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Tank Waste Retrieval, Processing, and On-Site Disposal at Three Department of Energy Sites: Final Report Appendix K Glossary ACTINIDE REMOVAL PROCESS (ARP). A chemical process for treating tank wastes in which monosodium titanate will be added to the waste tanks to sorb strontium and the actinides. To be used at the Savannah River Site to remove strontium, neptunium, uranium, and plutonium from salt solution. ANNULUS. Annular space between underground tanks and the concrete vaults in which they sit. AS LOW AS REASONABLY ACHIEVABLE (ALARA). Reduction of radiation doses or environmental releases as far below applicable limits as technical, social, economic, practical, and public policy considerations allow (NCRP, 2002). ATOMIC ENERGY ACT (AEA). The purpose of the Atomic Energy Act (42 U.S.C. 2011 - 2259), passed in 1946 and revised in 1954, is to ensure the proper production and use of source, special nuclear, and byproduct material for defense and peaceful purposes and for their regulation to protect public health and safety. The AEA and the statutes that amended it delegate the regulation of atomic energy defense, research, and development activities to the U.S. Department of Energy and the authority for licensing commercial nuclear activities to the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission. BINS. Vertical stainless steel tanks inside concrete vaults partially or wholly above ground, storing high-level waste in a granular form (calcine) at the Idaho site. BISMUTH PHOSPHATE PROCESS. The bismuth phosphate (BiPO4) process separated plutonium from uranium and other radionuclides in irradiated fuel. This process operated on an industrial scale at the Hanford Site from 1944 through 1956. The high-level from this process contained uranium and was very acidic. It was neutralized and alkalinized to minimize corrosion before being sent to the tank farms BULK. Majority of the volume of waste in a tank or a bin. CESIUM AND STRONTIUM CAPSULES. Metal cylinders containing intensely radioactive halide salts (cesium chloride and strontium fluoride) stored at the Hanford Site. In the late 1960s, strontium and cesium were separated from the waste in tanks filled by the PUREX Plant and later directly from the PUREX Plant waste stream. At the Hanford Site there are 2,217 cesium and strontium capsules. CLASS C LIMIT. The concentration limits under U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission regulations for disposal of low-level radioactive waste in a near-surface facility. CLASTIC DIKE. An intrusion of sediment into an overlying sedimentary rock. CODE OF FEDERAL REGULATIONS (CFR). The codification of rules published in the Federal Register by the executive departments and agencies of the Federal Government. COMPLIANCE AGREEMENT. An agreement reached to comply with decisions regarding a Federal Facility Agreement. COMPLIANT TANK. Term used at the Savannah River Site to indicate tanks that have a full secondary containment system (i.e., a tank inside a tank). Most of the tanks at this site have a carbon steel inner wall and an outer vault wall constructed of concrete. Tanks that have a metal liner on the outer wall are said to have a
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Tank Waste Retrieval, Processing, and On-Site Disposal at Three Department of Energy Sites: Final Report secondary containment. If the outer liner rises only partway up the outer wall, it provides only partial secondary containment. COMPREHENSIVE ENVIRONMENTAL RESPONSE,COMPENSATION, AND LIABILITY ACT (CERCLA). Law, also known as “Superfund,” passed in 1980 and amended by the Superfund Amendments and Reauthorization Act of 1986, that established prohibitions and requirements concerning closed and abandoned hazardous waste sites; provided for liability of persons responsible for releases of hazardous waste at these sites; and established a trust fund to provide for cleanup when no responsible party could be identified. CRIBS. Shallow, subsurface drainage structures for filtering liquid waste into soil. CURIE. A unit of radioactivity equal to 37 billion decays per second. DECAY PRODUCT. An atom resulting from the decay of a radioactive isotope. DEFENSE NUCLEAR FACILITIES SAFETY BOARD(DNFSB). An independent federal agency established by Congress in 1988 under the Atomic Energy Act to provide safety oversight of the nuclear weapons complex. DEFENSE WASTE PROCESSING FACILITY (DWPF). A facility that immobilized high-level radioactive waste in glass. Located at the Savannah River Site. DELIQUIFICATION, DISSOLUTION, AND ADJUSTMENT (DDA). A process for removing salt waste from tanks at the Savannah River Site. The DDA process involves: (1) removing the supernate from above the saltcake; (2) extracting interstitial liquid within the saltcake matrix; (3) dissolving the saltcake and transferring the resulting salt solution to a settling tank; and (4) transferring the salt solution to the Saltstone Facility feed tank where, if required, the solution is aggregated with other tank farm waste to adjust batch chemistry. Chemical adjustment may be required to ensure that the salt solution feed stream meets processing parameters (e.g., sodium concentration, organic content, facility shielding limitations) for processing at SPF (DOE-SRS, 2005b, p. 12). DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY (DOE). A federal agency established in 1977 as one of the successor agencies (see U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission) of the Atomic Energy Commission to advance the national, economic, and energy security of the United States; to promote scientific and technological innovation in support of that mission; and to ensure the environmental cleanup of the nation’s nuclear weapons complex. DIATOMACEOUS EARTH. A naturally occurring, soft, chalk-like, sedimentary rock mineral that is easily crumbled into a fine powder. Diatomaceous earth was used as waste sorbent material to immobilize residual supernatant liquid in leaking tanks when the liquid removal by pumping was not feasible. It was used in the following Hanford waste storage tanks: BX-102 (1971), SX-113 (1972), TX-116 (1970), TX-117 (1970), TY-106 (1972), and U-104 (1972) (Wagoner, 1995). DOE ORDER 435.1: RADIOACTIVE WASTE MANAGEMENT. A self-imposed regulation intended to ensure that DOE radioactive waste is managed in a way that is protective of worker and public health and safety and of the environment. ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY (EPA). A federal agency established in 1970 to protect human health and the environment. FEDERAL FACILITY AGREEMENT (FFA). An agreement among the U.S. Department of Energy, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, and the relevant state regulator for a DOE site that lays out how the site will comply with environmental laws and regulations. The agreement may contain the milestones for waste retrieval and tank closure. FISSION PRODUCT. An atom resulting from the splitting or fission of a heavier atom. GERMAN LOGS. An agreement between an agency of the Federal Republic of Germany and DOE resulted in the production of 34 isotopic heat sources (“German logs”) in the mid-1980s. Stainless steel canisters were filled with radioactive borosilicate glass. The logs contain a total of approximately 8.3 Mci consisting mainly of cesium-137 and strontium-90, but also containing transuranic contamination. Originally the logs were intended to be transported to Germany for use in experimental programs associated with the development of underground storage facilities. Currently, the logs are managed as remote-handled transuranic waste (approximately 6 m3) and are slated for disposal at the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP) sometime after 2012. GROUNDWATER TRAVEL TIME. The time for a contaminant to travel a given distance through groundwater.
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Tank Waste Retrieval, Processing, and On-Site Disposal at Three Department of Energy Sites: Final Report GROUT. Term used in this report to mean a cementitious material used for waste immobilization or tank fill. HALF-LIFE. The time required for half of the atoms of a radioactive isotope to undergo decay. HANFORD. The Hanford Site along the Columbia River in south central Washington State was claimed and developed by the federal government to produce plutonium for nuclear weapons as part of the Manhattan Project. After 50 years of operation, the site is now primarily a cleanup site. Hanford has 149 single-shell and 28 double-shell tanks for storage of liquid wastes from reprocessing spent nuclear fuel. HEEL. The waste remaining in the bottom of a tank after removal of the bulk and residual waste to the maximum extent practical. The heel may be liquid, loose or encrusted solids, or all of these. HIGH-ACTIVITY WASTE. The fraction of tank waste that will be disposed in a deep-geologic repository for spent fuel and high-level waste. HIGH-LEVEL RADIOACTIVE WASTE (HLW). High-level waste is defined in terms of its source as the primary waste product resulting from the reprocessing of spent nuclear fuel. This waste is (1) highly radioactive liquid, containing mainly fission products as well as some actinides, which is separated during chemical reprocessing of irradiated fuel (aqueous) waste from the first solvent extraction cycle and those waste streams combined with it; (2) spent reactor fuel, if it is declared a waste (NRC, 1996b). IDAHO NATIONAL LABORATORY (INL). A large reservation near Idaho Falls, Idaho, that has been used for research and test reactors, operations to support the Naval Nuclear Propulsion Program, and other research. The site has 11 underground storage tanks for storage of liquid wastes from reprocessing spent nuclear fuel and seven bin sets of calcined wastes from reprocessing spent nuclear fuel, which are located below, or partially below the land surface in concrete vaults. IDAHO NUCLEAR TECHNOLOGY AND ENGINEERING CENTER (INTEC). Facility that houses the reprocessing operation at Idaho National Laboratory, including chemical processing facilities, waste calciners, tank farms, and bin sets. IMMOBILIZED. Bound up in a solid to isolate from environmental release or transport. INTEGRATED DISPOSAL FACILITY (IDF). A single disposal facility for immobilized low-activity waste from tank cleanup and other waste, located at the Savannah River Site, Aiken, South Carolina. ION EXCHANGE. a usually reversible exchange of one ion with another, either in a liquid, on a solid surface, or within a crystalline lattice. This mechanism is sometimes used to separate specific constituents, such as cesium, from waste. IONIZING RADIATION. Any radiation capable of displacing electrons from atoms or molecules, thereby producing ions. Examples include alpha radiation, beta radiation, gamma radiation or X-rays, and cosmic rays. The minimum energy of ionizing radiation is a few electron-volts. LONG-LIVED. In the context of waste disposal, having a half-life that is comparable to or longer than human history. For example, technetium-99 with its 212,000-year radioactive half-life is long-lived. LOW-ACTIVITY waste (LAW). Radioactive waste that contains concentrations of radionuclides low enough that managing these wastes may not require all of the radiation protection measures necessary to manage higher-activity radioactive material to be fully protective of public health and the