL) Site

Description, Challenges, Technology, Issues, and Needs

April 14, 2009


Calcine specifics
Calcine Specifics Project

Calcine is high level waste (HLW) by definition

First cycle raffinate from reprocessing of spent nuclear fuel

8-9M gallons liquid HLW converted to 4400 cubic meters of granular solid

7 to 1 volume reduction achieved

Average particle size is 0.4 cm

Contains roughly 44 metric tons heavy metal

Acidic, abrasive, and hydroscopic

Currently stored in 43 bins in 6 bin-sets

Designed for safe storage for several hundred years

Stored under 10-year RCRA Part B Permit issued 11/06

Calcine is also classified as hazardous waste as it:

Exhibits hazardous waste characteristics for toxicity for metals

Waste numbers D004 through D011

Contains listed wastes

Spent solvents (hazardous waste numbers F001, F002, and F005)

Discarded hydrogen fluoride (hazardous waste number U134)

Chemical analysis has been performed on samples from:

New Waste Calcining Facility (NWCF) Campaign H-4 (1998)

NWCF Campaign H-3 (1993)

Alumina and zirconia calcine from CSSF 2 (1978)


Regulatory challenges calcine disposition project drivers
Regulatory Challenges: ProjectCalcine Disposition Project Drivers

Meet Idaho Settlement Agreement (SA) milestones

Issue a NEPA Record of Decision (ROD)by December 31,2009 to identify method to treat calcine (if necessary)

Dual path ROD may carry forward both a treatment and the direct disposal option

Submit a RCRA Part B Permit applicationby December 1, 2012 to the state of Idaho for retrieval and treatment (includes packaging)

Have all calcine ready for transport out of the state of Idahoby a target date of December 31, 2035

Meet Idaho Site Treatment Plan (STP) milestones

Approval of CD-0 by June 30, 2007

Approved June 29, 2007 by Deputy Secretary Clay Sell

Approval of CD-1 by September 30, 2009

Was March 31, 2008 prior to receiving 18 month extension

Submit an enforceable schedulefor disposition of calcine (including design, construction, and start of operations) by June 30, 2010

Fulfill calcine commitments in 2005 ROD from the Idaho HLW and Facilities Disposition EIS - DOE/EIS-0287

Develop calcine retrieval processes and conduct risk-based analysis necessary to issue ROD on calcine treatment (with input by State) by December 31, 2009 in accordance with the Settlement Agreement


Calcine disposition alternative evaluations
Calcine Disposition Alternative Evaluations Project

Alternatives analyzed in the 9/2002 HLW and Facilities Disposition FEIS

No action

Continued current operations


Full or transuranic separations

Planning basis option (disposal of high activity fraction is in the YMP LA)


Early vitrification

Hot isostatic pressing

Direct cement

Steam reforming

Minimum INEEL [sic] Processing Option

Direct vitrification

With separations

Without separations

DOE-ID conducted a value engineering (VE) session on March 21/22, 2006

Screened EIS alternatives through go/no-go and ranking criteria

Resulted in further downselection to three alternative treatment technologies

Direct vitrification (without separations)

Steam Reforming

Hot Isostatic Pressing

VE session planned for 12/08 delayed pending clarification of issues


Retrieve, package and Projectdispose of as is (direct disposal option)

Idaho baseline approach – highest regulatory risk, lowest cost

Requires conditional exemption from RCRA

Granular waste form

Treatment by hot isostatic pressing

Volume reduction – being evaluated

by BEA and ANSTO, Inc.

Monolithic waste form – requires delisting

Could compact (~50% volume reduction) steam

reformed or untreated calcine

Treatment by steam reforming

Maximizes re-use of IWTU

Requires re-dissolution of calcine in nitric acid

Granular waste form – requires delisting

Treatment by direct vitrification (State EIS PA)

Lowest regulatory risk – highest cost and volume

Monolythic waste form – requires delisting

Vitrified high-activity fraction (post separations) in YMP LA

Results in ~1200 canisters of glass

Additional Disposal Options for Calcine Remain as Follows:

30% Volume Reduction

50% Volume reduction of granular form

50-100% Volume Expansion

100% Volume Expansion


Technical challenge layering of calcine bin set 3 shown
Technical ProjectChallenge:Layering of Calcine (Bin Set #3 shown)









Further Evaluation of HIP Option Appears Warranted Project

Consolidation:HIPVitrification (JHM)