environment. Several classes of radioactive waste, including some low-level wastes contain low enough concentrations of radionuclides to be considered low-activity waste (EPA, available at http://www.epa.gov/radiation/ larw/larw.htm). LOW-LEVEL RADIOACTIVE WASTE (LLW). “Radioactive waste that (A) is not high-level radioactive waste, spent nuclear fuel, transuranic waste, or byproduct material as defined in Section 11(e)(2) of the Atomic Energy Act, and (B) the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, consistent with existing law, classifies as low-level radioactive waste. The byproduct material referred to in Clause (A) essentially is uranium or thorium mill tailings” (NCRP, 2002). MODULAR CAUSTIC-SIDE SOLVENT EXTRACTIONUNIT (MCU). A chemical separation facility for waste treatment, located at the Savannah River Site. The MCU will use a solvent extraction process to recover cesium from the salt waste. It will be operated downstream of the actinide removal process (ARP) before the Salt Waste Processing Facility (SWPF) becomes operational (DOE-SRS, 2005b). NATIONAL RESEARCH COUNCIL (NRC). Part of the National Academies which also comprise the National
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Tank Waste Retrieval, Processing, and On-Site Disposal at Three Department of Energy Sites: Final Report Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering, and the Institute of Medicine. NONCOMPLIANT TANK. See compliant tank. NUCLEAR WASTE POLICY ACT OF 1982 AND ITSAMENDMENTS (NWPA). U.S. Code, Title 42, Chapter 108, Nuclear Waste Policy, Section 10101 establishes the federal government’s responsibility to provide a place for the permanent disposal of high-level radioactive waste and spent nuclear fuel. PERFORMANCE ASSESSMENT. An iterative process to support decisions about disposal facilities (i.e., regulatory compliance and design of the monitoring plan, the facility, and other controls) by evaluating risks based on modeling on interactions between the disposal facility, people, and the environment; contaminant release and transport; and exposures. POINT OF COMPLIANCE. A location some distance away from the disposal facility boundary. Inside the point of compliance is the facility operations area, which is subject to institutional controls for at least 100 years after closure. DOE Order 435.1 and Nuclear Regulatory Commission Guidance set the point of compliance most commonly used at 100 m from the disposal facility boundary. Beyond the point of compliance, DOE must ensure that members of the public would not receive environmental exposures that exceed the dose limits in DOE Order 435.1 and 10 CFR 61. PROGRAMMATIC RISK. The risk to cost, schedule, and technical performance of a program. It is associated with all uncertainties, including legal uncertainties that can result in delays, growth cost, and failure to reach the established goals. PUREX PROCESS. A chemical process for separating plutonium and uranium from dissolved spent nuclear fuel. RADIOACTIVITY. The property of an unstable atomic nucleus to spontaneously transform with the emission of energy in the form of radiation. RADIONCULIDE. A naturally occurring or artificially produced radioactive element or isotope. REDOX PROCESS. Process to separate both uranium and plutonium from other radionuclides in spent nuclear fuel. This process was developed after the bismuth phosphate process and before the PUREX process. RESIDUAL. Waste remaining in a tank after bulk waste retrieval has been completed. Residual waste can be retrieved from the tanks. The material remaining is called the “heel.” RESOURCE CONSERVATION AND RECOVERY ACT(RCRA). Law enacted by Congress in 1976 as an amendment to the 1965 Solid Waste Disposal Act to regulate the handling, storage, treatment, transportation, and disposal of solid waste, particularly hazardous chemicals, to protect the public from harm. The goals of RCRA are to protect human health and the environment from the hazards posed by waste disposal, by encouraging the conservation of energy and natural resources through reuse and recycling, and the reduction or elimination of the amount of waste generated. RISK ANALYSIS. A detailed examination, including risk assessment, risk characterization, risk communication, and risk management, performed to understand the nature of unwanted, negative consequences to human life, health, property, or the environment (Society for Risk Analysis, available at http://www.sra.org/). RISK ASSESSMENT. Scientific evaluation of known or potential adverse health effects resulting from exposure to hazards. It is a process of establishing information regarding the acceptable levels of risk for an individual, group, society, or the environment. The process consists of the following steps: (1) hazard identification, (2) hazard characterization, (3) exposure assessment, and (4) risk characterization. The definition includes quantitative risk assessment and also qualitative expressions of risk, as well as an indication of the attendant uncertainties (NRC, 1983, 1986). RISK-INFORMED APPROACH. An approach in which risk is the starting point but still only one among several factors in a decision process. RONALD W. REAGAN NATIONAL DEFENSE AUTHORIZATION ACT OF FISCAL YEAR 2005 (NDAA). Public Law 108-375 authorizing funding for defense activities, military construction, and national security-related energy programs. SALTCAKE. The crystalline salt that forms in high-level radioactive waste tanks and contains much of the cesium and some of the actinides in the waste. SALTSTONE. The cementitious waste form used at the Savannah River Site to immobilize low-activity waste from the tank farms. SALTSTONE DISPOSAL FACILITY (SDF). Located at that Savannah River Site.