Matrix: glass-ceramic borosilicate glass

Waste loading: 60-90% 20-35%

Durability (PCT-B): 10-100 x EA glass 10 x EA glass

Final volume: 15-45%reduction ~100% increase

(relative to untreated calcine)

Temp: 2200oF 2100oF

Pressure: 4500 psi atmospheric

Off-gas: minimal medium-high


Future Mission Flexibility: diverse/flexible extremely limited/inflexible

Cold calcine in glass-ceramic matrix

Direct SBW compaction (no additives)

Metal encapsulation of uneconomic feeds (Swedish SNF in copper shown)



Technology initiative hip evaluation funded by em 20
Technology Initiative: Project HIP Evaluation Funded by EM-20

Contract between Battelle Energy Alliance and the Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organization, Inc. was signed 2/28/2008

Currently funded at $2.85M

Will provide data necessary to proper downselection of treatment alternatives

Calcine surrogate produced at STAR Center

and shipped to ANSTO for HIPing and testing of

resultant waste form against repository criteria

Three distinct alumina-calcine simulants containing

low, medium, and high mercury concentrations

Three distinct zirconia-calcine simulants containing

low, medium, and high cadmium concentrations

All other RCRA constituents at maximum

HIP unit is installed in the HFEF hot-cell at the INL

Using to evaluate conduct of necessary remote operations

(filling/crimping/welding) and potential HIPing of actual calcine

Planning to evaluate treatment of a wide range of challenging

EM materials difficult to incorporate into glass such as:

Cesium/Strontium, technicium, radioactive sludges (e.g. Hanford

K-basin), alpha ashes, impure actinides, corroded spent fuel pins,

iodine, etc.


Technology initiative hip evaluation funded by em 20 cont
Technology Initiative: Project HIP Evaluation Funded by EM-20 (cont)

Results to date indicate viability of HIP treatment of calcine

Direct HIPing (no treatment additives) generates > than 50% volume reduction

Aluminum calcine actually exceeds the regulatory universal treatment standard (UTS) without treatment additives (direct HIPing)

Resultant monolythic waste form facilitates transport to a repository

HIPing of treated calcine (80% loading) results in a glass-ceramic waste form

Chemical durability of treated zirconium calcine handily exceeds UTS and environmental assessment (EA) requirements while achieving a 39%+ volume reduction

Evaluation of aluminum calcine is currently underway

Preparations are being made for HIPing actual calcine at the INL (HFEF hot cell) and HIPing a large (70 pound) can in Sydney, Australia

All work is being performed under the NRC-approved QA program

Direct HIPed alumina calcine showing a 69%+ volume reduction

HIPed treated zirconia calcine inside the INL’s MFC hot cell

Evolution of HIP can design will further enhance volume reduction


Technology initiative hip evaluation funded by em 20 cont1
Technology Initiative: Project HIP Evaluation Funded by EM-20 (cont)

BEA/ANSTO have reviewed performance/safety record of US HIP industry

HIPs of up to 64-inch diameter operate above calcine

pressure and temperature requirements

Operated in 24/7production environment over 30 years

Work pieces up to 10,000 pounds are routinely HIPed

Main safety issue raised was asphyxiation (argon gas)

Not a significant concern in a restricted hot-cell environment


Iwtu calcine retrieval and delivery to iwtu direct disposal case
IWTU Calcine Retrieval and Delivery to IWTU (Direct Disposal Case)

Prototype retrieval arm

Bin sets (typical)


IWTU packaging annex

Project issues
Project Issues Calcine

Inability to determine regulatory viability of direct disposal option/baseline

Petition for conditional exemption from RCRA definition of hazardous waste for calcine requires update, finalization, and submittal to EPA (on hold) would require > 3 years for EPA decision

DOE priority to defend the YMP LA as submitted may preclude any decision-making regarding calcine path forward for several years.

Concern over decision on waste forms that differs from vitrification of the calcine high activity fraction into a single phase borosilicate glass

Such as a NEPA Record of Decision and/or formal discussions with EPA

Preparation of a RCRA Part B Permit requires significant (~30%) process and facility design

Insufficient time and funding to produce a competent application for any option other than ICP baseline (direct disposal option) at present

Recent announcement by Secretary Chu that the YMP repository will not be built adds project uncertainty

NRC review of license application still supported at present

Blue Ribbon panel will recommend alternatives


Example conceptual hip schedule working forward from 2035
Example: Conceptual HIP Schedule Working Forward from 2035 Calcine

Four year RCRA Part B Permit slip is conservatively available