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Tank Waste Retrieval, Processing, and On-Site Disposal at Three Department of Energy Sites: Final Report SALTSTONE PROCESSING FACILITY (SPF). Located at the Savannah River Site, Aiken, South Carolina. SALT WASTE PROCESSING FACILITY (SWPF). A facility for separating key radionuclides from retrieved tank waste under development at the Savannah River Site. The facility will use the chemical process of ARP/ MCU (see ARP and MCU) but should have higher decontamination fractions and greater throughput. SAVANNAH RIVER SITE (SRS). The nation’s second site developed for the production of plutonium, SRS still carries out missions for the nuclear weapons program. Located in southern South Carolina, the site has 51 underground tanks for storage of liquid wastes from reprocessing spent nuclear fuel. SCARIFIER. A device that uses rotating water jets for the purpose of breaking up agglomerated solids or for polishing or cleaning metal or concrete surfaces. SHORT-LIVED. In the context of waste disposal, this means having half-life that is short compared to human history. For example, cesium-137 with its 30.2-year half-life is short-lived. SLUDGE. Insoluble wetted particles. “SMART” GROUT. Grout engineered to be pumped into a tank, flow to the tank walls, not segregate, self-consolidate, generate minimal heat of hydration, and provides the requisite high pH and low Eh to stabilize the radionuclides and toxic heavy metals in the waste. SUPERNATE. The fluid above a sediment or precipitate. TANK WASTE. Waste from reprocessing spent nuclear fuel stored in underground tanks. TITLE 10 CODE OF FEDERAL REGULATIONS PART61 (10 CFR 61). Through this regulation, entitled, “Licensing Requirements for Land Disposal of Radioactive Waste,” the United States Regulatory Commission regulates near-surface disposal of commercial low-level waste. TRANSURANIC ISOTOPE. Isotope of an element with more protons than uranium (i.e., atomic number greater than 92). TRANSURANIC (TRU) waste. Waste containing more than 100 nCi of alpha-emitting TRU isotopes (atomic number greater than 92) per gram of waste, with half-lives greater than 20 years, except for • High-level radioactive waste; • Waste that the Secretary of Energy has determined, with the concurrence of the Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, does not need the degree of isolation required by the disposal regulations; and • Waste that the USNRC has approved for disposal on a case-by-case basis in accordance with 10 CFR 61 (Public Law 102-579). TRI-PARTY AGREEMENT. Alternative name for the Hanford Federal Facility Agreement and Consent order. U.S. NUCLEAR REGULATORY COMMISSION (USNRC). An independent federal agency established in 1974 by the Energy Reorganization Act, as one of the successor agencies (see Department of Energy) of the Atomic Energy Commission. The USNRC’s regulatory activities are focused on the oversight and licensing of reactors at commercial power plants, materials safety oversight and licensing for a variety of other activities, and waste management of both high-level waste and low-level waste. VADOSE ZONE. The zone between the earth’s surface and the top of the water table, also called the unsaturated zone. VITRIFIED. Immobilized in glass. WASTE INCIDENTAL TO REPROCESSING (WIR). Waste that is a by-product of reprocessing operations but not high-level waste. WESTINGHOUSE SAVANNAH RIVER COMPANY(WSRC). The current contractor for the Department of Energy at the Savannah River Site. ZEOLITES. A class of hydrated aluminosilicate minerals with an ability to “trap” cesium (and other cations) that was used at the Savannah River Site to remove cesium from the tank system. Zeolite particles in tanks are difficult to retrieve because they can agglomerate into chunks that are difficult to maintain suspended in a slurry.
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